By on May 5, 2016

2015 Kia Sedona SXL front

Jonathan writes:

Hi Bark,
In the past, I’ve always bought used in the “golden zone”, i.e. two to three years old with less than 45k on the clock. This has always served me well. I’m pretty good at getting a good deal on this end of the process.

What’s brand new for me is dealing with an existing vehicle I still owe on. Due to a family addition coming along, we’re moving up from this late-model SUV (I don’t want to get too specific, but it’s a GM product) that has about 55k racked up, but is in good shape overall. Tires have tons of tread life, it’s mechanically sound, that sort of thing. We’re moving on to a Kia Sedona; my wife really dug one we kicked tires on. The minivan would be a late-model, purchased used — likely a 2015. Where my kung fu is not strong is in dealing with trading in or selling the existing vehicle.

There’s a lot of moving parts here. First, even going with pessimistic value estimates I’d say we’re going to be $2,500 richer offloading this car, even trading in at the dealer. Second, the vehicle is not beaten up, but does have typical wear and tear and a few non-dramatic dings typical of a city hauler. Third, it’s a popular vehicle that tends to sell well. Although our credit union has a car buyer service, and takes trade-ins, I’m not convinced they’d necessarily give us the best deal on the vehicle. I know any dealer can’t offer what a private party does, but I don’t want to give the car away, either.

Given all that’s going on, how would you ensure the best bang for buck for my trade-in, and is the adage that a same-make dealer would offer more cash generally the case?

Also (and optional, of course, if you have time) I’d be interested in seeing exactly what you’d view as the target price I could realistically hope arriving at for a used Kia minivan. Say the posted asking price is 21k…what should I actually pay?

Great questions! Thanks for sending them in. I’ll try to tackle them one at a time.

Based on your #vaguebook description of your existing vehicle, I’m guessing you have an Equinox or Terrain. If my guess is correct, you’re right — they do sell well. However, their scarcity is low — meaning that there are typically more of them in the markets than there are people looking for them. Despite what KBB might be telling you your car is worth, you’re probably not going to get that for it.

Will you get some more money at a General Motors dealer? Eh. That tends to be more true at Hyundai and Kia stores than at GM stores. An Equinox has real value at most stores because people know what it is. A Sedona doesn’t have the same value at a GM store that it does at a Kia store, because a GM customer isn’t necessarily convinced of the value of a Kia.

However, there can be some serious tax benefits to trading in versus a private sale, based on how sales tax is calculated in your state. This can be worth real money to you. Plus, as our friend Steve Lynch recently discovered, selling a car via Autotrader or Craigslist can be a genuine hassle.

So how can you get an accurate idea of what your car is really worth? There are a couple of ways:

  • You can take your car to your local CarMax and get an offer for it within thirty minutes. They’re surprisingly accurate, and it gives you a good baseline for where you can start negotiations on a trade-in.
  • There are some third party sites that will give you a “cash offer” for your car.  The number they give you is somewhat artificially low — think of it as the wholesale value of your car, or what the dealer would get for it at an auction. However, it is a real offer that you can take to a dealer and get a real check for, provided that your car matches the description you entered on the site. This is somewhat of a “worst case” number, but occasionally it turns out pretty well for the customer — it’s actually how I ended up selling my Boss 302 last year.

Now, that all assumes that you’re selling your car without considering the vehicle you’re purchasing. In your case, you’re looking at a Kia Sedona, which is also a low scarcity car. Sedonas sit on lots for a long time. Like, a loooooooooooong time. So the actual trade in number almost becomes irrelevant. They might be able to offer you a higher number than the CarMax number because they have more room to move on their car.

My guess would be that you’re going to be offered a very competitive number on your car if you’re looking at a Sedona if you tell them that you’re focused on your trade number. This is why dealers have used the “foursquare” method for so long — it allows them to figure out what matters to you. If you’re focused on the trade value, they’ll go high on that number, and then turn around and deeply screw you on either the price of your car or the financing.

My advice is this — don’t focus on the trade value specifically. Focus on the overall deal. Dealers rarely operate as a single business unit — the used car manager and new car manager are often at each other’s throats. Sometimes car dealers need to bury the money on the trade, and sometimes they’re willing to go light on the trade but deeply discount their car — it just depends on what the budgets are of the various departments.

As far as what you should pay for a lightly used Sedona that lists at $21K? I don’t know what the trim level or the mileage is, so it’s hard to say. However, nobody should be paying that much money for a Kia Sedona LX, which is mostly what’s on the market. Based on the tools I have available to me, I’d say $19k is a good starting point.

So, to sum up — go to CarMax, get a price for your car, negotiate a fair price for their car, and enjoy your new van.

Got a question for the Barkster? You know what to do. Email him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @barkm302.

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100 Comments on “Ask Bark: How Can I Get The Most For My Trade?...”

  • avatar

    I always demand 100%
    I GET 100%
    The resale value on SRT is HUGE.

    My 06′ 300 SRT had accidents and they still took it 100% for my 2012.

    Traded my 2012 for the 2016 Hellcat.

    No markup.

    Dealers tactic is to attempt to charge you a higher interest rate in order to catch you on the backend .

    They thought that I didn’t know that.

    I drive off the lot and go straight to my credit union to refinance that week.

    They tried to hit me with a 7%.

    MCU dropped that to a 3%.

    Then gave me .5% off for direct debit.

    Who did they think they were dealing with?

    Don’t make me erase your dealership with my OMEGA BEAMS.

    • 0 avatar

      Your 100% is 100% of the lowest resale values in the industry, because FCA.

    • 0 avatar

      100 % two ply toilet paper?
      100 %income tax rate?
      100 % agree climate change is real?
      100 % agree we only need 150 HP cars??
      100 % voting for Bernie???

      • 0 avatar

        Bernie Sanders is communist welfare trash and I’m anxiously awaiting the end to his pathetic anti-American campaign.

        • 0 avatar

          A. Communist does not equal social democrat
          B. He doesn’t take welfare or trash
          C. His campaign has been the most pro-American for 99% of Americans.

          Sanders has consistently gotten a higher % of votes in the primaries than Trump, but will not be his party’s nominee because he’s competing with a viable candidate.

          • 0 avatar

            The ultimate goal of socialism is communism

            You can believe in him
            You can call him what you want.

            His campaign will be crushed.

            His name and memory obliterated.

            My progenitors fought communism.

            My progenitors fought socialism.

