Tips and Ideas
Trade In or Sell... What to do with your car
When it's time for a new vehicle, what do you do with your old one? Post it on Craigslist? Trade it in at the dealer? Sell it to a friend? Here is some helpful advice.
Trading in is about convenience-there are no advertisements to place, no test drives to arrange, and no legal battles to fight if your recently-sold car breaks down. The dealer assesses the condition of your car, its age, and other factors and determines its trade-in value which is generally a little lower than the amount you could sell the car for yourself in a private-party sale. However, by trading in you avoid significant headaches. You save time, effort and potential post-sale problems.
As Donna Reichle of the NADA explained, "If you sell your car yourself you are basically making yourself available to the buyer. When you trade in your car to a dealer you absolve yourself of liability."
Trading-in may also offer a tax advantage if you are buying a vehicle at the same time. In most states outside of California, when your car is taken in trade you only pay sales tax on the difference in cost between its trade-in value and the price of the new car. For example, if a dealer gives you $10,000 on your trade-in and the purchase price of the car you are buying is $25,000, you'll only be required to pay sales tax on the $15,000 difference between the two amounts.
This benefit can help narrow the difference between trade-in value and private party price.
Selling a car on your own usually means that you will get top dollar, and it may be your only option if you are buying your next vehicle through a private-party sale. But be aware of the work involved! Preparing your vehicle for sale will take time, and depending on its condition may also cost you some money.
Honestly assess the car's needs, and then decide how much you want to spend on minor repairs, always remembering the liability involved with a private-party sale.
Be sure to fix things well enough to avoid running into possible legal troubles farther down the road. Remember to always disclose major repairs and any past accidents to potential buyers.
Blades – If you've ever tried to scrape frost from your windshield by dousing it with washer fluid and running the wipers excessively, you know worn wipers can't clear your view. Driving through a snowstorm with frosty buildup eroding your visibility is a horrible feeling. Avoid it by replacing your wiper blades before the weather becomes nasty.
Battery – Mopar advises the extreme heat of the summer months can reduce battery life, resulting in batteries that then fail in high-demand winter months. AC Delco tells consumers to watch for corrosion on cables and posts and seek help from a professional if these contact points require cleaning.
Brakes – Before winter has you sliding your way through intersections, have your brakes checked and replace the pads as needed.
Belts and hoses – These will leave you stranded if they snap or leak. Look for thinning or cracking in belts and check all hoses for imperfections, too.
Tires – Changing temperatures can alter tire pressure. Make sure all tires are filled to their recommended tire pressure. Also check for tread wear. Tires play a huge role in how well your car handles in sloppy winter driving conditions.
Shocks and Struts – Mopar says shocks and struts are the most overlooked parts on a car but argue that this should not be the case. While not a factor in most winter-driving calamities, shocks and struts do improve vehicle handling, extend tire life and improve ride control and comfort for the driver.
Oil and other fluids – Top off all fluids that have run low. Windshield washer fluid is used frequently in winter driving, so keep a gallon in your trunk to ensure you will always have a clear view of the road. Check the oil, and change it if the time is right.
Air filters – Mopar includes these on their fall inspection list. A dirty air filter is not generally going to cause your car to break down, but while you're checking everything else, have it inspected too.
Headlamps and tail lamps – So you've completed a complete prewinter inspection of your car, but the guy behind you probably didn't. Check your lights to make sure you are as visible as possible to other drivers.
This may seem like a lot, but many items on this list can be handled quickly and easily. If inspecting your ride is not your cup of hot cocoa, watch for dealerships and other shops to offer deals on fall car care in the weeks ahead. Once your car is prepared, you will be a more confident driver. Too bad there isn't a list on how to prepare ourselves for winter's wretched wickedness.
Vehicle Maintenance Tips... Get there and be safe!