Step 1: Appraise Your Car's Trade-in Value
To determine if you're being offered a reasonable price on your trade-in, you first must know what your car is worth. Use the Edmunds car appraisal tool and look for the trade-in True Market Value® (TMV®). Read "How Much Is My Car Worth" if you need tips on how to appraise your car. Print out the results page and take it with you to the dealership. You also can pull up the trade-in value on the Edmunds smartphone app.
It is important to accurately take stock of all the car's options and to be honest about the condition level. Note that only a small percentage of cars will actually be in "outstanding" condition. Most cars that are well maintained will be in "clean" condition. When in doubt about the condition level, it's best to err on the side of caution.
by Ronald Montoya, Senior Consumer Advice Editor at edmunds.com