            I will continue to do so as a sworn enemy of the welfare state.

          • 0 avatar

            My progenitors fought Nazism and Communism, under FDR, who in today’s America would be well aligned with social democrats like Bernie.

            If you think that socialism and communism are the same, then you’ve never been to Western Europe.

            You aren’t Conan the Barbarian, you’re a mortgage broker from BBQ who dreams of being a dictator/auto czar, but now it’s time for you to grow up, settle down and have a family already.

          • 0 avatar

            A. There are many shades of s***.
            B. I agree, he’s probably not on welfare.
            C. I haven’t paid much attention to him, other than he seems to be anti-banker which is good (although whether he would jail them is another question).

            “will not be his party’s nominee because he’s competing with a viable candidate.”

            Pwleease, it was rigged before it started and Sanders seems to have known it for some time. He may simply be waiting for an indictment, which is not a bad move on his part. He is a much better representation of CPUSA’s values than a multi-decade criminal psychopath.

          • 0 avatar

            I thought he was a “democratic socialist”, which they keep assuring me is NOT a “social democrat”, which has a pretty specific meaning from decades of European usage.

            (I don’t care, mind you, I just think the terminological infighting is hilarious, and Sanders has no chance anyway, and I’m voting for Johnson in any case.)

          • 0 avatar

            Did you just say that you’re voting for Johnson because Sanders isn’t viable?

            I agree that unless Clinton is indicted, Sanders won’t be the nominee, but Johnson?

        • 0 avatar

          Having researched Sanders positions after attending one his rallies I would have to agree with your statement. As a life long D I’m going to sit out this election or maybe pinch my nose and vote for T. My plan B is on election night to steal a Hellcat and do burnouts in a Walmart parking lot.

    • 0 avatar

      BTSR, you might demand 100%, but 100% isn’t always the answer… for example: when donating blood. :-)

    • 0 avatar

      “My 06′ 300 SRT had accidents”

      Can you give us a few more details on this? I’m sure I’m not the only one who would like to hear how all of them weren’t your fault.

      • 0 avatar

        ACCIDENT 1: hit by a goddamned loser in a Honda civic who was texting. REAR ENDED – not my faiult.

        ACCIDENT 2: tore the splash guard on some curb near my office. Not my fault (they should fix these roads with my tax money)

        ACCIDENT 3: minor sideswipe
        Not my fault.

        I still maintain a 5 year good driver discount despite my habitual speeding.

    • 0 avatar

      I see BTSR and am immediately reminded why I stopped coming to TTAC.

      Thanks, big guy.

    • 0 avatar

      Things I might not brag about:

      1. Trading a 4 year old car for essentially the same thing except with more HP I can never use in the real world. Expensive bragging rights.

      2. Paying MSRP for ANYTHING in this era.

      3. Buying a Chrysler product in this era.

      4. Getting “100%” value for a low resale value brand car.

      5. Doing all this when I have to go borrow the money to do it. Sounds like most of my wealth would in the dollars that depreciated away long ago from these “smart deals” I made.

      6. All for a car that winds up in the bushes at the first turn if I actually drove it as fast as it can go. Basically I’d have bought it for bragging rights among my fellow gearheads.

      7. Not understanding that my dealer made about $7,500 off of me, vs the typical $1,000-$2,000 for a new car sale. $4500 on the MSRP/invoice plus holdback spread, and $3,000 on the retail/trade in spread on my perfectly serviceable old car that is 95% the same as the new one.

      8. Not understanding that every time I do this I pay perhaps $2,000 in sales/title taxes that will never be recouped

      9. Not understanding that my depreciation hit next year will be at least $5,000 instead of maybe $2500.

      10. That I’d be hemmoraging cash doing all this my entire life and thinking I’m getting a good deal somehow.

  • avatar

    Car shoppers typically focus on monthly payment, selling price, or trade in value, which, as you said, gives the typical 4 square dealer many opportunities to make money on you. What customers need to be focused on is the bottom line number – selling price – trade in + taxes, fees etc. The payment is typically going to be about $20-25 per $1000 financed on a 60 month loan, so that is what it is. Shop multiple dealers that have what you are looking for and find the lowest bottom line number. Make sure you get a full breakdown of all the fees etc so you can do an accurate comparison between dealers. By shopping online first, you can spot your desired vehicle on the lot of a dealer that may not specialize in that type of vehicle (and may just want it gone) and using CarFax you can see how long a vehicle has been on the lot and use that to your advantage (as discussed in a previous article on TTAC).

    And clean your trade before you go. Cars can be cleaned, but a messy car means a messy life, and likely a less than perfect maintenance history. That perception can affect your trade in number.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m not so sure the fees matter if you are focused on the bottom line. When I bought my M235i, I paid quite a bit more for the car from my local dealer than what a couple Internet dealers were asking – but the overall deal was the best because the fees were so much lower.

      • 0 avatar

        That makes my point – all parts of the deal matter and it’s the final bottom line that matters. Most buyers don’t look at it that way and get hung up on one part of the deal or another.

    • 0 avatar

      > $20-25 per $1000

      And that’s with fairly high interest rates. Some of the crazy incentive ones (we got 0% on a car we bought during carmageddon) are as low as $16.67. Anything 7% or under actually keeps you under $20, not that the extra $3 doesn’t add up when you’re talking about 60 payments and multiple thousands of dollars financed, but even still it’s not huge in the grand scheme of things.

      On a $10k car, it’s a difference of $1880 between 0% and 7% on a 60 month note, which when annualized is only $376. I’m not saying that it’s not a lot more money, but on an annual budget for most people, that’s a rounding error.

  • avatar

    Carmax can come in really low so don’t be upset if they are.

    They offered me $4500 for my used Accord and then wanted to sell me a 2 year old Focus ST for $20,500.

    After some work, I got a brand new identically equipped ST for $21,000 and $6500 trade for my Accord.

    • 0 avatar

      Carmax is nice because their offer is 100% real, good for 7 days, and not contingent on you buying from them. It gives you an absolute price floor to work from as well.

      What it doesn’t do is give you the sales tax incentives of trading in, which can significantly impact the bottom line of a deal at the end of the day (assuming you live in a state that has those rules).

      Assuming easy numbers here, a $20k purchase with a $10k trade-in means you’re only paying tax on $10k, meaning you already saved an extra $6-800 depending on your tax rates, or zero if you live in Delaware, so it’s something to factor in when doing the trade vs CarMax calculation.

