What Factors Affect My Trade-In Value?

Purchasing a vehicle is a significant investment. Aside from the money you put down up front, the monthly payments, and insurance, you'll need to pay for maintenance and repairs over the cost of ownership. Whether you keep it for several years or plan to trade it sooner, you should protect your investment. Here are 5 factors that affect your vehicle's trade-in value, and ways to boost your return when it's time to sell.


Mechanical Maintenance & Mileage 

Keep up with servicing your vehicle as recommended in your owner's manual. Maintain a record of services and repairs and make it available for when it's time to trade in your car. High mileage is a red flag for most buyers, so try to stay within 12,000 to 15,000 miles a year, if possible. Fewer miles translate to higher resale values. Consider using your AAA discount to rent a car from Hertz if you take long road trips. It will help to keep your mileage within this range.

Options and Upgrades

When you purchase your new car, think about the upgrades most drivers now want in their vehicles. Leather seats, blind spot indicators, forward collision warning, and lane departure alert systems have a positive influence on resale value. Not only will you enjoy these features now, but you will also be glad you invested a little extra when it's time to sell.

Interior and Exterior Condition

One good cleaning won't erase all the damage done over time in a vehicle, especially if you've smoked or spilled food in your car; but regular upkeep will be crucial when you re-sell. Use a professional service to detail the interior once in a while in addition to cleaning it on your own, and buy a new set of floor mats before selling. Not only should you wash and wax the exterior regularly, but also take care of any small dings and dents before trade-in. If your car has been in an accident, it will be worth less.


Certain brands such as Honda, Toyota, Subaru, and Hyundai rank high in the resale market and usually maintain about half their value in the first three years of ownership. Luxury vehicles such as Mercedes, Audi, Infiniti, and Lexus fare best in terms of luxury brands. If the model you're purchasing is popular as a new car, it is most likely attractive as a pre-owned vehicle too. Neutral colors are best, so avoid buying an unusual color, even if it appeals to you at the time.

Local Market Conditions 

Before making a purchase, think about resale in your current local market. Does the type of vehicle suit the needs of the people in your area? If you're trying to sell a convertible in a cold climate, you will probably not get the best value for your used vehicle. Certain regions make AWD a must-have feature, so depending on where you're selling, it could be a boost to your resale.


If you buy with these ideas in mind, you could see a greater return on your investment. AAA Auto Buying can help you find the right vehicle at the right price. We will gladly take your trade-in vehicle so you can avoid the hassle of selling it yourself. We will even come and pick up your trade-in when we deliver your new car. Our Auto Buying experts want you to have a hassle-free experience and will work with your from start to finish. Call 1-866-710-6226 to find out more today.