Selling Your Car to a Dealership

If you’re hesitant about selling your car to a dealership, know that there are only two other options available to you:

  • Slap a FOR SALE sign in the back window and pray that a miracle happens
  • Post your whip on Kijiji and prepare for the onslaught of liars, hagglers, and tire kickers

Selling your vehicle this way can be extremely frustrating. You can spend months waiting on the “right price” only to settle for something you could have gotten on day one. Your buyer might have trouble securing the money they need, which means you’re left waiting in limbo while they figure things out. You’re competing with hundreds, if not thousands, of other private listings, so your red 2015 Honda Civic doesn’t stand out quite like you want it to.

Selling privately sounds great, in theory. In reality, it’s a long, exhausting process that is often more trouble than its worth.

The best way to get a sale done quickly for the price you need is to sell your car to a dealership. In the next five minutes we’re going to provide you with all the information you need to find the right dealership, prepare your vehicle so you get the best price possible, and maximize the trade-in process.

So let’s get started!

The Advantages of Selling Your Car to a Dealer

We just told you some of the negatives of selling your vehicle privately. Now, we’ll go over some of the reasons why selling your car to a dealer is the better option.

  1. It’s Simple, Fast, and Convenient
    Selling privately can take weeks, if not months. Selling to a car dealership (or a dealer partner like Go Auto) is guaranteed to save you both time and effort. Going through a dealership means you get to avoid advertising your car, responding to inquiries, meeting with potential buyers, weeding out the sketchy weirdos, completing the deal, and transferring ownership. When you trade your vehicle in at a dealership, the whole process lasts a day or two, at most. In some instances, it can take hours.
  2. You Only Deal with One Person
    When you sell privately, you handle the transaction from start to finish. The entire transaction. When you sell to a dealership, all you have to do is make contact, agree on terms, then show up with your vehicle to sell. At the right dealership, it can be that easy.
  3. Your Loan is Smaller and You Pay Less in Taxes
    If you happen to own your car outright (meaning, you’re not making payments on it anymore), then you can take your trade-in price and apply it to the cost of a new vehicle. This does two things: it lessens the amount you’ll have to take out for financing, and it lessens the amount of tax that you have to pay on the new vehicle. Let’s say you got $5500 for your trade-in vehicle from a dealership and wanted to buy a new car that cost $27,500. Thanks to your trade-in, your loan will only be $22,000 and you’ll only pay taxes on $22,000 instead of $27,500. By selling your car to a dealer, you’re avoiding the pitfalls of selling privately and gaining the advantages of selling to a dealership. In other words, you skip the headaches and enjoy the benefits.

How to Sell Your Car to a Dealership

Once you’ve decided to sell your car to a dealership, there are a few things you can do to make the process as easy as possible. This process will also maximize the amount of money you can get for your vehicle.

So if you’d like to get the most money out of the transaction, pay attention to these 6 Easy Steps.

Step 1: Figure Out Your Car’s Value

Before selling your car to a dealer, the first thing you need to do is figure out what the rough value of your vehicle is. It’s pretty hard to negotiate without it, right? With the right information, you’ll be able to set realistic expectations and know when you’re getting the deal you want.

So do your research before you ever talk to a dealership. Visit Kelley Blue Book, the internet’s most trusted source for up-to-date car evaluations. Put in the make, model, and year of your vehicle, and that site will tell you what he average going rate for that vehicle is.

But know this: it’s an estimate. If your vehicle has any physical defects, parts that need replacing, or stains that need cleaning, then you can expect to get a slightly different offer than what Kelley Blue Book gives you. So take the KBB number as a good place to start, and go from there.

Step 2: Fix Up Your Car

This is your chance to make any cosmetic changes you can. Pop out your dents, fix your windshield, clean your seats, shampoo the carpets, and this might seem simple (but it works) … take your car through a car wash. Every little bit counts, and the nicer your vehicle looks upon first glance, the higher your trade-in value is going to be at the dealership. The less work they have to do, the more they can offer you.

Simple repairs and fixes can add significant value to your trade-in.

Step 3: Sell it to a Dealership Network

Conventional wisdom says that you should shop around to find your best price, and this is great advice. The more the merrier. The only problem with this strategy is that it takes an awful lot of time. Not only do you have to research dealerships, but you have to drive all over the city to let them assess your vehicle. If you have hours and hours to spend on this process, be our guest, but there’s a simpler, more elegant solution that will take you almost no time at all.