      Otherwise, all CarMax does is give you a great place to est drive every make and model, and then overpay for a used car if you actually buy from them.

      • 0 avatar

        This is the 2nd time today that I’ve read “zero tax in Delaware”, but I’m not sure that it was duffman13 that said it both times. That is not true; there is a 4.25% “document fee” based on the purchase price, or NADA book value, whichever is greater.

        • 0 avatar

          I wasn’t aware of that, thanks. Delaware doesn’t have an actual sales tax in their state laws, but I just did some reading on this fee.

          Since it’s a fee, it doesn’t count as a tax for accounting purposes. This means you lose out on trade-in value reduction, as well as the tax write-off you can normally claim on vehicle sales taxes.

    • 0 avatar

      Or they can be great, like when I sold my Fiat Abarth to them for pretty much what I would have wanted private sale. YMMV, you won’t know until you try, and they do set the floor.

  • avatar

    Agree on car max it should be used as a floor on price they have come in pretty low when I used them.

    • 0 avatar

      Most times I would agree that CarMax is on the low side, but when I was selling cars we used to suggest that people try CarMax – since it was across the street – if they were upset at our trade offer. A few times the people came back with CarMax checks for stupid money. It can be a good baseline number though.

  • avatar

    Dealer’s screw you on the trade-in, you aren’t going to get around that, I went to 4 different places getting prices for my STI and I barely got above Manheim auction price. It’s going to be worse when I trade-in my M3 but I’ll attempt to use that against them and get a better deal on the car. Like Bark said figure out the number you are looking for and tell them they can give you more for the trade or less on the car you are buying but you need XX dollars more off.

    Just be prepared to walk away.

  • avatar

    You’re going be “$2500 richer” with this move? Good luck.

    If you buy a minivan for “$19,000”, with taxes and registration you’re looking at $21,500.

    Your GM SUV has 55k miles already–it’s going to be $12000 to $20000.

    You are in the same position as the guest are in a Casino–the odds favor the house (dealer). House always wins (unless you are a relative or close friend of the dealership owner)

    If you want to save money, keep your current car.

    If you want a minivan, unless it’s significantly older, it will cost you.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      I’m scratching my head at that a bit too. A 2013 loaded Equinox LTZ with that mileage has a KBB tradein of about $18K in my area. Given the parasitic transaction costs of taxes and dealer doc fees, I don’t see someone coming out ahead.

      Now, if the GM SUV is a Tahoe, that’s a different story.

    • 0 avatar

      I thought the OP meant he has $2,500 equity in the car he is trading.

    • 0 avatar


      People who have their first kid, or second or third sometimes, fixate on the concept of having more stuff to haul around. Strollers, cribs, etc. Never occurs to them that for the thousands of dollars they burn trading in for another car, the taxes, the fees, the trade/retail spread, all the transaction costs, etc, they could have purchased a stroller and crib and toys to put at grandma’s house, and/or a roof rack and cargo box ($500) and/or hitch mounted cargo box ($200), to haul any stuff in that won’t fit in the already utilitarian SUV, and still be far ahead. And, they’wouldn’t have to drive a minivan and deal with another tedious transaction and the risks inherent in any used vehicle vs the “devil-you-know”, your own existing vehicle.

      My brother in law had ONE KID and rushed out to buy a huge Ford Flex that seats seven or eight. He pays about $1,000/year in added fuel costs plus whatever extra the new vehicle costs vs his previous one. Annnnd he looks like a soccer mom.

  • avatar

    Super interesting topic, I have just entered this world too. Hear me out.

    My Mrs needs a ‘badge” for appearances (lawyer) and needs something reasonably fresh every three to four years, so lease right? Well, no. i cannot make lease numbers work under any scenario, especially given the lack of miles she does. So i have entered the world of buying, like the OP, 2 to 3 years old and looking to sell in three to four years a relatively modern vehicle.

    No idea if a trade in or Craigslist sale will be the way to go when we do sell. Just bought a CPO, loaded 2013 X3, 35i, with 23,000 miles, will be interesting to see how much we beat the lease numbers by.

    • 0 avatar

      Couple of other things to consider. If you lease but drive really low miles you can trade car in at the end of lease vs turning it in and get money back. Also BMW is now offering leases on their CPO cars. Monthly payment is very cheap. I don’t know if they cover maintenance or not during the period though. In some metro areas, like NYC, banks will do 0 mile leases at very low monthly costs but then you pay for every mile.

      If trying to beat the lease numbers keep track of your maintenance costs including tire replacement if needed. If you leased a new BMW there would be 0 cost for maintenance.

      • 0 avatar

        Nah none of that here (Canada), no CPO lease, no money back for low miles.

        BMW do roll in maintenance though, which was nice.

        • 0 avatar

          If you have super-low miles and your lease isn’t too subsidized, you can probably buy the car and turn around and sell it for a profit.

          I’m not sure why the numbers aren’t working for you — you seem from the description like the perfect candidate for leasing.

          I have found when getting lease quotes that the first quotes come back absolutely stupid high. It takes more beating on the dealers to get down to the right number than it does for a purchase, probably because there are more moving parts. But eventually you’ll get to the right amount.

          • 0 avatar

            It’s just not working, beat them to death and they let me walk.

            Once you factor in delivery, other fees etc and the very high initial depreciation, it just does not add up at all.

            Equivalent X3 would be $835 month for example, buying CPO at 42K and flipping I should finish $150 a month in front.

        • 0 avatar
          formula m

          Look for a lease take-over. Someone that is driving too much for their term and kilometre allowance will post adds on kijiji, leasebusters, etc… Many people need out of their lease because they are leaving country or put money down and you can assume their lower payment and if they need out ask them to pay $700 transfer fee. My sister got a cheque for $6k from the previous owner to assume the last 27months of the lease. Even better if they paid for lease protection for damage return. Sounds like this may work for you

    • 0 avatar

      President Carter’s personal attorney drove by my house daily when I was a kid. He drove an old GM car. Appearances are for lightweights. Read “Rich Dad Poor Dad” for a lesson on what real winners think about brand names.

    • 0 avatar

      What kind of lawyer has clients who see what they drive?

      A lawyer.

  • avatar

    Oh my son, thou has sought the proper consul.

    “Tires have tons of tread life, it’s mechanically sound, that sort of thing.”

    This is irrelevant on dealer trade, you are simply reducing their refurbishing costs at no gain to you. Generally speaking, no one is going to go see new tires and say “we’re going to increase your valuation by $400 to compensate you vs our previous offer”.

