How to Prepare to Trade in Your Car




How to Prepare to Trade in Your Car |  CMA Chevrolet of Martinsburg in Martinsburg, WV |  Close up of two people shaking hands

Maybe your car or truck isn’t working for you anymore. Or maybe something new has simply caught your eye!

Regardless of the reason, trading your vehicle in is a great option when you move to your new vehicle. It’s generally faster, easier, and more straightforward than making a private sale.

When you bring your vehicle to CMA Chevrolet of Martinsburg, you want to make sure it is in great shape. A vehicle that is in decent shape will get a decent trade-in price – but one that is in great shape will get the best price! Make sure you’re prepared to trade in your car, truck, or SUV by following these four points.


Fix the Small Things

The less work our dealership has to put into your vehicle, the less it costs us to prep it to sell – particularly for the small things! Sure, major repairs like dents and brakes jobs are something we will take on – those are things we cover in our multi-point inspection prior to listing the vehicle. But minor repairs? Everything from checking and replacing bulbs in the interior and exterior lights, to minor paint fixes of dings, to fluid levels, to minor interior fixes can be taken care of ahead of time.

For the dealer, if all of this stuff is in the green, that’s less time and labor they have to devote towards getting the vehicle ready for resale – which means less cost they have to put into it. In turn, this means there’s more they can put towards the trade-in price, instead of reserving it for repairs and reconditioning.

Clean It, Inside and Out

Give your vehicle a good, through cleaning – better than you’ve probably done before! It may even be worth getting a professional detailer to do some work for you. For appraisers, they have to quickly evaluate your car, truck, or SUV to make an offer. A dirty car can hide severe damage, or require extensive detailing by our dealership. While appraisers can generally look past generally dirty vehicles and understand what lies beneath, a clean car can still make a better impression, and may be able to get you an extra few bills, as it’s less labor that needs to be put into it to ready it for sale.

How to Prepare to Trade in Your Car |  CMA Chevrolet of Martinsburg in Martinsburg, WV | CMA Chevrolet of Martinsburg in Martinsburg, WV | Woman in white shirt is wakling by and touching the roof of a car while smiling

How to Prepare to Trade in Your Car | Woman in white shirt is shaking hands with a sales person on making a deal with car

Make Sure You’ve Got Everything!

Your car probably came with more than you remember. Over the years, you may have made slight changes, stored things you don’t use on a regular basis, made upgrades. Dealers want as much of the original parts, paperwork and accessories that came with the vehicle as possible when they evaluate your vehicle.

  • Owners Manual: Pretty self-explanatory. Every vehicle has one, and it needs to stay with the vehicle when it is transferred.
  • Extra Key: Every car should have at least two keys. Make sure you have your extra key with you for trade-in.
  • Original Equipment: Did you swap out floor mats? Make sure to provide the original floor mats. Did you have to use the spare at some point and put the included hand jack in your garage? Make sure you put it back in the spare wheel well. Your vehicle needs to have all the equipment that came with the original trim to get a fair and accurate price.
  • Accessories: All the original accessories need to go along with your vehicle. Did the nav system have a storage card or intro DVD? Was there a pencil holder in your center console? Was a cargo area cover included with your SUV? Make sure you have all of these, so you have a complete vehicle for appraising.
  • Important Documents: Any records you’ve maintained over the years – loan information, your title, insurance, registration, service records – these are all necessary. Some of them are needed to make the transfer of the trade-in. Others, like the service records, can help you get a better price by proving you’ve kept up on the maintenance.

  • Do Your Prep Work!

    Know what your vehicle is worth in the condition it is in beforehand. Check out many of the available online tools for determining a vehicle’s worth – while Kelley Blue Book is often cited as the main source, NADA Values and Edmunds are also great sources for information on your car. You can value your trade right on our site! Keep in mind that many of us overvalue the worth of our vehicles, and that these tools don’t necessarily cover things like local demand, dealer desire, and regional price fluctuations. Still, they provide you with a jumping-off range.



    By preparing your car using these simple tips, you’ll be on your way to getting the best price possible for your trade-in, with the least hassle. So start prepping, and you’ll be ready to trade in and trade up to a brand new, or at least new-to-you vehicle, in no time!

    If you’re ready to trade in your vehicle, you can view our new and used inventory, then contact us at CMA Chevrolet of Martinsburg!