Sell your vehicle to a dealership network. We’ll be honest here: we are one of them. Go Auto works with more than 40 dealerships every single day, and we have a staff of personal shoppers who can do the legwork for you.

We can arrange for a vehicle appraisal at a store near you, and then take that information to 40 other dealerships on your behalf. If we can get you a better trade-in price anywhere, we’ll find it for you. Meanwhile, you’ve been relaxing the whole time.

Figure Out What You’d Like to Buy … or Not

If you’re selling your vehicle to a dealer, that usually means you’re trading it in for a new vehicle. If that’s the case, you’ll need to know what you’d like to trade your vehicle for. Do your research beforehand to see what you’d like to buy in order to make the trade-in process that much smoother.

That being said…

At Go Auto we buy vehicles as non-trade-ins all the time. We’ll buy your vehicle with cash, and you aren’t obligated to purchase anything else. Often, we complete these cash deals in a matter of hours.

Get Your Vehicle Appraised by the Dealership

We can’t speak for what other dealerships do, but at Go Auto, we only deal with stores that use the following appraisal process. This way, we ensure that our customers are taken care of in a simple, efficient manner.

  • Once the appraisal is booked, our trained professionals will do a 140-point inspection to give you the most accurate evaluation possible.
  • Once we have appraised your vehicle, our appraisers will present you with an offer to purchase your vehicle on the spot (before you leave the dealership).
  • We’ll extend the offer for several days, and you’re under no obligation to accept it. Remember, you don’t have to buy something from us, either!

If you want to stick around at the dealership during this process, you’re more than welcome to. If you’d like to leave and come back, that’s an option as well. Whatever you’d like, we can accommodate you.

How We Assign Value to Your Vehicle

The appraisers at our affiliate dealerships inspect every part of your car, truck, van, or SUV in order to give you fair value for your trade-in. We assess your ride’s physical condition based on the following:

  • Exterior and Interior Condition
  • Aftermarket Modifications
  • Mechanical Issues (Determined by a Test Drive)
  • Year and Mileage of Your Vehicle

They will then take this information and pop it into our exclusive optimization system. That’s right, there are no guessing games here. We’ve done this so many times we’ve worked out a formula for it. This system then takes into account a few other factors:

  • Maintenance history of your vehicle
  • Technical bulletins regarding your vehicle
  • Current market conditions (sales trends and auction data)

When this is all done, we present you with a no-obligation offer. Take it or leave it, the power is in your hands!

Close the Deal, Make the Trade

If you own your vehicle (meaning, if you’re not making payments anymore), then trading in your car with Go Auto is pretty easy. We simply take the trade-in value from your new car price. Whatever’s left, that’s what you pay, either in cash or through financing.

If you happen to be downsizing your vehicle and your trade-in value is actually more than the value of the new car you’re buying, then the dealership will just cut you a cheque for the extra amount. Let’s use an example here: You don’t want to drive your truck anymore and you trade in your 2016 Ram, valued at $41,000. You want to buy a 2018 Honda CR-V, valued at $36,000. You’ll actually make $5000 on the deal (because your trade-in is worth $5000 more than your new vehicle).

If you still owe money on your vehicle, the process is a bit more complicated. But don’t worry, it’s not a big deal. We literally do hundreds of these every single day.

If your trade-in value is more than what you owe, then we’ll cut you a cheque for the extra cash or put it towards a new vehicle. But if you’re upside down on your loan (meaning you owe more than your tradein is actually worth), then the difference will be added to the cost of your new vehicle. Again, let’s use an example: If your 2016 Ram truck is valued at $41,000 but you still owe $45,000 on it, then the extra $4000 you still owe after your trade-in will be added to the cost of the new Honda CR-V you want to buy. So instead of paying $36,000 for it, you’ll pay $40,000.

Still Need Help Selling Your Car to a Dealer?

That might have been a lot of information to take in. If you’d like a helping hand, who can walk you through the process (for free), our trade-in experts are always available.

Our trade-in experts can help:

  • Find the value of your vehicle
  • Suggest ways you can improve your trade-in value
  • Shop around at dealerships in your area to find you the best appraisal price
  • Compare new vehicles to help you choose what you’d like to drive next
  • Pre-approve you for financing (if you need it)
  • Book your appointments
  • Pretty everything you need, from start to finish!

Not only do we buy vehicles as trade-ins, but we buy them outright, too. Even if you’re not looking to buy something new, we can still help. We set aside $10,000,000 every month so that we can buy vehicles just like yours, so we’re ready and willing to pay you top dollar for it.

Click here to sell your car to a dealership.