To trade-in or to sell?
If you choose to trade-in, be firm but reasonable
Once you have all of the information you need, you’re ready to go to the dealer. Remember, dealers tend to offer you low book value for your car. Don’t expect to get the highest possible trade-in value for your car, but if you’re willing to negotiate and hold out for a better deal, you can usually get one. Be sure to settle on the value of your trade-in before you start talking about the price of the car you’re buying.
If you choose to sell, fix problems to bump up your car’s resale value
Perform a quick inspection and decide what, if anything, you want to repair. Fixing your car up, even a little, will not only increase its value but also help you sell it more quickly. Problems you should focus on include general cleanliness and appearance, tires, dents and dings, windshield cracks, and lights. You can get all of these services performed fairly inexpensively, but they all make a big impact on a buyer’s perception of the car.
Professional detailing, for example, usually costs around $100, but a spotless car could up your asking price by much more than that. The same goes for tires. If your current tires are tread-bare, you can buy a set of quality, matching used tires for $30-$40 each, vastly improving your car’s look and value. Dents and dings don’t have to cost a lot to fix if they’re minor and you hire a dent wizard, lights cost very little, and in South Carolina, insurance companies cover the entire cost of replacing your chipped or cracked windshield if you have comprehensive insurance. Even if you don’t have comprehensive insurance, glass repair companies offer highly competitive pricing, and it’s often worth it to replace any cracked glass.