    “Second, the vehicle is not beaten up, but does have typical wear and tear and a few non-dramatic dings typical of a city hauler.”

    The best you can generally hope for is average condition at age and miles, mayyybe clean but noticeable dings generally negate clean status.

    “I know any dealer can’t offer what a private party does, but I don’t want to give the car away, either.””

    Yes they can, they choose to screw you for a number of reasons. This is why you trade junk and sell decent product yourself private party.

    “First, even going with pessimistic value estimates I’d say we’re going to be $2,500 richer offloading this car, even trading in at the dealer.”

    “Third, it’s a popular vehicle that tends to sell well.”

    This confuses me because to this point I envision an MY11ish Equinox as being the mystery car (not big enough for growing family, late model popular GM etc). Now you’re saying its only going to be worth $2,500 but has no miles, now I’m thinking late-late model Blazer. Here’s the thing, if you have a decent Blazer 4×4 with NO miles in avg condition without frame rot underneath and a good transmission that only books for 25 bucks or so, don’t you DARE trade that nice sounding truck. I have no doubt if you try you could sell it for around 3K if it books 2,5. Hell, I can probably sell it for you. If it is a newer Equinox and your 2,5 is leftover after you pay off the loan, than I think you’re stuck with the dealer because average people have a tougher time of coming up with the 13K or so it might be worth. If you post what it is I will give you the MMR for it.

    “We’re moving on to a Kia Sedona; my wife really dug one we kicked tires on.”

    This is tough. I can appreciate the position you’re in with the wife and how she may think be it rationally or irrationally, but the minivan duopoly of choice is Sienna or Odyssey. I know you’re thinking “but 28, those are so expensive and in the fake recovered Obamaonomy we can just barely swing 21”. You need to consider the fact notes are being written right now for ridiculous mounts and duration, so spending a few more Gs to get the vehicle that costs less in the long run is important. The other factor to comprehend is the general truth about used minivans which is: minivans ain’t worth sheeeeiiiittttttt:

    Oddy EX-L

    5dr EX-L $35,225.00 / N/A N/A 248 18 / 27 N/A FWD
    5dr EX-L w/RES $36,825.00 / N/A N/A 248 18 / 27 N/A FWD
    5dr EX-L w/Navi $37,225.00 / N/A N/A 248 18 / 27 N/A FWD

    Sienna XLE

    5dr 7-Pass Van V6 XLE FWD (Natl) $35,015.00 / N/A N/A 266 18 / 25 N/A FWD
    5dr 7-Pass Van V6 XLE AWD (Natl) $35,950.00 / N/A N/A 266 16 / 23 N/A AWD

    MY13 Honda Oddy EX-L FWD V6

    National Mean: $22,372 (avg condition), May 2017 projection: 18,4

    04/28/16 PA Lease $24,000 12,682 Above WHITE 6G A Yes
    04/22/16 PA Lease $22,800 16,058 Avg GREY 6G A Yes
    04/22/16 PA Lease $21,500 17,876 Avg SILVER 6G A Yes
    04/28/16 FRDKBURG Regular $24,500 17,884 Above SILVER 6G A Yes
    04/15/16 PA Regular $24,900 18,053 Above GREY 6G A Yes
    04/14/16 PA Lease $22,750 18,084 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
    04/13/16 CALIFORN Regular $20,300 19,534 Below GRAY 6G A No
    04/13/16 NJ Regular $23,600 20,266 Avg GREY 6G Yes
    05/02/16 PA Lease $19,900 21,006 Below GREY 6G A No
    04/22/16 PA Regular $24,500 21,093 Above SILVER 6G A Yes
    04/27/16 PA Regular $23,200 21,860 Avg WHITE 6G A Yes
    04/22/16 INDY Regular $21,500 22,059 Avg GRAY 6G A Yes
    04/12/16 ORLANDO Regular $24,400 24,358 Above BLUE 6G A Yes
    04/15/16 PA Regular $23,000 25,404 Avg GRAY 6G A Yes

    MY13 Toyota Sienna XLE FWD V6

    National Mean: $21,840 (avg condition), May 2017 projection: 19,4

    04/20/16 PA Factory $24,500 10,022 Above WHITE 6G A Yes
    04/11/16 NJ Lease $22,200 14,869 Avg BLUE 6G A Yes
    04/15/16 PA Regular $23,000 15,564 Avg SILVER 6G A Yes
    04/15/16 PA Regular $22,500 16,469 Avg WHITE 6G A Yes
    04/18/16 ATLANTA Lease $21,600 18,357 Avg GREEN 6G A Yes
    04/29/16 PA Regular $23,700 19,681 Avg TAN 6G A Yes
    04/25/16 ATLANTA Lease $18,800 19,988 Below GREEN 6G A No
    04/29/16 PA Lease $20,900 20,012 Avg GREY 6G P Yes
    04/29/16 PA Regular $21,000 20,473 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
    04/12/16 ORLANDO Regular $23,000 21,643 Avg BLUE 6G A Yes
    05/02/16 MILWAUKE Lease $21,200 21,851 Avg GRAY 6G A Yes
    04/29/16 PA Lease $24,800 22,624 Above WHITE 6G A Yes
    04/12/16 ORLANDO Lease $25,400 22,963 Above SILVER 6G A Yes
    04/27/16 CALIFORN Regular $23,500 23,437 Avg WHITE 6G A Yes
    04/13/16 NJ Lease $20,100 23,561 Below GRAY 6G A Yes
    04/13/16 NJ Regular $22,600 23,604 Avg WHITE 6G Yes
    04/14/16 ATLANTA Lease $19,100 23,861 Below SVSKY 6G A Yes
    04/14/16 PA Lease $22,000 24,142 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes

    MY13 is the tail end of factory warranties as well, so if we look at Oddys in MY11 avg and clean:

    04/25/16 NJ Lease $18,200 46,426 Above BLACK 6G A Yes
    04/22/16 PA Lease $15,800 56,057 Avg CHAMPGNE 6G O Yes
    05/04/16 NASHVILL Regular $14,000 57,577 Avg WHITE 6G A No
    04/12/16 OHIO Regular $18,750 57,864 Above BLUE 6G A Yes
    04/22/16 PA Regular $16,800 59,746 Avg GREY 6G A Yes
    04/07/16 FRDKBURG Regular $18,000 62,063 Above GRAY 6G A Yes

    We’re in MY16 and this was MY11, so five model years in and coming up on Honda timing belts we’re at 50% or less than original sale price… and these are the GOOD minivans with better materials and reliability ratings. Want a glimpse of your future?

