Getting the Most Out of Your Trade-In

Auto purchasing can be tricky. Consider the benefits of a trade-in and, most importantly, do your homework.


The cherry red convertible on the corner car lot has been calling your name and you’re finally giving in to the temptation of purchasing another automobile. But how do you get good “green” for your existing vehicle? Most positive purchase experiences are based on solid research.

For some motorists, donating the automobile to a charity can drive a nice tax writeoff. Others may choose to sell their automobile themselves. But for those who do not have the time or desire to be a sales person (that’s most of us!), trading in their existing vehicle to a dealer is the most simple, easy way to go.

Trading-in has many advantages: no classified advertisements to take out; no test drives to arrange or visitors to your home; no window shoppers; no pesky phone calls; no risk of money scams or legal battles should your recently sold car break down. Trading-in also eliminates the difficult decision of whether to have two vehicles at once and pay double the insurance costs, or sell the old automobile first and be without wheels until the new purchase can be completed.

The most important step when shopping for a used or new vehicle is to work with a reputable seller that has a solid track record in customer service, including providing fair wholesale value for trade-ins.  When shopping with a trade-in, there are certain steps everyone should take to ensure they receive the best price for their used vehicle.

First, don’t disclose that a trade is pending until the price of the vehicle being purchased has been negotiated. This allows the member to get the best offer on both deals. Second, go into the negotiation process with an idea of what your existing vehicle is worth. Two of the best sources are Kelley Blue Book® and NADA Official Used Car Guide. The key is to always evaluate the automobile honestly to get a true idea of what it is worth.  

Finally, when trying to fetch top dollar for a vehicle, it is a good idea to put the best foot, or in this case “hood,” forward: clean the automobile thoroughly, evaluate the age and condition of the tires, even consider a tune-up.  These characteristics are signs of how well the automobile was maintained and are worth investing the time, effort and money.  The trade-in price will be comparable to what the dealer would pay for the vehicle at a wholesale auction, minus the cost to repair and clean the car.  If those tasks have been completed, the value can be greater and the deal closed with minimal effort and risk.

Keep in mind Enterprise Car Sales, which simplifies the entire trade-in process with its Perfect Used Car Package® that ensures members get a great deal on both sides of the trade-in and sale.  In select areas, Enterprise Car Sales will even purchase your used vehicle regardless of whether you buy one from them or not.*

For more information visit: to learn how Enterprise Car Sales can help your credit union succeed!

* Enterprise will provide a fair and competitive offer on your vehicle.  Customer is responsible to any extent vehicle pay-off exceeds Enterprise offer.  See an Enterprise Car Sales Manager for details.



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Jan. 16, 2006



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