Secrets of the Trade: 5 Questions to Ask to Get the Best Trade-In Deal

By: Mike's Car Store   |   31 Jul 2023

Have you ever wondered how dealerships actually appraise vehicles? Trading in your current vehicle at a dealership can sometimes be the most stressful part of the car-buying process. Dealers may often try to lowball you, play games, etc. Here at Mike’s Car Store, we want to remind you that Buying a Car Doesn’t Have to Suck™ – as long you enter into a dealership prepared, that is! With these five questions, we can help you ensure you get as much as several thousand dollars more for your vehicle as you negotiate your trade-in.

Question #1: What Tool Do You Use for Vehicle Appraisals?

You might think to ask, “What book do you look at?” but using the word “tool” gives dealerships the indication that you have a basic understanding of how things work, and they will be less likely to lowball you. Some dealers may decline to answer; others may say they look at several books. Be sure to redirect the wording to “tool” and then ask if they happen to use vAuto. This is a vehicle management software dealerships often use in their appraisal process. In the video below, Mike the Chevy Dude gives a detailed breakdown of how to use this site to get valuable information about your vehicle you’ll need when you begin your trade-in.


Question #2: What is the Like Mine Number?

The Like Mine Number, also referred to as the Market Days Supply (MDS), is a calculation derived by dividing your currently available supply of inventory by your average daily retail sales rate over the past 45 days. Using vAuto, you can find this information before heading to the dealership.

Question #3: What is the Market Profile?

In Layman’s terms, you’ll be asking how many vehicles are there currently out there like yours.  The fewer vehicles out there, the better your trade-in value will be.

Question #4: What is the Average Odometer Reading?

The average car travels 12,000 miles per year. So if you're looking at a 10-year-old vehicle, around 120,000 miles on the odometer is typical. But the real point of this question and the next is to throw the dealer off!

Question #5: What is the Average Market Price?

If you’re thinking of selling or trading in a vehicle, your first step should be to establish the fair market value of your particular car or truck in today’s marketplace. A below-average price will make the car easier to sell, but you’ll probably leave money on the table. But again, don’t worry about that too much – the point of this question is to show the dealer you came prepared and will NOT be hustled!

Get Trustworthy Trade-Ins at Mikes Car Store

Here at Mike’s Car Store, we always provide trustworthy, fair-market appraisals for vehicles of all makes and models. Contact us to set up an apprasial or value your trade-in online using our Edmunds Trade-in tool. Once you get an estimate, our team will be in touch to finalize your trade-in!



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