Get the most money for your used vehicle - CBS46 News

Get the most money for your used vehicle

Posted: Updated:

If you're ready to trade in your car for a newer model, you may be tempted to take it to the dealership for an appraisal.

WEB EXTRA: Car dealer shows us what they look for during an appraisal.

"It's easy. You bring it in, they look it over. You think it's worth $6,000, they give you maybe $3,000 for it. You're like, 'oh that's crazy,' but then it's done with," said Consumer Reports car specialist Mike Quincy.

Quincy said you're likely to get more money if you sell the car yourself.

"You're probably going to get closer to a retail price, closer to say your $6,000 target. The thing is, you have to take out the ads, you have to meet with people, it takes more of your time," he said.

If you do decide to go it alone, you have to do your research.

"There's a lot of online websites, KBB, Edmunds, Kelly Blue Book, are going to give you an estimate about how much your used car is worth," Quincy said.

The biggest mistake people make is not researching what their car is worth in their local market.

"You need to know what similar cars in your area are selling for and you can go to various websites and look at newspaper ads and classifieds," Quincy said.

Have the car detailed inside and out, and have all receipts for maintenance work and repairs ready to inspect. It's also helpful to have the VIN ready in case buyers want to pay for an online report.

If a dealer trade is more convenient, you should still know the fair value of your car before an appraisal. And keep in mind, the appraiser will deduct money for repairs.

"We're all human, we all buy with emotions - even the appraisers do, so when the car's a little bit cleaner, looks better, then the chances are, they get a little bit more money for the vehicle," said Drew Tutton, general manager at Ed Voyles Automotive Group.

But don't waste money on major repairs. It's often cheaper for the dealer to replace the brakes or repair a scratch than it will be for you.

You may also consider taking the vehicle to several dealerships to get a feel for the market, but be selective.

"I would really take a look at how many pre-owned cars they sell, because the more experience that department has with the different models, the more likely they are to put the right value on the vehicle as you're trading it," said Tutton.

Tutton also said the vehicle that will net you the most money on trade-in is the Jeep Wrangler.

"You can look at many that sold at one price new, came back in on trade a year or two later and be real close to the same value. And when I say real close, I mean within $1,000 or $2,000 of what they actually paid for it new."

Copyright 2014 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.