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Those who are new to the car market may have heard references to the "used car blue book" or the "blue book value." The "blue book," or Kelley Blue Book as it is formally known, is available in paperback and online. It is a resource for pricing used cars based on a variety of factors and is considered the Bible of the used car industry.
In addition to used car prices, the online version also provides new car pricing information as well as a countless resources and calculators to aid you in your car shopping experience.
Even though car dealers prefer to wrap the new car price negotiation and trade-in allowance negotiation into one big discussion, you're better off separating the two.
Your salesperson looks at your transaction on a global basis. The more you get for your trade in, the less give there will be in the new car price. Experts agree that you should complete the new car price negotiation first, and then discuss trade in value. And, of course, before having either of these talks with your dealer, arm yourself with as much information as you can.
Used car values differ considerably depending on your location, the cars condition, and whether you plan to sell the car privately or trade it in. Regardless of the cars condition, trade-in values are always significantly lower than what you will get if you sell your car privately (that is because the dealer has to recondition the car for resale and wants to pull in a tidy profit).
If you have the time and wherewithal to sell your car yourself, you're better off doing that than trading it in. However, trading your car in does have its advantages. Chief among them is that you can handle all your car deal transactions in one fell swoop and be done with it.
*With today's busy lifestyles, the inherent loss in value with trade-ins may actually prove a valuable trade-off!
It may seem like a paradox to consider used car values when you are shopping for a new car, but it really is something you need to consider. Whether you are buying or leasing, you will ultimately have to dispose of the car. If you buy or lease a car that has a demonstrated record of holding its value—that is, not depreciating radically in relation to other cars in the market—you will be better off financially in the long run.
There is generally high demand for cars that hold their value, which means you'll get a better trade-in allowance or private sales price when you do decide to upgrade.
You may know every quirk, creak, and upholstery crack in your existing car, but that doesn't mean you need to advertise them to the dealer when you're negotiating vehicle trade in value. Before you take your car to the dealer to talk turkey, take some time to spruce up your car:
• Clean the interior of your car of all garbage and dirt
• Wash down all vinyl or leather and wood surfaces.
• Vacuum the floors and seats
• Organize your glove box
• Wash and wax the car's exterior well
• Make sure the tires are properly inflated
• Make sure that all lamps are fully functioning