There are typically two types of trade-ins for used cars or SUVs:
Semi-new trade-insmeaning you bought your car last year, drove it around El Paso a couple times, and now find yourself jonesing for this year’s model…
Bona Fide Trade-insas in you’ve driven this car on every street in Silver Springs Village, Park Foothills and practically to Hades and back…and now it’s time to put the thing to pasture.
Let’s talk about both, because there are measures you can take to get a better deal, and these tips don’t necessarily apply to both types of vehicles.
Let's Start With Semi-New Trade-Ins
1) Know the political climate
If you’re trading in a car that is relatively new and in pretty great shape, you’re at somewhat of an advantage. This means that unless you’re in a huge rush for some reason, you’d be wise to pay attention to timing. If you are trading in a used truck, SUV, or even crossover, scope out the political climate before driving to the dealership. If gas is currently going up, don’t sell just yet. Larger vehicles typically go for less during gas upswings for very obvious reasons. If you hold out even a few weeks, you may find yourself at a considerable advantage.
2) Play the popularity game
How popular is your car? If you’re driving a vehicle everyone else is driving (or wants to drive), like a VW Jetta or Mercedes C-Class, you should be able to negotiate a better deal for your trade-in. Cars that no one wants…no one wants. Dealers have a tougher time moving those off the lot. Cars and trucks that are popular tend to sell quickly, because as much as you want whatever new car you have your eye on, someone else is crossing their fingers about finding a car like yours at a lower price than they’d pay for a newer model.
Other factors that can up your trade-in value include mileage, gas efficiency and consumer rating, which is all to say: do your research. The more know, the more power you’ll have to negotiate.
Now, let’s talk about Bona Fide Trade-Ins
1) Nail Down the Price
If you’re heading to a dealership in El Paso to both trade in your car AND purchase a new (or used) vehicle, you do not have to do everything at once. The advantage to separating the two transactions is that a car dealer may try to get you into a new vehicle at a higher price if they see that you’re burdened with a car you really no longer want.
It may be to your advantage to walk in, negotiate a fair price for the vehicle you want to purchase—meaning walk in ideally with a quote or two from other local dealerships—and get your negotiated price in writing (even if jotted down on a piece of paper). Return with your vehicle, and negotiate the trade-in value as a completely separate transaction, and when the conversation turns towards getting you in a new or used car, you pull out that piece of paper. So to sum up: negotiate, then talk trade.
2) Know Your State Tax Laws
Amen, Texas, for its favorable trade-in tax laws. In El Paso and all throughout the great state of Texas, the value of your current car factors into a reduction of the taxable value of whatever car you’re about to purchase. For this reason, it literally pays to trade in your car at the same dealership where you intend to buy or lease. People who separate the two transactions miss out on hundreds, if not thousands, in savings.
Here’s a quote directly from the Comptroller’s website: Will a trade-in reduce the taxable value?The value of a motor vehicle received by the seller as consideration on the purchase of another motor vehicle reduces the taxable value of the purchase.
So that’s the deal, El Paso. Whether that new car smell is still wafting through your vehicle or it’s hanging on for dear life, with a little strategy, you can get the most bang for your buck on your trade-in deal.