How to Prepare a Vehicle For Trade-in

Trading in a car during the purchase of a new one is a common practice. Of course, you want the best offer possible on your old car, but the features and details an appraiser looks for when inspecting a vehicle are not common knowledge. We're happy to share a few tips on how to properly prepare your vehicle for trade-in. The tips and tricks below will help you get the best price possible and provide some insight on specific technicalities that may lower an offer. Keep them in mind when you trade in your vehicle to buy a new or used handicap van from AMS Vans.

What Appraisers Look For

  1. Have your car detailed inside and out. The cleanliness of your vehicle is the appraiser's first impression--and it's a lasting one. Appraisers carefully inspect its aesthetic condition as well as its "under the hood" condition. Cleanliness indicates that you've taken good care of your vehicle. This is the most overlooked thing when taking a car in for trade-in. If the paint has dulled, use a buffing product and a good wax to restore some of the shine.

  2. Consider how your car looks from the driver's seat. What would a potential new owner think? Ask yourself questions such as "Does the interior of the vehicle have an odor?", "Does the rear bumper have stickers on top of bumper stickers?", "Are the knobs and instrument panel in good working condition?” Simple fixes in these areas can add a lot to your trade-in offer.

  3. Repair simple issues such as burned out headlights, light bulbs and blown fuses. If your tires are bald, consider a small investment in clearance or used tires.

  4. Remove dents and dings that can be fixed at a reasonable cost. Have cracks in your windshield filled and repaired. Many insurance companies cover windshield repair and, in some cases, replacement with no deductible.

  5. Change the floor mats. These often have stains that cannot be removed, and a small investment to replace them can improve the interior aesthetics of your vehicle significantly.

  6. Appraisers look at the frame for damage or evidence of after-market work, as well as inside for signs of flood damage. Be honest about the work that has been done to the vehicle or if it's been in a major accident. All appraisers run a vehicle history report before making an offer, so being upfront and honest is to your advantage.

These simple fixes and modest investments will reap a trade-in offer much higher than keeping your vehicle "as is". You'll more than likely recover the money you invest to spruce up the vehicle in a higher trade-in offer. AMS Vans will buy used unmodified minivans, or if you want to sell a professionally modified wheelchair vehicle for one of the highest trade-in values in the mobility industry, we're happy to do that too. We're interested in the Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Grand Caravan, Honda Odyssey, and Volkswagen Routan, among others. We accept many vehicles as a trade-in when you buy a handicap van from us. We also buy our competitor's vehicles, such as Braun, VMI, and Rollx wheelchair vehicles, that you no longer want or need.