    MY09 KIA Sedona EX

    05/04/16 NJ Regular $7,300 63,253 Above BLUE 6G A Yes
    04/26/16 BALTWASH Lease $2,500 101,544 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
    04/14/16 CHICAGO Regular $5,000 101,929 Avg SILVER 6G A Yes
    04/01/16 CALIFORN Lease $2,100 118,508 Avg GRAY 6G A Yes
    04/06/16 MILWAUKE Lease $2,500 118,815 Avg GRAY 6G A Yes
    04/06/16 FT MYERS Regular $3,250 121,256 Avg RED 6G A Yes


    My advice? Look at an MY12 Sienna FWD at a non-Toyota dealer, laugh at their sticker price, and then start by offering what I showed you. Box dealers are trying to use leverage against you to make nice margin because you 1. knocked up someone you weren’t supposed to, 2. have poor planning skills, 3. your car just died, 4. you/your wife lacks critical thinking skills, or 5. they are preying on you/your wife’s emotions (as I suspect is happening in what you describe). Don’t stand for it, you can do better.

    • 0 avatar

      I believe OP means he’s $2500 ahead on his trade, not that his trade is worth $2500 total.

      I decided, long ago, never to walk in anyone’s shadow…and also to never try to talk somebody out of a car that he/she’s decided on.

      • 0 avatar

        I think you’re right Bark, it just wasn’t clear due to the mystery car angle.

        Good advice, I think especially in the case of relatives or close friends. If random n’ear do wells are offended by facts and analysis well its their game to lose so to speak.

    • 0 avatar

      He saying that he will have $2500 in his pocket after selling the car and paying off what he owes on it.

    • 0 avatar


      You’re awesome, and I’m taking what you’ve said in mind. I am not an “emotional” buyer, though I am human and yes, the prospect of another vehicle is always a *little* exciting. That said:

      $2500 as in avg of every trade-in value calculator we can find online less what we owe. (“Equity”, though I hate to use that word as an unproven value applied to a depreciating asset).And I’m not plugging in “OUTSTANDING” or anything like that; I’m sticking with average to clean (according to kbb’s questionnaire, it’s “clean”, but God only knows).

      I dig what you’re saying about the Ody and the Sedona, even if I don’t fully understand some of your data points. These are terrific vehicles, and odds are would be a better long-term companion than the Sedona if I was the kind of guy that cared a ton about residual value. The problem is they don’t match my buying strategy. I’ve owned several Hyundais and they’ve all been bullet proof. For what I’d have to drop on an Ody or Sedona that is on the verge of slipping out of warranty, I can have a Sedona that still has one for the forseeable future. Will it depreciate? Yes, and in a more dramatic fashion than an Ody or a Toyota. But you should understand buying a car before the prior one’s been driven into the ground is a very rare occurrence for me. I can’t forsee a situation where the Sedona doesn’t wind up being sold for pocket change in ten or fifteen years after we’ve driven the wheels off of it. Take my Mazda3, for example. This year it’s going to be a decade old. The last car we sold, two years back, was an Elantra, an 02′ model. Eleven years on the road, as I recall.

      Logically, it makes no sense for a buyer like myself to pony up on the front end and have to deal with higher payments every month, for something I don’t intend to ever sale anyway, or an older vehicle I won’t be able to keep quite as long for the same price I’d drop on the Kia.

      I’m aware of the irony, given that this thread is about having to offload a ‘Nox somewhat unexpectedly, but I just can’t see any situation where the Kia would be traded in over the next few years. And even it’s totaled in a wreck, I can’t see taking an instant 7k hit (vs your example of a 28k Honda or Toyota) that would offset the savings I’d make on payments and insurance every month opting for the Kia. And you said it yourself–all minivans depreciate like stink anyway.

      But I could be completely wrong, of course.

      • 0 avatar

        All minivans are the same after a year of toddler, dog and baby duty. We traded a 12 year old basic Caravan for a new Honda EX-L and honestly, there’s no difference. They both are lousy to drive, because they are minivans. They both are messy and smelly inside because I can’t be bothered to constantly clean them. And they are both safe as long as I keep good brakes and tires on them.

        I think it was Steve Lang who said that the shoes you wear will make a bigger difference in your life than the car you drive. In the case of minivans, I agree.

      • 0 avatar

        I think you are completely correct when it comes to minivans. I cannot see paying $10K+ more upfront because the thing will be worth $2-3K more down the line – it is NEVER going to be worth $10K more in equivalent condition. Even if that worth $2-3K more means it is then worth 2X as much. It’s lying with statistics. And wholly irrelevant if the plan is to drive it into the ground anyway.

        I also think there is some market bias in play. The expensive vans tend to be bought by people like my Mom and my great-aunt, who each owned $40K+ loaded vans for a while. Retired grandparents. They drive them gently and keep them in nice shape. The cheap vans are almost universally kid haulers that get beaten like a rented mule and driven into the ground, and the resale values reflect that.

        As for protecting yourself in a private sale? In the overwhelming majority of states, “as-is” means “as-is”, you bought it, it’s yours. I know MA is a big exception and there are probably others. Notarized Bill of Sale with a liability release, and hopefully laugh all the way to the bank vs. what a dealer will give you for it. It does take some work to sell privately, but it is usually (not always) worth it.

      • 0 avatar

        Thank you. Given your buying strategy I see the logic in your actions, especially if you’re not concerned with resale long down the road (which I generally am). Good luck.

