If you’ve decided that it’s time to trade in your current car for a new model, there are some things you’ll want to keep in mind as you go through the process. Read on to learn what you can do to help maximize your vehicle’s trade-in value.

Research Your Vehicle’s Value

When it comes to your trade-in, it just makes sense to know as much as you can about the value of your car before you enter the dealership. The good news is that there are plenty of resources available at your fingertips. According to Judy Schumacher-Tilton, president of Tilton Automotive Group, “In today’s market, you have KBB, AutoTrader, Cars.com. For most customers, these have become the bible for trade-in value.”

Understand What Determines Value

Before you trade in your car, you may want to spruce it up a bit to increase the value. To do that, you’ll need to understand what dealerships are looking for when they assess the value of your car. About.com notes that keeping your car neat and tidy can help make sure you get a higher return on your trade-in, because people think of a clean car as a well-maintained car.

Kelley Blue Book recommends repairing burned out lights and cracks in the windshield; replacing brakes and/or tires; and fixing any dents, dings or scratches prior to going into the dealership.

Vice President of Urse Group, Doug Urse, adds that the important things to consider are average wear and tear, and mileage. Doug also recommends doing your research- “Checking Carfax to learn how many times the car has been traded, been in an accident, and if there are any open recalls on it is a good way to better understand its value.”

Learn Common Misconceptions

Once you learn your trade-in value from the dealership, it’s important to realize that their offer likely will not match the value you found in your research. However, this is not the dealer’s attempt to undervalue your vehicle, rather it’s due to costs they incur in order to ready your trade-in for resale.

Another factor in determining your trade-in’s value is demand and fluctuations in popularity, according to Bankrate.com. For example, high fuel prices have driven down the demand for larger vehicles that require tons of gas, yet this change in the industry may not be totally reflected in a value guidebook.

If you have more questions regarding your vehicle trade-in, contact your local dealer.