Category Archives: Trade-in value

Getting The Most For Your Trade-in

 Thad: Hi I’m Thad.

 Todd: I’m Todd. 

Thad: And we’re the Watters Boys. 

Todd: So you want to get the most you can for your trade-in? 

Thad: Thanks but that’s okay, I already own a dealership. 

Todd: Not you – I was addressing our readers. 

Thad: Which is also just me. 

Todd: I think mom finally started reading it. 

Thad: She wants to make sure we don’t sound stupid. 

Todd: Too late, Mom!  

Thad: When people ask us how they can maximize their car’s trade-in value, we tell ’em it’s all about common sense. 

Todd: Car dealers are people, too. 

Thad: Insert joke here. 

Todd: And so we are moved by first impressions, just like anyone. 

Thad: Most dealers don’t have time to go over your trade-in with a fine tooth comb. 

Todd: What they are really focused on is getting you into your new vehicle. 

Thad: And so our best advice is to think like a seller, because you are. 

Todd: You are “selling” us your car and we are selling you ours. 

Thad: Make sure you put your best foot forward. 

1. First and foremost, wash your car, inside and out 

A clean trade-in is worth more

Thad: You’d be shocked at how many people bring us a dirty vehicle. 

Todd: You’d be even more shocked at how dirty Thad’s car is. 

Thad: Which is why I park in the back. 

Todd: We react the same way to a dirty, smelly car the same way you would. 

Thad: It suggests that the owner has neglected it. 

Todd: And that’s going to almost certainly reduce the amount we’re willing to pay for it. 

Thad: So our advice – take it through the car wash, remove all the debris from the inside, vacuum all the surfaces, shampoo the carpet and floor mats and Windex the windows, inside and out. 

Todd: Also remove contents from glove compartment and trunk and, if possible, shampoo the trunk area. 

Thad: You may even want to consider detailing the vehicle. 

Todd: It’s an expense, but it can really pay off at trade-in time. 

Thad: Remember, that first impression is the most important! 

2. Have a maintenence record to give to the dealer. 

Keep good service records

Thad: Whether you’ve kept one for the life of your car or if you have to write one out from memory, this will show that you’ve been a thoughtful owner and will likely increase the value of your vehicle’s trade-in. 

Todd: The record doesn’t have to include every oil change or tune-up (although this should be included if possible) but it should have a list of any major work done on the vehicle, including engine and body work. 

Thad: It’s also a good idea to do small maintenance before you take it to the dealership. 

Todd: Replace wiper blades, top off fluids, get a tune-up – the dealer will notice these things and they will have a positive impact. 

3. Be honest about the car’s issues. 

Honesty will pay off

Todd: Vehicles get driven and used. 

Thad: Unless you’re my great great aunt whose AMC Gremlin hasn’t left the garage since 1992. 

Todd: Didn’t we sneak it out when we were 13 to see how fast it would go? 

Thad: Shhh! You want to get us busted? 

Todd: Hey, you drove – I just sat in the back and hid my eyes. 

Thad: If the car has a light out, or scratches, or a dent, or a hole in the seat, tell the dealer. 

Todd: He’s going to find out anyway – remember, we’ve seen literally thousands of vehicles brought in for trade-in over the years. 

Thad: Yep – if it’s there we’ll probably find it. 

Todd: Which is nothing to feel guilty about – like we said, cars get driven, that’s what we’re supposed to do. 

Thad: Auntie notwithstanding. 

Todd: Being honest about your vehicle’s blemishes will create a level of trust with the dealer. 

Thad: As will bringing in a clean, well-maintained car with good records. 

Todd: Follow these steps and you’ll be a happy seller… 

Thad: …and a happy buyer, come trade-in time! 


Todd and Thad Watters own and manage Watters Autoland in Indianola, Iowa. To find out more, visit them at: 


Next time: Why kicking the tire is a good thing  


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Dispelling The Biggest Myths About Cars

Todd: I’m Todd.

Thad: I’m Thad.

Todd: And we’re the Watters Boys.

