|Copyright (c) 2005, Dow Jones & Company Inc.
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Make sure you get the best price for your old car when you trade
it in for a new one.
Many people get less than they could have for a used vehicle
because its value is wrapped into the purchase price of the next
auto. An attractive offer from the dealer for your old car, for
instance, may just be a discount toward a new auto that you could
have received without a trade-in.
If you negotiate the transactions separately, however, you have a
better idea of how much you're getting for the trade-in and can
usually haggle a lower price on the next car, says Tony
Langenderfer, an auto-buying consultant in Sarasota, Fla.
Mr. Langenderfer suggests bringing the old car to at least three
dealers and asking what they'd pay for the vehicle on its own
without trading it in on a new one. They'll usually inspect it and
give you an offer. It's usually best not to disclose what you think
the auto is worth, unless they drastically undercut your estimate.
Web sites such as Edmunds.com and Kelley Blue Book (www.kbb.com) can
give you an idea of the trade-in value of used autos based on age,
mileage, condition, etc.
Keep in mind: Most states only charge sales tax on the difference
between the trade-in value and the new auto price. So there's often
good reason to use the same dealer for both the trade-in and the new
auto. But be careful mentioning you will be buying a new auto until
you've sealed the deal on the trade-in, Mr. Langenderfer says.
Make sure to take the trade-in to dealers most likely to be
interested in it, says Phil Reed, consumer advice editor for
Edmunds.com. You're usually better off taking the car to a
dealership that specializes in that particular brand.