Should I Fix My Car Before Trading In?

Man Giving Thumbs Up Holding Keys In Car

If you’re thinking about trading in your current vehicle for money or as a down payment for a new or pre-owned model from Midway Auto Dealerships, you’re probably already wondering, “Should I fix my car before trading into a dealership?” This is a nuanced question, as cosmetic or mechanical damage to your vehicle can affect the trade-in value. Luckily, the finance team and service experts at our Kearney dealership are here to help! 

If you’re planning on trading in your vehicle, you should fix your car’s minor scratches, dents, and blemishes before stopping by Midway Auto Dealerships. It’s also recommended that you clean the interior cabin and remove any personal items. However, you should avoid any maintenance that exceeds the aforementioned issues, as you might end up paying more in repairs than your trade-in value would cover. Learn more about how to trade in your car with the experts below! 

What SHOULDN’T I Fix in My Car Before Trading In?

Still thinking to yourself, “ Is fixing my car before trading in worth it?” We understand the confusion. It’s important to keep in mind that any repairs that will cost more than your vehicle’s estimated trade-in value should be ignored. If your car’s suffering from any of the three major issues below, we strongly advise NOT spending the money to fix them before trading in: 

  • Major repairs will be expensive, which will lower how much you will actually get from the trade-in.
  • Dealerships have the expertise and tools to easily fix major issues at a much lower cost than you will spend out of pocket. This is how dealerships are able to make a profit from buying and reselling used cars.
  • Depending on the dealership you go to, they might not do a detailed inspection of your car before finalizing the trade-in, so they might not deduct the cost of these repairs from your trade-in price. 

What SHOULD I Fix In My Car Before Trading In?

So, if I decide to fix my car before trading in, what repairs am I allowed to spend money on? You can always fix lesser damages to at least make your car more presentable in the hopes it will maintain or increase the trade-in value, however, dealerships reserve the right to deduct from the value any money they’ll spend for reconditioning major issues. Browse this non-exhaustive list of things you can do to optimize your vehicle’s appearance before trading it in at Midway Auto Dealerships:

  • Fix Any Scratches: If the scratches are minor, you can try to DIY remove them
  • Wash the Car: Whether you decide to do it yourself or go to a professional, you should wash the car
  • Wax Your Car: After washing your car, you can wax it to give a shiny finish 
  • Clean Out the Inside: Dispose of any garbage, take out personal items, and clean the windows and carpets 
  • Check Headlamps: Make sure they’re working properly and replace them if needed
  • Check the Fluids (Brake & Transmission), Oil, Radiator, and Windshield-Washer: Make sure they’re up to date, so the dealer will know you’ve been keeping up with basic maintenance 

Find Your Vehicle’s Trade-In Value at Midway Auto Dealerships Today!

Have a better idea of whether or not you should fix your car before trading in at a dealership like Midway Auto Dealerships? Then your next best step in the sales process is to use our Value Your Trade calculator to estimate your vehicle’s worth! If you have any questions along the way or are eyeing a particular vehicle to put your current car’s value towards as a down payment, feel free to contact us online


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