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Old 10-06-2009, 08:57 PM   #1
Mojoed
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Default How closely does the average car dealer check out a car before accepting it as trade?

I've only traded in one car, ever.

It was a 1988 Mitsubishi Montero in horrible shape mechanically. Blowing blue smoke, barely drove, etc. I ended up getting full trade-in value for it. They didn't even go out to look at it. The Montero ended up sitting in the back of the lot for months.

Anyway, is this normal? Or do most dealers check out the car first before taking it as trade?

Interested in hearing your trade-in stories please.

More info for those IMing me:

I'm looking to sell my 1996 Subaru Outback. I fixed all issues except for two. P0740 and P0743 to be exact - solenoid clutch issue and torque converter. The funny thing is, it drives/shifts perfectly. I drive about 100 miles a day on this thing, and make trips to Boston (750 miles each way) about every 3 weeks. My mechanic told me a complete rebuild would cost $1800 and that may not even fix it, (sigh) as it could be electrical as the car sat for 6 years with no use before it was cleaned/restored.

I'm very up-front and honest with everyone who's been interested so far. I tell them about the codes and unfortunately it has scared everyone away. Hell, it would scare me away too. I even replaced the missing "AT Transmission" dash light the previous owner removed. But since it shows no bad symptoms, again, it drives perfectly. I was hoping it would sell anyway.

I wouldn't feel so bad trading it in to a dealer tight-lipped though, as I know they'd still make money anyway on the sale, and trade-in once they fixed it. I know it's still wrong to do this, but tell me, would you do the same thing? Honestly?
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Old 10-06-2009, 09:00 PM   #2
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Default How closely does the average car dealer check out a car before accepting it as trade?

depends, if its a clunker, and they probably knew yours was, and the TIV was low enough, then so be it...
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Old 10-06-2009, 09:03 PM   #3
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Default How closely does the average car dealer check out a car before accepting it as trade?

Depends on the dealership.

I've worked at 2, 1 I was a mechanic at a large Ford dealership so no experience with sales at all.

The other, a smaller independent one, the mechanic will check it out and then as the most knowledgeable salesman, I would check it out and not any issues also.

My friend traded a car in at Carmax once, they did a quick check but I don't think it was very through, he got way more than he hoped for on a 93 Miata that wouldn't pass safety inspection (lighting issues), was in a accident before and wasn't repaired very well and was resprayed and wasn't done very well either (Yellow to red color change). Honestly, the Miata would have made a good race car, but not worth much as a resale, but they still gave him something like $2.5k for it, which I personally think was way more than its worth (I had worked and checked on it earlier, not very good shape, decently high mileage [~130k IIRC] and would have cost quite a bit to repair). It had a wiring issue, needed a new airbag and probably some body work to look and run well.
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Old 10-06-2009, 09:07 PM   #4
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Default How closely does the average car dealer check out a car before accepting it as trade?

Quote:
Originally posted by: Mojoed
I've only traded in one car, ever.

It was a 1988 Mitsubishi Montero in horrible shape mechanically. Blowing blue smoke, barely drove, etc. I ended up getting full trade-in value for it. They didn't even go out to look at it. The Montero ended up sitting in the back of the lot for months.

Anyway, is this normal? Or do most dealers check out the car first before taking it as trade?

Interested in hearing your trade-in stories please.
They made their money on whatever they sold you. Trades typically just muddy the waters on what they can work as far as profit...and it's all about profit.

Only time I've ever dealt with a trade I had a price and car already negotiated with the internet fleet manager. I told them what I was willing to take on my trade and didn't budge...they did.
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Old 10-06-2009, 09:10 PM   #5
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Default How closely does the average car dealer check out a car before accepting it as trade?

Quote:
Originally posted by: JulesMaximus
Quote:
Originally posted by: Mojoed
I've only traded in one car, ever.

It was a 1988 Mitsubishi Montero in horrible shape mechanically. Blowing blue smoke, barely drove, etc. I ended up getting full trade-in value for it. They didn't even go out to look at it. The Montero ended up sitting in the back of the lot for months.

Anyway, is this normal? Or do most dealers check out the car first before taking it as trade?

Interested in hearing your trade-in stories please.
They made their money on whatever they sold you.
I'm sure they did, but I felt I got a decent deal on the car I bought. It was a 1993 Accord I bought in 1995. Don't remember exactly what I paid, but it was around $1500ish less than what they were asking.
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Old 10-06-2009, 09:23 PM   #6
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Default How closely does the average car dealer check out a car before accepting it as trade?

Quote:
Originally posted by: mwmorph
Depends on the dealership.

I've worked at 2, 1 I was a mechanic at a large Ford dealership so no experience with sales at all.

The other, a smaller independent one, the mechanic will check it out and then as the most knowledgeable salesman,
Check it out, as in OBD-II scan?
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Old 10-06-2009, 10:23 PM   #7
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Default How closely does the average car dealer check out a car before accepting it as trade?

ditto on 'depends on the dealership.'

last one i worked at would take anything. downside is that they lowballed everyone, even those with clean cars.
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Old 10-06-2009, 11:11 PM   #8
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Default How closely does the average car dealer check out a car before accepting it as trade?

Quote:
Originally posted by: Mojoed
Quote:
Originally posted by: mwmorph
Depends on the dealership.

I've worked at 2, 1 I was a mechanic at a large Ford dealership so no experience with sales at all.