        Btw you never mentioned a model year, but here are some Equinoxes:

        MY11 Chevy Equinox 2Lt FWD I4

        04/14/16 DETROIT Regular $12,800 44,419 Above BLUE 4G A Yes
        04/26/16 DENVER Regular $11,800 57,384 Avg GRAY 4G A Yes
        04/28/16 CHICAGO Regular $13,300 58,405 Above SILVER 4G A Yes
        04/21/16 LOUISVLL Regular $11,900 66,381 Avg RED 4G A Yes
        04/07/16 DETROIT Regular $11,200 71,841 Avg BLACK 4G A Yes
        04/13/16 MILWAUKE Regular $12,100 75,557 Avg WHITE 4G A Yes
        04/29/16 PA Regular $10,000 78,049 Avg BLACK 4G A Yes
        04/22/16 PA Regular $10,300 83,056 Avg MOCHA 4G Yes

        MY11 Chevy Equinox LTZ FWD I4

        04/29/16 NEVADA Regular $14,000 56,423 Above GRAY 4G A Yes
        04/15/16 NEVADA Regular $13,700 70,140 Above BLACK 4G A Yes
        04/13/16 LAKELAND Regular $11,300 89,049 Avg GREY 4G A Yes
        04/06/16 DALLAS Regular $13,800 89,704 Above BLACK 4G A No
        04/06/16 SAN ANTO Lease $9,750 90,247 Avg BLACK 4G A Yes
        04/28/16 CHICAGO Regular $10,750 92,148 Avg BLACK 4G A Yes
        04/14/16 SO CAL Regular $10,250 103,126 Avg BLUE 4G A Yes

        MY11 Chevy Equinox 2LT AWD V6

        05/03/16 OHIO Regular $14,250 30,807 Avg BROWN 6G A Yes
        04/20/16 NJ Lease $15,000 31,917 Avg GRAY 6G A Yes
        04/12/16 OHIO Lease $16,300 40,917 Above SILVER 6G A Yes
        03/24/16 CINCINNA Lease $13,000 75,195 Avg SILVER 6G A Yes
        04/11/16 DENVER Lease $12,800 84,235 Avg GOLD 6G A Yes
        03/31/16 CINCINNA Regular $9,250 123,241 Below WHITE 6G A Yes

        MY11 Chevy Equinox LTZ AWD V6

        04/20/16 MINNEAP Regular $17,500 43,816 Avg GRAY 6G A Yes
        04/29/16 PA Regular $17,400 46,812 Avg SILVER 6G A Yes
        04/12/16 PORTLAND Regular $18,175 48,973 Avg BROWN 6G Yes
        04/28/16 NORTHSTR Regular $16,200 63,140 Avg WHITE 6ET A Yes
        04/13/16 PITTSBGH Regular $15,000 66,817 Avg BROWN 6G A Yes
        04/13/16 NJ Regular $13,600 78,896 Avg BLACK 6G A Yes
        04/13/16 STATESVL Regular $8,400 131,215 Below BLACK 6G A Yes

        • 0 avatar

          Long term resale usually isnt that important if your keeping used cars for 10 years. I’ve never really thought about it as I usually dump cars when they are only worth scrap value

          • 0 avatar

            It does depend on your entry and exit points of ownership, but one thing I noticed is certain makes/models fetch money in nearly any condition. I’d much rather own the Sienna I know I could sell in ten years (in any running condition) for something better than scrap, than the Chryco/KIA/Hyundai minivan I may have to pay someone to take off my hands in the same period.

      • 0 avatar

        Thank you for the continued stats, 28. Are these current listed prices or actual out-the-door “sold at” values?

        I’ve got a 2012 LT1.

        • 0 avatar

          Np. Those are recent wholesale valuations, so they are a decent baseline of actual black book value (the real values, blue book is generally fiction).

  • avatar

    What a nothing answer.

    As someone who worked in the business, I’d like to impart some logical points.

    Always shop at night and at the end of the money on your initial contact about the new vehicle. You’ll see where the day time shopping will come into effect. Shopping at night means the staff wants to go and they’ll likely not give you a good deal anyway. They’ll also likely call you back anyway. Did this for my Mom and saved her thousands by doing the below tasks.

    First, wash, wax, and significantly detail the trade-in vehicle. Clean it better than you would want it cleaned. You’d be surprised how good a trade in can look if you bust butt and spend DAYS detailing it. If you do it yourself, the cost of materials is under $50. If you aren’t going to go all out on the detailing than don’t bother. Lost money.

    Second, either decide to sell your current vehicle or to a dealer. This is important how to progress.

    Third, if you are going to trade it in, do not mention to the dealer that you will be doing a trade in. Stick to negotiating the best price on the new vehicle and then tell the dealer to commit to the best price and to guarantee the price for 24 hours. Tell the dealer you need to think on this vehicle and will return the following day. Make sure you test drive the vehicle and come back during the day so you can start to devalue the new car – any blemishes, etc just like the dealer will do to your trade in.

    Fourth, on the day back, drive your DETAILED trade in to the dealer and blame your wife (or husband) on changing your mind on the trade in. Hopefully you have an idea from shopping your trade in around what a deal you should be getting.

    Fifth – a trade in allowance is not the same thing as what you’ll get for the trade in. Dealers inflate the “allowance” and give you less of a deal on the new car – that is why you separate the transactions. Overall if you separate these transactions you should get a better deal. And if the dealer balks, walk. Chances are they’ll call you back.

    • 0 avatar

      This would have been excellent advice in 2005.

      • 0 avatar


      • 0 avatar

        Too funny and true. In my recent efforts to trade my 328xi, detailing had no effect. The fact that it had had no mechanical issues and nearly new tires and brakes had no effect. Almost every one of them wanted to wholesale it and graded it as “crap” in assessing their number. Short of having the wholesaler look it over, they wouldn’t risk that he/she wouldn’t give it the worst condition grade so that’s what they offered.

        Only variation was an independent Volvo place where the owner called a BMW focused friend and a Toyota place that wanted to sell me a wildly overpriced 4Runner SR5 Premium they listed as a Limited.

        • 0 avatar

          Ugh, I hate wrong listings (whether through ignorance or deceptive intent). When we thought we wanted a RXh, I was looking for one with the relatively rare Luxury Package. At least two-thirds of the listings that claimed that package obviously didn’t have it when you looked at the pictures.

      • 0 avatar
        Steve Lynch

        Bark is right, the “Consumer Reports says I should lie to the dealer about my trade” strategy is likely to backfire nowadays.

      • 0 avatar

        The guy was right. That was a pretty lightweight answer. Sounds like you’re still smarting from that. And his advice was mostly right. I also bought/sold vehicles for profit at one time. How old are you? What’s your resume’ in the business?

    • 0 avatar

      Spending DAYS detailing a car followed by a further multi-day multi-trip buying process seems like false economy.

      My free time is worth a lot to me and I’d rather not use it driving back and forth to car dealerships several times or pulling dust out of AC vents with a Q-tip.

      I’m skeptical that this approach will save enough money on typical car purchases to make it worthwhile.

      • 0 avatar

        You should be.

