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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi. I'm looking to buy a Caliber soon. My question concerns my trade-in. It's an older car (94), in perfect mechanical condition (seriously, the engine and transmission are like they were the day I drove it off the lot). But it has a fading and chipped original paint job (black), a couple very small, barely noticeable dents, and the model name has fallen off.

Whether you look at the Black Book, Blue Book, NADA values, etc., the difference in trade-in value b/w cars rated "poor", "fair", and "good" can be a lot more than a budget paint job.

I've heard that the dealer can fix a car up better and cheaper than you can, so you should let him do it. I've also heard that making your car look nice can dramatically improve its perceived value, even to dealers.

Any thoughts as to whether I should try and spruce up my car a little, beyond washing, waxing, and cleaning it? Maybe a budget paint job and finding the model name at a junkyard and sticking it back on with double sided tape?
 

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I would say, trading it in is never going to give you much. If you can keep it and sell it outright you'll get more out of it. If you must trade it in, do as much as you can to make it look and sound clean. I wouldn't put any money into a paint job, maybe a few touch ups and a good inside and out cleaning is going to give you the same.
 

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Yeah I would do what RadioDude suggested. I also think that a repaint would NOT be worth it. Trade it in or sell it outright, just make it look the best you can.
 

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please don't bother with touch ups, either repaint the car or leave it as is and make it look as nice as you can. I work in the automotive paint industry and more often than not touching up scratches/chips makes the car look worse than if you were to leave them in there. Color matching is sketchy at best and unless you have someone who is very skilled you will definately notice where the paint job has been touched up. As said before try to sell it privately as it will garner you more cash... most car lots will nickle and dime you out of your money then turn around and sell your car for thousands more than what they gave you.. food for thought.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks guys. By touch up, do you mean touching up the chips in the paint?

I don't know how to do that, which is why I thought about those $200 budget paint jobs instead. I've heard they look ok, they just don't last since there's no clearcoat. But I don't care if it lasts.

If the multiple chips - they're small, but there are a lot of them - cause the car to be rated "poor" instead of "fair", though, and that means $800 in Blue Book Value...well, I do care about that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
12am said:
please don't bother with touch ups, either repaint the car or leave it as is and make it look as nice as you can. I work in the automotive paint industry and more often than not touching up scratches/chips makes the car look worse than if you were to leave them in there. Color matching is sketchy at best and unless you have someone who is very skilled you will definately notice where the paint job has been touched up. As said before try to sell it privately as it will garner you more cash... most car lots will nickle and dime you out of your money then turn around and sell your car for thousands more than what they gave you.. food for thought.
Just saw your post. I don't know how to touch up the chips anyway.

I'd prefer to sell it myself, especially since it's an older model they'll probably just sell at auction, after offering me very little for it. But what would I drive while my Caliber's being built - especially with all this talk of delays and folks having to wait a lot longer than they anticipated? (People sell their own cars every day, so I guess there's an answer, heh.)

Maybe I'll go ahead and order the Caliber, and try to sell my car after it's actually almost built...and if there are no takers by delivery, then trade my old car in? (I kind of wanted to have an agreed upon value before even ordering, though.)
 

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yea, I'm talking about touching up the chips in the paint, blacks, some whites, and especially reds are the hardest colors to paint/touch up and have them look good in the end. A suggestion to you would be this. 1)you know you want a caliber 2)you know you want to sell your car for maximum value you can get for it 3)you know that the wait is at least 4 months for a caliber. My suggestion is thus: Order your caliber, then put your car up for sale via local trader magazines, in shopping centre for sale areas etc. Try and get the most you can possibly get for your vehicle. Next scope out $500 to 1,000 beater vehicles that will only have to last you till your caliber arrives. Next take the cash you banked by selling your car privately and buy the beater and throw 90% of the rest as a down payment on your now ordered caliber... take the remaining 10% and save it till you get your new caliber and use that money to pay for your insurance on your new caliber (providing you can get enough on your used car this could pay for 6 mo to 1 year of insurance).
 

