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The art of trading your vehicle can be a hard one to master. From figuring out the value of your trade, to knowing when the best time to trade your vehicle is, we’re here to explain each critical step so you can trade your vehicle with confidence.


A good starting place is a trade appraisal tool. With your vehicle’s make, model, year, and kilometres you find out its estimated market value. This is a good baseline, but it’s not a perfect indication of what you’ll actually get for it when you trade it in. Was your vehicle in an accident? Does it have additional features? Has it received regular preventative maintenance? Don’t let sentimentality cloud your judgment. Just because you love your car, doesn’t mean it’s worth as much as the highest appraisal you can find.

Get Started with a free, online trade appraisal.

Trade Value

Bide your time


Market demand fluctuates. When gas prices are high, no one wants to buy your Humvee. In winter, no one wants a convertible, but they’ll pay more for all-wheel drive. Dealerships don’t want inventory sitting on their lot. If they know they can sell your trade-in easily, they’ll pay a little more for it. Check local listings for vehicles similar to your own. When advertised prices are fair in comparison to the appraisal price, it’s probably a good time to sell.


Experts are a split on this tip. On the one hand, you want the used car sales manager to be able to picture your trade in on her lot. So, removing all personal items from your vehicle and cleaning the exterior and interior can help it look like the rest of the used cars at the dealership. If you take your car to Universal Auto Spa, you can get a professional hand wash (uses up to four times less water than a home wash!) and detailing. It’s a surefire way to make your vehicle look its best. On the other hand, some experts warn that a clean vehicle suggests you will be trading in that day, which can tip your hand in negotiations. But, as long as you’re aware of this, the benefits of making a good impression with your vehicle probably outweighs the risk.

Clean it up



When selling your vehicle privately, repairing mechanical problems can be an asset in negotiations. But the same cannot be said for a trade-in. It will cost you substantially more to repair your vehicle than it will cost the dealership. So don’t perform any costly repairs and expect them to increase the value of your trade-in.


A vehicle that regularly receives oil changes, fluid top-ups, brake maintenance, and more will have a much longer life than one that does not. If you bring records of routine maintenance, or any other services performed on your vehicle, the dealer will have a better sense of your vehicle’s value. Never give the salesperson a reason to doubt the value of your vehicle.




Negotiate the price of your trade-in and the car you intend to purchase separately. Why? Otherwise, it’s easy for the salesman with whom you’re dealing to let you win on the trade-in price, while just adding the difference to the price of the car you’re buying. Experts say you should start with the trade-in negotiation. Get a firm offer for your vehicle, then start looking to buy. This strategy makes it much easier for you to keep track of the amount of money you’re spending and saving!


Don’t ruin the exhilaration of driving a new vehicle with the feeling that you’ve parted with more money than you’d hoped. If the dealership won’t offer a fair price for your trade-in, wait it out or look elsewhere. When you do upgrade your ride, don’t let anything stand in the way of enjoying it.

be firm

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