      • 0 avatar

        Yep. Last four cars I’ve traded or sold to dealers, the process for the dealer went something like this:

        Look around inside and out. Confirm either “no damage” or “no damage beyond that already disclosed” as appropriate. Condition matters but cleanliness or super-shininess doesn’t at all. Come back with an offer $500-$1000 lower than reasonable based on some stupid reason. After rejection of initial offer, offer a reasonable price.

        It’s good to have the cars empty and fundamentally clean, but an exquisite detail would have been an utter waste of time.

      • 0 avatar

        Why would you be driving back and forth? E-mail is the answer. I will make an appointment with the dealer, go in, tell them what I want. Then all negotiation is via e-mail, maybe a phone call or two. I spent a total of about an hour at the dealership for my most recent purchase for ordering, signing papers, and delivery. If they won’t play, some other dealer will. Once I have a price, they can then make me an offer on my trade (which I will most likely refuse).

        I somewhat disagree about the detailing though – while I certainly did not put a ridiculous amount of time into it, the fact that my Abarth was immaculate was likely at least part of the reason CarMax gave me a very nice offer for it. Literally all they had to do was take my plates off and put it on their front line – it was cleaner than anything else we looked at on their lot. But I am a single dude with no kids, ALL of my cars are pretty immaculate all the time. A kid hauler would need a lot more work typically. I do think that the car being tip-top is important for private sale.

      • 0 avatar

        Excessive detailing is a waste of time and money. A dealer doesn’t care because the car is worth what it is worth. This is what they do everyday all day for a living and they aren’t fooled/impressed by some wax and tire shine. So long as there is no obvious damage or condition issues a well detailed car won’t gain you any more $$ on trade-in. This is especially true for an older car that a dealer is planning on sending to auction. A car the dealer keeps will be detailed before sale anyway so it gains you nothing.

        • 0 avatar

          I completely agree. A cheap automated wash is sufficient but reconditioning the car for them is overkill. The only exception I can think of is if you are dealing with a very small shop (like a one man operation) who might kick a little but more esp if he planned to keep your trade on his lot.

        • 0 avatar

          Detailing is great if you’re selling privately. It can be worth $500-1000 or selling it in a weekend versus selling it in a month. For a trade-in though? You’re getting wholesale, so no reason to put any actual effort into it besides a $30 wash and vacuum that someone else does at most.

        • 0 avatar

          No, it won’t be detailed by the dealer if it’s already done. I agree it doesn’t have to be perfect, but a half day in the driveway and garage will suffice. The vast majority of punters coming here for advice are borrowing money to buy cars. This means they don’t make, per hour, what they’ll save by doing it themselves, especially considering your labor is tax free, whereas your cash paid to a detailer is not. Clean cared for cars imply things that sloppy dirty cars with months of brake dust don’t. It could mean several hundred dollars. Not many payment buyers make $100/hour after taxes.

  • avatar

    I don’t get the point of asking for advice, while failing to be specific enough to let Bark actually give some useful advice. A GM product with 55K miles could be anything from an Equinox LS to an Escalade…..I’m surprised Bark didn’t call him out on that.

    • 0 avatar

      Agree, it sounded mysterious almost. Year, make, model, trim line, options, mileage, color, condition. Spit it out if you want a price!

      I have seen luxury cars vary by $2,000 because one had an orangy interior vs the standard black or tan. Or it was pastel blue.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    I don’t know if this helps, but the formula I used to buy and sell off lease Ford and Gm cars coming off a business lease with a maintenance program was as follows.
    Purchase price at end of 30 month lease (<50k miles): 33% of MRSP
    Selling price of 60 month old ex lease car now around 70k miles: 25% MRSP

    In 30 months, rinse and repeat. Win win for me and the buyer. I suspect that cars like this are now sold CPO at stupid high prices through a dealership.

    • 0 avatar

      67% depreciation in 2.5 years??

      Come on chief, not gonna happen.

      • 0 avatar

        Sure it does. A standard wholesale lease number for open ended mileage is 2.5% per month, minimum 2.0%. Add in your money cost based on the residual and the sales price and you’re easily at 75%, and reasonably so. This is standard practice for business leases with all the attendant deductions. Not for a payment buyer lease on a popular model, which limits the mileage severely and blasts the residual to an unrealistic retail number. Voodoo for the books.

    • 0 avatar

      This is a cheap way to drive if you absolutely, completely, don’t care about cars. You will end up spending your entire driving life in things like fleet-configuration W-Impalas and 2.5 Fusions.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Mmmmm…. 2.5 Fusion. All the hints of a great car undermined by the dowdiness of plastic wheel covers, stripped-down interior appointments, and a super unexciting powertrain. You know a good car is under there but you just didn’t spend quite enough to get it!

        What’s not to like?

      • 0 avatar

        Life is WAAAAAY too short. Get to drive plenty of that crap as rentals.

        I have no complaints about depreciation on my ’11 328! wagon. Paid $39K for it coming up on five years ago, per my agreed value insurance it will be worth $27K come renewal time 6/31 with about 40K on it. I would expect AT LEAST that much private sale as well, given the sought after unicorn spec of RWD and 6spd stick. Trade-in? Who cares? I’d never trade it.

        $14K well spent, IMHO.

        I really don’t see the value in nearly-new cars. You lose the best years of a cars life, you have to settle for what you can find, and you have less negotiating leverage since each one is unique. Buy new, or buy really used.

        • 0 avatar

          Nearly new can be a good deal on unloved models. Chrysler 200 Nissan quest and Lincolns are often great values in the lightly used market Camry accord 4runner not so much

          • 0 avatar

            But the unloved cars are equally great deals new as well. I still say the discount isn’t enough to settle for sloppy seconds.

            My $5500 Range Rover was a GREAT deal compared to the $80K someone paid for it 12 years earlier. A 2yo Chrysler 200 for only a few grand less than you can get a deeply discounted new one for, not so much. Sure, compared to MSRP it looks like a great deal, but the MSRP is fantasy.

        • 0 avatar

          Good point. It depends a lot on the specific brand and model. Your wagon wouldn’t be a good value to a used buyer at 2 years, unless he could drive a good bargain. But being rare as hen’s teeth, the dealer would know this and push for top dollar (at a BMW lot, at least). Newer versions of the 3 series wagon, for some reason, were, this winter, selling at steep discounts vs new for 1 year old models (about $8,000 off what a new one goes for in the real world). Generally, the more a vehicle depreciates, the better value it is as a “nearly new” purchase. Don’t buy a 2 year old pickup truck, for example, because it will be nearly as much as a new one at the right time of year when discounts are huge.

