Buying a new car seems to hinge on the value of the old car you are trading in to the dealer. Chances are you won't know how much it is worth until the dealer tells you as your new car deal is pending. But with a little homework, you can be prepared to know exactly how much your car is worth before hitting the showroom. The standard for trade in value has been Kelly Blue Book and it still plays a vital key in determining you car's worth. But there are other services too including Edmunds, CARFAX and Car Gurus. Most sites can determine your car's worth by entering its VIN or license plate number. You'll need to use multiple web sites as each will give you a different value (Chris Malone's older car's value ranges from $3,800 with Carfax to $4,156 at Car Gurus and $5,817 with Kelly Blue Book). Knowing the value will give you the information you need to see if it will cover the down payment for your new one to get the payment you need for your budget. Also, make sure you trade in is not going to take a long time for the dealer to sell. Having it detailed inside and out, getting the oil changed or the engine tuned up and making sure that everything is in good working order can make it more desirable in a salesman’s eyes. Of course, before you do any major or expensive work, it’s a good idea to consider whether it will be worth it. Finally, negotiate the trade-in price separately. Dealers use what they call a four-square sheet to juggle the trade-in and new car prices along with the down payment and financing terms. Often, they combine these figures and present a monthly payment figure. This allows them to hide the price of the trade-in and hike up the cost of the new car. To avoid this and get the best deal possible, keep the trade-in and purchase negotiations separate and check each price against online guides and the cash offers you received. When you are done negotiating and are reviewing the contract, verify that you're given the agreed-upon price for your trade-in.