A Potential Complication
When we were shopping for an Edmunds long-term vehicle some time ago, we considered a dealer trade, but still wanted to inspect the car for ourselves before the swap took place. But we learned that the mere fact of going to look at the car could jeopardize the trade. Here's why:
You're working with Dealer A. The car that's up for trade is at Dealer B, and you want to go look at it before the trade takes place. But Dealer A has a legitimate concern: If Dealer B sees you looking at its vehicle, it may be less likely to trade it to Dealer A. Dealer A's salesperson loses the sale — and possibly the commission or bonus associated with it.
There's a way around this. We suggest going to a relatively neutral source (call it Dealer C) to look at a vehicle that's close to the one you want. Is there a chance that either Dealer B or C would give you a better price on the car? Maybe, but you'd have to start the sales process all over again. Convenience is what makes a dealer trade so appealing.
Is a Dealer Trade Right for You?
Whether to do a dealer trade comes down to a personal preference, says Weintraub, the auto concierge.
"If getting the best price is paramount, you'll want to go to the dealer that has the vehicle in stock," he says.
If you enjoy the level of service at a certain dealer, are a repeat customer, don't have time for a prolonged search or don't have another dealer near you, a dealer trade might be a good option for you. Just be aware of what's going on behind the scenes.