  • avatar

    Great advice Bark.
    See what a comparable vehicle to your trade in is advertised in your local market, deduct a reasonable gross profit(8-10%), and deduct whatever deficiencies need to be corrected on your vehicle. At that point you have a a good approximation of what your trade in is worth.

    Kia Sedona’s are they popular in your market? As Bark mentions it probably takes a long time for a used Sedona to sell. Used vehicles are “market priced” from the outset, and most if not all dealers do not “double discount” if they are asking 21K will they come down to 20 or 19K.

    If you conclude that your GM product is worth 10K as an example, and the Sedona should sell for 19K, offer the dealer 8K difference as a starting point. On your first round of negotiations, wait for the dealer’s counter. By the second round of you are either prepared to close the deal at your target amount or walk.

    Most folks have a low tolerance for negotiations after the second round, it becomes increasingly adversarial, unpleasant, and time consuming.

    The 4 square is to quickly find what component of a deal, selling price, trade value, monthly payment, to name a few become “your moment of truth” to close a deal. Although if you have done your due diligence, you have also done your own 4 square.

    Most folks don’t get off a bus in front of a dealer, they drive in with a vehicle, negotiating a price on what the dealer is selling, and then mentioning that you will trade what you drove in with. You have just placed yourself at a disadvantage, and just like you are low balling, you will get low balled on the trade, and perhaps even motivate the dealer to “walk you”.

  • avatar

    Long time lurker finally registered to comment!

    As someone who currently works in a dealership, let me tell you how to get the best deal on a vehicle.

    First, and most important. Treat your salesperson nice. They know you don’t want to be there and want you to be happy. If you’re nice to us, it’s a lot easier to be nice right back and have a fun time. Guess what? When you’re nice we will really fight with our sales manager to get you a great buy.

    Second, if above isn’t possible, tell your salesperson you’re in the market but not looking to make a decision until the end of the week because your looking at such and such competitor car. Politely ask for a price on JUST the car. (No one will waste their time on a trade in at this point). The sales manager will then “Low Ball” you to try and get you in. If that number is appealing, now you can work the trade in, and possibly make the deal that day.

    More with what is at hand here, I am guessing this guy has a Tahoe. Suburbans with that mileage are retailing 35+ so I will guess a Tahoe will be a little less. This may be a fully loaded Equinox/Terrain which could catch some coin if VERY clean and the market in the area demands it. NEVER use Kelley. Always use NADA CLEAN retail. Dealers use a tool called VAuto to see what the cars are fetching at auction within X miles. That is how we get our trade values and usually have some room to work with there if the car is exceptional. They also might call a couple of wholesalers to get more money to make the deal.

    The bad part about the car being purchased… There is not a lot of markup. Typical markup is 1000-1500. 2000 Being rare. The internet is why. Dealers price their most compelling price on the internet to get you in the door. My dealer, we are very aggressive so I know that when you’re sitting in my office, it’s very likely because I had the best price. When you’re NICE I do everything I can do get you over $500 off, leaving us with very little pie.

    Don’t talk him out of the Sedona. Kias are a great value – you get a lot for the money, and a great warranty (even as a second owner).

    Just don’t forget – be ready to walk.

  • avatar

    My approach would be to get that floor price from Carmax, then at least make an attempt to sell it privately while you are negotiating with dealers. To date, I have NEVER had a dealer offer me a trade-in price that I could live with. My last two examples being $12K for an ’08 Saab 9-3SC that I sold privately for $17.5K, and $11K for a ’13 Abarth that Carmax gave me $14K for. Those were on new car purchases, maybe they could do better on used. But on the other hand if you get a great trade-in you probably paid too much for the new-to-you car.

    Best to keep the two transactions separate, though do keep the sales tax implications in mind, and the carrying costs. For example, had I not sold my Abarth to CarMax the day I did (the very last day the reg was valid), I would have had to spend $500+ registering it for another year, only some of which I could have rolled forward to the next car. And insurance, of course.

    • 0 avatar

      Some dealers do not like to trade for cars outside of their brand, or perhaps certain other brands. They will have to wholesale your car and so you get far less than you might elsewhere. Often, they don’t really even know what they have on their hands.

      Was offered $25K by Infiniti on a low mile rare R design Volvo XC60 that fetched $29K at the Volvo lot, because they knew they could move it fast (new ones were over $50K MSRP). Sure enough, it was gone in a week, priced at (no haggle) $32,000. They made more on the trade than the new car they sold us and we got a better price than any non-volvo dealer could offer. Selling ourselves we would have got maybe $2K more but the tax advantages offset most of that.

  • avatar

    Hooray! Thank you, Bark, for taking my message and answering it. Thou art a wise and learned man, verily. I feel slightly more important than I did when I woke up this morning. The wife will fix that! :)

    I’m the op in this case. I’ve been reading the advice in this thread and felt compelled to slap on some deets, in case they’re valuable.

    1) Since everyone practically guessed it–yeah, it’s a Nox. Mid-trim, decent added features. We owe less than 10k on it and the trade-in estimates run from around 12200-12900. Following the advice of a buddy of mine who’s been in sales for years, and who swears that kbb always runs high and Edmunds low, I averaged the two trade-in values.

    This is where I came up with the figure of basically being +2500 in the value of the vehicle less what we owe, i.e. we’re in good shape. This is because…

    2) I always negotiate based on total vehicle cost. I’m the kind of guy that looks up TVAT values and that sort of thing ahead of time. I don’t like any unknowns when I go into the dealership. I always have my financing in place through my credit union, local comps dug up as well but…

    3) Dealing with a trade-in is something I’ve literally never had to do. Hence my humble plead for Bark’s advice and that of the board as well.

    4) I always detail my cars by hand before I sell them to anyone (in the past I’ve sold cars private party, just never traded one in). The Nox hasn’t had an obsessive clean, but when I visit the dealers she’s going to look sharp and my (admittedly limited; we haven’t owned this car long) maintenance records will be in hand.

    I like the idea of selling the car to a private party instead, but I’m concerned about the best way to protect myself if I do that. In the past I’ve sold old cars to family members I was done with. These were people I could trust. Joe Blow off the street? Hmmmm….

    Have I read Bark’s advice right? He’s basically saying go through Car Max for the whole deal? Or just as a starting point to get a grounded figure for the low end of trade-in value?

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