Trade-In Advice from Former Customers and Dealership Employees

Are you looking to trade in your vehicle? Well, we’re sure you’ve read article upon article about how you can maximize the price of your current car. Well, we’re not looking to bore you once again. Rather, we figured that insight from legitimate customers and dealership employees could actually provide you with the most clarity during your ordeal. You can learn from their mistakes as you look for the easiest and most lucrative car-buying process.

For instance, you’ll learn why it’s always important to clean your vehicle before you head into a dealership, and you’ll also learn why it’s essential to accompany an employee on a test drive. Furthermore, you’ll find out about some tactics salespeople will do to reduce the value (or even steal) your current ride. 

Continue reading below, as we’ve provided several advantages of things that customers should be keeping in mind as they’re looking to secure the best possible trade-in value

There are a variety of reasons why it’s important for a customer to complete both their trade-in transaction and new-car transaction in the same day. You’ll hopefully be dealing with a reputable dealership, but there may be an instance where salesmen are using extra time to pull a fast one on an unassuming customer. Unfortunately, that’s what happened to Reddit user u/Chaserjim:

“Traded in my 04 Monte Carlo for an ’06 Dodge Ram 1500 slt. Didnt realize I wasnt actually approved for financing (even after them telling me I had been approved but they were just waiting on bank). 15 days go by, they tell me congrats Im approved at 18% … from the 10% I was told when I was last at the dealership. I went in to sign the paperwork with the stupidly high interest rate ..when they tell me that deal fell through and they are working religiously to get me approved. They also informed me that they would be charging me 65$ a day for vehicle rental if I wasnt approved. Then they drop the bomb * they sold my Monte Carlo * .. so .. I was basically at the mercy of the banks and dealership. They hit me with 800 bucks in rental fee’s until I was finally approved at 20%. I filed a law suit against this dealership and they waved the rental fee’s shortly after.”

When you’re trading in your vehicle, there’s a good chance that the dealership is going to want to take the vehicle for a brief test drive. While it might not be obvious, it’s practically essential that you accompany this employee on any brief journey. After all, you’re looking to get money for the vehicle, and even the smallest trip could ultimately reduce the car’s value. Reddit user u/i_think_therefore_i_ learned this lesson the hard way:

“What about vice versa? Years ago I had an old truck that I wanted to trade in on a new vehicle, and the salesman took it for a test drive. When he came back, he said “What’s that noise?” I said, “What noise?” He mumbled something vague, gave me a ridiculous offer for my truck, then promptly disappeared for a long lunch. When I tried to drive my truck off the lot I realized what the noise was. The car salesman had put my vehicle up against a curb, revved the engine, and dropped the clutch to test it. He sheared three of the four bolts off the drive shaft. Clutch was good. Needless to say, I bought my new car from another dealer.”

The next tidbit comes from Reddit user u/TuffAdams, a dealership owner. The individual explained a strategy that salesmen will use in an attempt to drive down the price of your potential trade in. By understanding this game plan, you can anticipate a salesman’s negotiation tactics:

“Also, the trade in is where I usually train my guys to take control over the sale. Most people think their car is worth way more than it really is. In order to devalue your trade, we do what is known as a trade walk. This is where we walk around your car with you and point at all the stuff that is wrong. We don’t say anything, we let you do the talking. Works every time.”

Our final example, posted by Reddit user (and apparent dealership employee) u/elDongler, emphasizes why it’s essential that a customer cleans their interior before they bring it to a dealership:

“Me Driving a customers trade in… he had an old Subaru Forester, 2002 or something, it was pretty banged up. Test driving it to make sure it rolls and see if there are any noises. Open the driver door to a seriously foul stench, I mean it was like a blast of concentrated landfill juice collected on a hot summer day. This actually isn’t uncommon, lots of people are dirty as hell and your cars show it. So I do the drive, get back to the dealership and start checking the inside. Rummaging through what looks like 10 year old newspapers in the floorboard, covered in what looks like coffee stains. Start looking around and there’s quite a few coffee spills… oh well shit happens. I go to move the newspapers back to the floorboard and all I see is a ton of maggots squirming around. Once I noticed the moving ones I realized that what I thought were coffee grounds were dead ones. Layers, and layers of dead maggots.

Best part about it… the guy was (forgive me for not knowing exact title) the director of the medical hospital at Fort hood. (Huge army base in texas) not to mention when he put down his monthly salary on his credit app I jokingly said, oops you must of added an extra zero. He looks at me with a smile smile and says no, that’s no mistake. He could have paid cash for a 35k car with a months salary and still be able to get his morning coffee.”