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Updated: 3/28/2003 12:53 pm Published: 3/28/2003 12:53 pm

Sometimes, the most difficult part of buying a new or used car is figuring out what to do with your present one. You have to make the choice of either selling it outright or trading it in. Trading in your old car is the easiest route because most dealers are prepared to make the transaction as simple as possible. A trade-in can usually be accomplished the same day with minimal inconvenience. The dealer assesses the value of your old car and makes you an offer. You can bargain over the trade-in value if you like, or simply accept the dealer's offer. Trade-in values are usually several hundred dollars less than the money you would receive selling it outright. In the end, the amount the dealer gives you for your trade-in is generally deducted from the price of your new vehicle. To make sure you get a fair trade-in value, wash and wax the exterior, thoroughly clean the interior, and change the oil and oil filter. Obtain an estimate of repair costs if there's any body or mechanical damage and research the book value of your trade-in car. Remember, the biggest benefit of trading in a car is convenience. If you don't have the time or inclination to sell your car on your own, trading it in makes a lot of sense. For more information on trade-ins, consult an auto dealer.

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