Thad: There is a lot of great information out there about buying, selling and

operating a car.

Todd: You’ll find some good advice in books, newspaper articles and

automotive web sites and blogs.

Thad: Like this one – at least that’s the idea of Talkin Cars.

Todd: However you do have to take some of my brother’s ideas with a grain

of salt – like when he thought that stopping a car by sticking your foot out of

the door and sliding it on the ground would prolong the life of the brake


Thad: I was nine years old – and I still think that idea could work.

Todd: Except you’d lose money with all the emergency room bills.  

Thad: But for every good idea, there are others floating around out there…

Todd: Like Thad’s “brake with your foot” concept.

Thad: …that are not so good.

Todd: In this blog we’ll focus on myths about buying a car. Here are the

most common ones that we’ve heard over the years:

Myth #1: I have three days to return the car

Todd: The idea is that whether you’re buying new or used, you have three

days to change your mind and return the car.

Thad: The term is called “rescission,” or “to rescind.”

Todd: The dictionary definition-

Thad: I lent him mine.

Todd: -is: “The right of an individual involved within a contract to return to

the identical state as before they entered into the agreement, due to courts

not recognizing the contract as legally binding.”

Thad: This is one of those myths that’s kind of true but sort of not.

Todd: You can bring the car back only if a dealer has deliveried it to you,  or

made the deal at your home. 

Thad: If you come to your dealership and buy the car, you own it –

otherwise, the three days is to protect you for when a salesperson

comes to your home and strong-arms you into buying a car.

Todd: Otherwise, Caveat Emptor.

Thad: My brother is going crazy with that dictionary!

Todd: At Watters Autoland that’s exactly why we go over our pre-owned

vehicles with a fine tooth comb, before a customer drives it or buys it.

Thad: We want to make sure that the car you buy from us runs right, and is

right for you.

Myth #2: The best car deals are at the end of the month.

Thad: This myth probably started as a marketing tool.

Todd: Leave it up to those wacky advertising guys!

Thad: Hey, we’re wacky advertising guys.

Todd: Yeah but we’re not that wacky. Remember when some ad guy 

suggested we do a “We’re strippin down prices” TV ad campaign,

with all of us walking around without any clothes on?

Thad: I think that would have worked better on radio.

Todd: While it’s true that we do have monthly sales quotas we try 

to meet…

Thad: It’s also true that we pay the same price for our vehicles, whether it’s

at the beginning, middle or end of the month. And the same goes for our


Todd: Our bottom line at Watters Autoland is that we try to charge a fair

price, make a fair profit and pay our employees fair wages.

Thad: So they can all afford to buy clothes.

Myth #3: Extended Warranties Are Just Overpriced Scams

Todd: Wow. If I had a nickel for every time I heard a consumer say this.

Thad: How many nickels would you have?

Todd: Can I borrow your calculator?

Thad: Only if I can have my dictionary back.

Todd: Cars are built incredibly strong, to withstand all the years of driving

abuse we dish out.

Thad: But the more we drive a car, the better the chance for


Thad: That’s just a fact of life, with anything we buy and use.

Todd: So we always always always recommend customers get

extended warranty insurance, especially on a used car.

Thad: The price is reasonable, especially for what it covers, which is a lot.

Todd: Road Hazard Insurance can also really pay off because it covers

tires and rims.

Thad: Especially with this Iowa weather and the effect it has on our roads.

Todd: All it takes is driving one time into a pothole the size of my brother’s

swimming pool, and the insurance has paid for itself and then some.

Thad: There are a lot more car myths, misconceptions and out and

out horse hooey that we’ll address in future blogs.

Todd: If you’ve got a myth you’d like us to talk about, just post it in a

comment on our blog!

Thad: Meantime, drive safe and remember – only six weeks till spring!

Todd: Yea! Then we can start running around without clothes!

Thad: Remind me to be sick that day.

Todd and Thad Watters own and operate Watters Autoland in Indianola, Iowa. To find out more, visit


Next time: Getting the most for your trade-in

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Filed under Car shopping, Trade-in value