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This is a late reply but here goes - Dealers, as a general rule but not always, keep only the nicest cars for resale and then only if they're five years old or newer. Counting the difference in model years, your trade-in is 13 years old (1994 from 2007). In another lifetime I sold cars so I have some experience to base this on. My attitude these days is that I'll trade in a 13-year old car. Although I'll get very little for it (even if it's nice) it's far less of a hassle than dealing with the public yourself. Most often people in that price range want you to take post-dated checks, a trade, or ask you to wait until they get paid or some other complication. They'll often call you after the deal to complain about something as well. My advice is to invest nothing in fixing up your car and trade it in. Be done with it. For everyone else considering trading up, it might help you to know that the value of your trade-in drops dramatically the day it turns five years old. That's because most banks will not finance the car beyond that age. If you're thinking about trading up and your old car is approaching the age of five, then act sooner rather than later.
 

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I agree - chances are that the dealer will "wholesale" it off to someone else (local used cars lots, brokers, etc that they regularly deal with) for just those reasons, so anything other than the general cleanliness and condition as per the standard "trade-in" and "resell" guides probably won't have much effect on it's trade-in value on a new vehicle from a dealership.
 

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Yeah I agree...Its not worth putting money into a car because you won't get it back. Its not like a house. Its the factory options that can make the trade value go up if any depending on the option.

I have a trade with my Caliber on order. I didn't do anything to my car except wash and wax it. Its a 2004 Dodge Stratus R/T Coupe in basically mint condition. No dents, with only some very tiny stone chips in the hood. Other than that, its perfect. I kept notes in the maintenance booklet so whom ever buys my Stratus will know exactly when the oil/filter was changed, what oil went into it, what filter went into it, when the tires were changed or rotated, when the air filter was blown out (K&N), etc. So there's documentation on the up keep of the car. The only downside to it is that its a manual transmission which is a hard seller for a dealer. If it was an automatic, they'd have it sold in a heartbeat.
 

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I think it would definitely be worth it to clean & detail the inside as much as possible, i.e. vacuum everything, clean the dust out of the small crevices with a Q-Tip, and get the fossilized french fries from under your seat :D. Obviously, a good outside wash wouldn't hurt either. If you know anyone who has a dent remover (perhaps a friend of the family who's a mechanic or collects cars) do it, but if you don't it's not worth it to have a shop do it, as it won't increase your trade in value more than what it'll cost.

Other than that, be nice, and don't question their ratings too much.
 

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One comment on trades- I read a book a ways back by a dude (Jonas Sachs I believe), who was a sales guy for 2 or so years before he wrote. He basically said that the price of a new car could have as much as $1000 built in to the price to offset any trade-ins.

True story- about 5 years ago, I went with dad to buy him a truck, sales guy asked if we had a trade, we said NO, he actually said "take $1500 off the price (of the new truck)". I was in awe!

The book said if you do have a trade, make no mention of it, work out your deal, THEN mention the trade in!! However, most you will get is black book (wholesale) which is undervalued, regardless of the shape of your car.

We were offered $2000 for a 99 Grand Am from the stealership. Sold it privately for $4500 as is. I'd say try to sell it privately, cleaned up of course.

Good luck whatever you decide to do.

S
 

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Hi I am new to this forum.

I agree with the fact that the maximum payoff is to sell yourself, but this option is not always possible. I have/had two cars that are going to be reycled into the caliber. A 93 miata, and a nissan pickup, I showed my dealership the miata and the aqusion man was interested in the car personally but only threw up a value of $1500, Yuck... I since sold that car in ten days by listing a text only ad in the local news paper for $3,300 I am very pleased. I still have the pickup which I am driving daily and can't sell early I am stuck trading it in. It is in great shape mechanicaly but has a dent on the pass door. My friend who is a mechanic said the best thing I can do is clean it up as much as I can and since I am only a few months away from inspection that I would be in my benifit to get one done which I did, and it passed. The worst thing to do now is to get my hopes up in getting the Kelly Blue book, or NADA value, I know I will probably have to settle for less.
 
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