The other, a smaller independent one, the mechanic will check it out and then as the most knowledgeable salesman,
Check it out, as in OBD-II scan?
No the guy would drive it and then give it a mechanical go through. We didn't get many trade ins though and like I said, smaller, luxury dealership, so 50-70 cars on the lot at any given time.
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Old 10-06-2009, 11:21 PM   #9
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Default How closely does the average car dealer check out a car before accepting it as trade?

Depends on how new the trade is; is it something they're going to try to resell? Or (as is more often the case) are they going to take it to auction? If the latter, they know how much it's going to fetch at auction. They don't need to know tiny details.

Also, re: great trade in value for the Miata. Sure! They'll do that. When someone offers them way more for their trade than it's actually worth, that person is more likely to jump on a deal. But don't worry, they're going to make up for it on the other end - the sale of the car you're replacing the trade with. That's pretty much guaranteed.

"How much is that car?
"Gotta trade in?"
"Yeah, that Miata"
"Wow! I'll give you $2500 for that Miata. And, the car you're looking at is 14,000, but with the trade, that works out to only $$$ per month. (Whatever it is.)
"Cool! Where do I sign."

Customer 2, looking at an identical car:
"How much is that car?"
"Gotta trade in?"
"No"
"Well, we're overstocked this month. I can give you one hell of a bargain on it. The last guy bought the same model for 14,000. I can show you his paperwork myself, if you don't believe me. But, I'm willing to sell you this one for $13000 just to get it off the lot to make room for some new cars we have coming in."
"Wow! Where do I sign?"

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Old 10-06-2009, 11:50 PM   #10
Mojoed
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Default How closely does the average car dealer check out a car before accepting it as trade?

^ I see what you're saying. Makes perfect sense. They'll get you one way or the other.

What I'd REALLY like to do is just sell the car to the dealer without buying anything. Wonder if that would work?
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Old 10-07-2009, 07:58 AM   #11
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Default How closely does the average car dealer check out a car before accepting it as trade?

Quote:
Originally posted by: Mojoed
^ I see what you're saying. Makes perfect sense. They'll get you one way or the other.

What I'd REALLY like to do is just sell the car to the dealer without buying anything. Wonder if that would work?
Yeah but they won't give you much. Carmax is a better place for that as they specifically do cater to that. Carmax is hit or miss> i've had three cars appraised there, two offered what I considered fair and one that was downright insulting and I told them as much.
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Old 10-07-2009, 09:54 AM   #12
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Default How closely does the average car dealer check out a car before accepting it as trade?

Quote:
Originally posted by: Mojoed
^ I see what you're saying. Makes perfect sense. They'll get you one way or the other.

What I'd REALLY like to do is just sell the car to the dealer without buying anything. Wonder if that would work?
That really depends on the dealer. Most dealers will only consider buying a used car from you if they think it can be put back on the lot. Since yours can't, they'd have to send it straight to the auction block (or sell it to a small neighborhood lot). Like someone said, your best bet is definitely carmax.

In either case, expect somewhere between $710 to $1420, the latter price assuming the dealer doesn't notice ANY problems. Actually, expect less than that. Those are the wholesale prices, so how much the car is worth to the dealer. Don't be surprised if the dealer offers you $200 so that he can unload it for $700-800, otherwise it wouldn't be worth their trouble.
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Old 10-07-2009, 12:28 PM   #13
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Default How closely does the average car dealer check out a car before accepting it as trade?

The ones I've been to will generally go through something more thoroughly if they think they can resell it directly on the lot. We traded in a '99 Malibu with 100-110k miles, body damage ("hail," which was actually acorns, and the usual scrapes) and transmission problems (shifted hard from 1st to 2nd). They took it for a quick spin, and when they came back they gave us a song and a dance about the transmission. They offered $200, AFTER being firm about the price on a car we were looking at, so we laughed went to another dealership. The second dealership offered $800 for the same car, and had a similarly-optioned car for about $500 less. We ended up talking them into giving us $1800 for the trade-in, but never called back on the car.

I'm kind of glad we didn't. I was a 2006 Impala.
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Old 10-07-2009, 12:36 PM   #14
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Default How closely does the average car dealer check out a car before accepting it as trade?

I can't imagine you will get much for a 13 year old subaru anyway...
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Old 12-23-2009, 01:01 PM   #15
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depends. if they plan to just wholesale it, the inspection will take 5 mins. if they plan on reselling it to the public first before wholesaling it, then they'll take about 15mins to look at it.
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Old 12-23-2009, 01:24 PM   #16
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Quote:
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depends. if they plan to just wholesale it, the inspection will take 5 mins. if they plan on reselling it to the public first before wholesaling it, then they'll take about 15mins to look at it.
When I traded in my last car, I got it appraised at Carmax first to get a ballpark figure of what I could get to make sure the dealership didn't try to lowball me. The dealership wasn't local to me so we discussed the price over the phone, and after just a couple of questions (general condition, mileage, options) he quoted me a price that was identical to Carmax which was basically what the blue book value was. When I got to the dealership, the salesman took a 10 second walk around the outside of the car, and that was it. Didn't start it up or anything. So, I would say, it definitely depends on the dealership. If you're not buying a car from them, as I was, they may well give the car a more thorough check. Age and mileage of the car may have an affect as well as to how thorough they look at it.
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Old 12-23-2009, 09:51 PM   #17
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If you agree to the right sale price on the new car, you will always get full KBB trade-in value without an inspection. :-p
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