Factors that Impact Your Car’s Trade-in Value

Do you have an old car that you are planning to sell for quick cash? Are you planning to trade it in for a new one with a better engine or more advanced features? Cars depreciate over time. Depending on the brand, a majority lose close to half thieve value in less than five years depending on how well you care for one. These factors can affect your car’s trade-in value.


Car trading has attracted a lot of criticism of late as most car sales tend to undervalue trade-in cars. To avoid such scams, you should have a rough estimate of your car’s trade-in value by checking the age. The age of a car can be a double-edged sword whenever you are trading in a car. Most new-generation models, for instance, lose a lot of value with age for two reasons. First, the quality of the materials used to make key parts such as the body and chassis have dropped significantly. Also, because manufacturers produce most models en mass, they fail to hold their sentimental value over time, and can therefore hurt the pocket while trading in. Old classic cars, on the other hand, increase in value as they age. A majority have sold for thousands of dollars (even millions) in auctions, so keep this in mind while planning to trade yours in. Use the best transmission jack and jack stands to hoist your car up and check for damage before you approach a dealer.


By nature, high mileage cars are more likely to fetch a lower price than low mileage cars for one key reason. Most people associate mileage with age. High mileage cars are more likely to develop engine or transmission problems as spinning parts lose traction and mechanical systems lose their umph on the road. But, if you have a clear maintenance history and use quality car jumpers during a breakdown, you can negotiate for more.


Cars have different specifications which can have a bearing on their resale and trade-in value. What is its body type? Sports utility vehicles are popular off-roaders and therefore are likely to sell for more if you have many off-roaders in your locality. What is its engine type? Some models have a reputation for breaking down and therefore are less prone to sell or trade-in for a substantial among. Engines with no recalls that come from reputable brands such as Toyota or Honda do well. Finally, check the add-ons in the car. Does it have a transmission jack, car battery jump starter, or a waterproof cargo bag? Such items can add tons of value to cars if they are in good shape.

Fuel Type

Did you know that the type of fuel your vehicle uses can have a bearing on its resale value while doing a trade-in? Diesel engines, for instance, have attracted a lot of backlashes from both environmentalists and consumers due to their pollutant nature. This has seen a sharp decline in their demand, which in turn has dented their resale value in many countries globally. Because the dealer might stay for long with your car before selling or fail to sell, he or she will offer you a lower deal to cover such risks. Gas engines have issues but to a less degree.

Cosmetic Value

They say that humans are visual beings who often shop with their eyes and not their hearts. As such, and unkempt care with faded paint and a cracked dashboard will fetch a lower price than one that you have maintained well even if they are the same make and model. As such, cosmetic procedures such as buffing paint and cleaning the interior can add sentimental value and fetch a higher price. Use a grease gun to lubricate bearings and buy a new spare wheel tire cover for the car too. These cost peanuts but give you an edge while negotiating.

Here is a video on how a dealer decides a trade-in value:


Did know that documents such as a car owner’s guide can increase the value of a car while trading it in? These are indicative of good care and car maintenance, which buying buyers reward by offering a bit more cash. A car maintenance log and ownership history can also boost the reputation of a car.

Do not settle for less whenever you are trading in your car for a new one. By evaluating these attributes, you can make a good judgment of your car’s worth and have higher bargaining power. You can also hire a valuer to get an accurate estimate.