Deciding to get a new car is tough. You have to research several cars to narrow it down, then find a car, then go through the buying process. If that doesn’t make it hard enough, you also have to finance it and decide what to do with your old vehicle. Should you trade in your car or sell it first? That decision should be made depending on many things.

Why Is A Trade-In Less?

Trading in your car is definitely simple. But a chief complaint is you will not always get a high price for it. There are excellent reasons for this. Here at Luxury Auto Works, our pre-owned cars have to go through an extreme process to be put on the lot. If cars were people, we would be the Olympic qualifiers.

When we purchase a car for trade in, it goes through a full inspection. Fluids are replaced, worn and damaged parts are replaced, and a complete safety process is conducted. Cars are detailed top to bottom and inspected for damage and repaired when possible. Sometimes significant problems are discovered, and we have to scrap the car or sell it at an auction for a loss of thousands. Factor in the labor, materials, and being able to make a reasonable profit to keep the lights on and people employed, that mark up is not near what many think.

Factors That Can Boost Trade-In Value

All vehicles are not treated the same, of course. If you bring us a car that is three years old or less, full-service records, no accidents, freshly cleaned and it is an in-demand vehicle, we can likely offer you close to what you would be able to get selling privately without the hassle.

Another factor is to keep in mind what the dealer’s specialty is. We are always interested in a BMW, Mercedes, Audi or Range Rover with 12,000 miles on it that will move fast. If you have an older vehicle but in good shape, you may do better at Carmax and then bring your money here for a down payment.

However, if you are towing in your 2000 Honda Civic you bought used in high school, it is unlikely to be sold anywhere and will have to be scrapped, so you may only get $100 even if it blue books for $1000.


A consideration often overlooked if the tax difference. When you trade in a vehicle, you do not pay a fee on the difference. For example, if you buy a $20,000 BMW or Mercedes, but you get $10,000 on a trade-in, you only pay taxes on a $10,000 car rather than full price. That can save you hundreds in charges, so if your concern is the hassle of potentially making an extra $1000, remember, when you sell privately, you then have to pay tax on the income, as well as the full price of the car tax, this can quickly come to well over $1000!


Remember, in most cases, we take a trade-in as a convenience to you. Most of the cars people trade in we cannot sell, so we aren’t doing this to make top dollar, neither do most dealers. The convenience of driving in and driving out in your car in a few hours is a huge benefit to our busy customers. You do not need to feel obligated to trade in with private party or us. The decision is ultimately yours and what works best for you and your needs.

If you are thinking of selling your car to buy a new one, remember, you can always call any of our locations and just ask. We will be more than happy to tell you if you have an in-demand car we can work with or if you may be better off with other options.