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How to ensure a hassle-free trade-in

When times are tough, you might need to re-evaluate your options in terms of your vehicle and how best to reduce your monthly expenses, in order to make ends meet. An option would be to look at trading-in your current vehicle and possibly purchasing a more affordable one. have some suggestions for you that will make the evaluation process smoother – and ensure you get a better trade-in deal:

First, establish the book value of your current vehicle so that you have an idea of how much it is worth.

Your nearest dealer will be able to assist you with this. The criteria you will need to provide includes, vehicle make, model, your vehicle’s service history, mileage, model year and colour.

Bear in mind that this will only be an estimate as various factors will influence the final value, and these could include:

1. Mileage and mechanical upkeep

Mileage does matter. Approximately 25 000 km per annum is an acceptable mileage, and regular maintenance is a must.

Following your manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule and keeping maintenance records will assist in you being offered a higher trade-in value.

2. Vehicle options selection

When evaluating your vehicle, the appraiser will take into consideration what options your vehicle boasts.

Not all vehicle options have the same value. Generally, vehicle owners prefer options that increase the safety, connectivity, and comfort of driving, over performance-based options and perhaps some flashy accessories.

Features like automatic transmission, power windows, power door locks, anti-lock brakes, cruise control, remote start, leather interior, entertainment systems, navigation systems and sunroof all add value to your vehicle.

3. Interior condition

Food spills, the smell of cigarette smoke and visible transporting of pets are all factors that affect the wear and tear and smell of the interior of your car.

People want to buy vehicles that have been taken care of properly. While buyers may overlook a spot here or there, dirty upholstery, or a car that stinks of stale smoke will most definitely have a negative impact on your trade-in value.

Before trading in your vehicle, try to restore the interior of your vehicle to appear as new as possible.

4. Exterior condition

A ding or dent can influence what grading an appraiser will give your vehicle. Before trading in, have your vehicle professionally washed and take care of all dings, dents, and chips, as well as any other exterior deficiencies which will diminish the resale value.

Also, remember to remove all bumper stickers.

5. Market conditions

You cannot control everything when you sell your vehicle, the current market being one of them.

This however is something that will influence trade-in value. If there is a high demand for your vehicle you are likely to fetch a better trade-in value, the opposite is of course also true.

When taking your vehicle to be evaluated, be sure to take the following with you:


  • Proof of ownership
  • Notification of change of ownership
  • Vehicle registration certificate
  • Vehicle maintenance history (service records)
  • Identification document

Any Extras:

  • Extra sets of keys
  • Any other accessories
  • Codes or SD cards for navigation systems and sound systems

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How to ensure a hassle-free trade-in