When is the Best Time to Trade in Your Truck?

Tips on Getting the Timing Right for the Best Trade-In Value

We all want the next big upgrade for our rides, but we know it’s never cheap. You can maximize the value of your new ride by trading in your old one, but it’s hard to know when it’s the right time to make that decision. Getting the best value for your trade-in is a matter of strategy, diligence, and, most of all, timing.

So, when is the best time to trade in your truck? If that question’s been rattling around in your head, let us help you figure it out!

Condition of the Trade-In Vehicle is important

Condition of the Trade-In Vehicle

Let’s start with the condition of your truck. You want to enter the trade with a clear knowledge of what your car is worth. Check out either Kelly Blue Book or Carfax as a starting place.

It takes a little time, but your best bet is to bring the vehicle to at least two dealerships so you can get an idea of what your best offer is going to be. If you bring a written offer from a competing dealer to Northwest Motorsport, we’ll do our best to beat it!

You won’t know if you’re getting a good deal if you’re just considering quotes the dealers are offering. Dealerships are expecting to sell your car for at least a small profit, so you won’t see the same price quotes you’re seeing from KBB or Carfax. Know the value of your car and you’ll be in a much better position for negotiating.

Make sure to address the following concerns while you’re comparing quotes.


The mileage on the car or truck you’re looking to trade-in is an important factor in determining how much you’ll get for it. Ideally, the best time to trade in your truck is before it reaches 50,000 miles. Of course, this isn’t a necessary requirement in order to get a good price for it. If the odometer shows up to 100,000 miles, however, you can expect to be offered a much lower price. 

Mileage in and of itself isn’t a testament to the condition of a vehicle. If you average about 12,000 miles per year owned (if you bought it new), keep the car well-maintained, and don’t wait too long to trade it in, the vehicle should be in decent condition for resale.

Generally speaking, though, you will get the best price trading in your car after a few years of ownership with somewhere between 30,000 to 40,000 miles on it. Trucks retain their value much better than the average consumer vehicle, but the same rules still apply.

Age of the Vehicle

If you bought the car or truck new, you should wait at least a few years before trading it in. Its value depreciates year by year, but you’ll still get a good price after five years or so. 

If you bought it used, the sooner you trade it, the better the price you’ll get for it. Many dealerships do have restrictions for age and mileage and won’t accept a trade-in if it doesn’t meet those standards. Once your vehicle is past the end of its warranty coverage, its value is significantly lowered.

At Northwest Motorsport, we will buy any vehicle, regardless of its age or condition. While not every trade-in meets our standards for resale (some end up at a wholesale auction), we will gladly make an offer on anything you’d like to trade-in.

Maintenance Issues/Costs

Age, mileage, and maintenance all go hand in hand. If you’ve taken good care of your truck, that will always cast its age and odometer reading in a better light. Minor maintenance issues should be taken care of before you try to trade in your vehicle. Obviously, the better its condition, the better its value in the trade-in.

When it comes to bigger issues, however, you might as well leave that for the dealer to fix. Dealerships are often able to address major issues for much less money than it would cost you to bring the car to a mechanic. That cost is not worth eating, and you’ll get a better value trading it in as-is.

When you’re determining the vehicle’s value, it’s a good idea to do some research into common mechanical issues that your specific vehicle encounters over time. You should know when those issues tend to occur in case they aren’t many miles away, as this is information dealerships will take into account in their appraisals. 

The Best Time to Trade in Your Truck is Now

If you’re thinking about trading in your vehicle, don’t wait until it’s too late to get the best price you can! If you’re still paying off the car loan on your current vehicle, that is not a problem at Northwest Motorsport. Just make sure you know how much you owe, and we can take over the loan from the lender.

The best time to trade in your truck is when you have positive equity. If you still owe more than the truck is worth, wait out the remaining monthly payments or pay the difference in cash, if you can.

Maybe your needs have changed, and you need a set of wheels more equipped to handle your latest projects, or maybe you want something with a better safety rating. If you’re considering it and you’re not acting out of necessity, it’s likely a good time to make the trade. Reach out to Northwest Motorsport today to find out about the trade-in opportunities waiting for you!