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Updated: 3/28/2003 1:53 pm
If you're planning to trade in your old car when you're buying a new or used car from a dealer, call your bank's loan department to determine its value. You can also find out the value of the car yourself by checking the National Automobile Dealers Association, or 'NADA,' (NAW-duh) Blue Book, which is available at your local library or bank. By the way, some car salespeople say that there's no such thing as a 'blue book,' because the cover of the NADA guide is yellow. If you decide to trade in your car when you're buying a new car at a dealership, it's often a good idea not to tell the salesperson you have a trade-in or discuss its value until after you've negotiated the best price for your new car. Keeping the process separate means that you know exactly what you're paying for your new car. Otherwise, the good deal you get for your new car could be spoiled by the low price you get for your old car. Don't tell the dealer you have a trade-in until you've agreed upon a price. You'll never know just what kind of a bargain you're getting if your trade-in is part of the initial negotiation. This way, you'll actually know how much you're paying for your new car and how much they're giving you for the trade- in. Let them know you know the 'blue book' value, or you can refer to it as the 'NADA wholesale price.' The usual procedure is that the used-car manager will determine what trade-in value to give you. It should be very close to the NADA wholesale price listing. Don't accept more than two or three percent below 'blue book,' unless your car has sustained a lot of damage or needs extensive repairs.

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