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Should I Fix My Car Before Trading In?

Mechanic with clipboard for maintenance

If you’re eager to upgrade with a fresh vehicle near North Canton, you’re likely asking, “Should I fix my car before trading in?” While some projects are definitely worth the time and money, others can be skipped. Each case is different, but you can always rely on the service and finance experts here at Serra Mazda to provide the insight you need. If your vehicle has some minor needs like scuffs, scratches, or missing floor mats, we may suggest a few fixes. However, our team will more than likely discourage you from taking on any major, costly projects. Learn more about the dos and don’ts of selling your car to a dealership below!

Fix My Car Before Trade: What Not To Fix

If you’re asking, “Should I fix my car before trading in?” you’ll likely be pleased to know that our team advises against taking on major repairs for a vehicle you intend to trade. With that in mind, you may ask, “Why not fix my car before a trade?” Here are three reasons to hold off on any serious repairs before trading your vehicle”

  • Major repairs are often expensive. This expenditure will lower your true trade-in value
  • Dealerships near Canton have the tools and expertise to handle service at a much lower cost than what you’d spend. 
  • Depending on the dealership you work with, the inspection may or may not cover the service issues you’re dealing with. Since the dealership can handle repairs with relatively little cost and effort, they may not even bother deducting from your trade-in value if you have lingering service concerns. 

Fix My Car Before Trade: What to Fix

While we’ll always recommend skipping serious service work before a trade, some minor work can boost the curb appeal of your vehicle tremendously. Here you’ll find a list of just some of the projects you can handle in your Hudson driveway if you’re looking to spruce up your ride before a trade:

  • Clean out the inside: Clear out any garbage, scrub the windows, and clean the carpets. You’ll also want to remove your personal belongings for a tidy look and to make things easy when you decide to sell!
  • Wash the car: A fresh wash can drastically improve the appearance of your car. This is especially true in the wintertime. 
  • Fix any scratches: If you’ve got minor scratches, you can try some quick DIY methods to remove the imperfections. 
  • Wax your car: After a wash, give your car a wax to give it that showroom-ready look!
  • Check headlamps: Test your headlights to see if you need fresh bulbs. 
  • Check the fluids: Check your brake, transmission, radiator, and windshield-washer fluids to make sure everything is topped off. 

A strong service record and a quality appearance are very desirable qualities in a used car for sale. Offering up a vehicle that looks good and is in good working order will help you score a great trade-in value. However, be sure to only take on projects that you feel comfortable handling. A botched job may actually detract from the value of your vehicle. 

What Else Can I Do Before Trading In My Car?

While taking on service before trading your car is often up for debate, there are some cost-free steps you can take to prep your vehicle for sale:

  • Collect all of your maintenance records 
  • Gather everything that came with the car, including mats, keys, title, spare tires, manuals, etc

Trade-In Your Car at Serra Mazda Today! 

Now that you have a better understanding of what to fix before trading your car, the time’s right to trade up to a superior vehicle in Akron. You can use our trade value calculator to get a strong estimate of what your vehicle is worth. From there, you can apply for financing or contact us to learn more about the entire process!


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