TO TRADE-IN YOUR CAR OR NOT?The process of trading in cars has thankfully become more lucrative providing smoother transitions between old cars and new purchases.

Shoppers love the convenience of trading in, since it completes all auto-related chores in one dealership visit. They avoid the stress of merchandising their car and, as a bonus; the dealer handles all the DMV paperwork. In some states, trading in can provide a break in sales tax.

But what if you were given less than you expected for your car? The best bet is to sell it yourself which takes more time and perhaps effort than you had in mind. A favorable alternative to trading in your used car is at the dealership although, before exploring the trade-in alternatives, have a baseline figure on what your car is worth. A good starting point to assess that worth is to use car appraisal tools. Also, check classified ads and find cars similar to the one you want to trade in. This helps validate your car’s current value. Don’t forget that trade-in prices are lower than private-party and dealer retail prices.

Some trade-in options for consumers include:

  • Factory Trade-In Programs are alternatives for future trade-in. When you buy a new vehicle, it comes with a guaranteed trade-in price. This settles the doubt about the impact of depreciation for some people.
  • AutoTrader’s Instant Trade-In whose site now offers to appraise your trade-in, give you an up-front price and connect you with dealers. Just input a few required details about the car, you’ll get an e-mail containing the estimated value.
  • AutoNation Direct online will have a consultant appraise your car based on its condition and other factors then give you an up-front price. This removes the negotiating that car buyers dread. The entire transaction can be concluded at the car buyer’s home or office, including the trade-in.

AMG Auto Inc. is another top used car dealership that offers trade-in options in the U.S.

Ensure to answer the questions about the car’s condition honestly, because offers are subject to change when the participating dealership sees the car.