How to Trade In a Motorcycle

How to Trade In a Motorcycle

Out with the old and in with the new! It’s time to switch things up, and we’re here to guide you along the way. 

Continue reading below to see the five steps to trading in your motorcycle! 

Step 1: Determine Your Motorcycle’s Trade-In Value 

First things first. You’ll want to start the trade-in process by determining the value of your current motorcycle.

Kelley Blue Book is an excellent resource for finding motorcycle values. Plus, their motorcycle valuation tool is quick and easy to use. 

Check out this post to determine your motorcycle’s trade-in value using Kelley Blue Book. Then, meet us back here for step two! 

Step 2: Have Your Motorcycle Appraised By the Dealer  

Next, you’ll want to select a dealership. 

You can use the ChopperExchange search tool to find a motorcycle dealer near you.

First, you’ll want to make sure that the dealership has the bike you want in stock or can have it delivered.

Then, once you’ve selected a dealership, call and make the appointment for your trade-in. 

When you arrive, a dealer representative will appraise your motorcycle. To assess its condition, they’ll need to do an inspection and take it for a test ride. 

Step 3: Negotiate

Once the assessment is complete, the dealer will tell you how much your motorcycle is worth. 

But, remember, you’ve done your own research. Dealers are expert appraisers. But they are also expert salespeople. So, don’t just take their word for it.

If the dealer’s estimate is thousands of dollars below yours, ask questions, explain your valuation and make a counter. You’ll never know if you don’t try! 

If you need advice on how to get a fair valuation, check out this post on how to negotiate when buying a motorcycle. It will walk you through the entire process. 

Step 4: Gather Documentation, Identification, etc. 

What you’ll need to bring will depend on various factors, such as the dealership, your payment method and state. 

Therefore, it’s important to ask your dealer representative what documents you’ll need prior to your appointment. The items below are general guidelines. 

Trade-In Checklist 

  • Driver’s License
  • Finance paperwork
  • Proof of residence 
  • Your trade-in
  • Your trade-in’s Certificate of Title 
  • Proof of motorcycle insurance 
  • Info for discounts and rebates 
  • Cosigner 
  • Credit card and credit reference and/or cash payment

Step 5: Complete the Transaction

First, you’ll supply the dealer with the items from the section above. Then, they’ll walk you through the rest.

A major plus of trading in a motorcycle versus selling one privately is that the dealer takes care of most of the paperwork. 

Continue reading below to see the steps to the transaction process. 

1. Full Cash Payment/Down Payment

If you plan to purchase your motorcycle in cash (fully or partially), make sure you check with the dealership beforehand to confirm which forms of cash or cash equivalents they accept  (ie: debit cards, money orders, checks, etc.).

2. Credit Check/Financing

Although most dealerships offer financing, it’s important to determine how much you’re willing to pay monthly prior to your appointment. 

Any entity that you lend money from will perform a credit check before your trade to determine your eligibility and interest rate. 

However, it’s important to check your own credit score prior to your appointment to get an idea of how high your interest rate might be. Companies like Credit Karma and Experian offer credit reports for free.

If your credit score is less than ideal, check out this resource on how to buy a motorcycle with bad credit

And, to explore your options, check out this post on motorcycle financing

3. Certificate of Title/Transfer of Ownership

A title is a legal document that establishes vehicle ownership.

If you decide to buy your motorcycle in cash, the title (and full ownership) will be transferred to you. 

If you decide to finance your motorcycle, the lender will hold the title. However, your name and lien agreement will be listed on the document, and you can request a copy for your records. 

Once you’ve completed all payments, you and the lender will complete the transfer of ownership. During this process, the title (and full ownership) will be signed over to you, and you will be given the Certificate of Title for your records.

For specific questions on title transfers, make sure to contact your local DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) because guidelines and fees vary by state. 

In Conclusion 

By trading in your motorcycle, you’re technically completing two transactions at once. The sale of your current motorcycle and the purchase of another. 

The nice thing about trading in a motorcycle is that it’s a one-stop shop. On the other hand, you can expect to pay several fees. You can find out what dealership fees to expect here. 

Also, trading in a motorcycle will lower the amount of sales tax you owe for your new motorcycle purchase since you already paid sales tax on the trade-in money when you originally purchased that motorcycle. 

Not sure which option is best for you? Check out this post on selling a motorcycle privately versus trading it in at a dealership.

Have you ever done a trade-in? Or, do you typically sell privately? Let us know below!

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