Trade-in your Auto
If you have an existing auto that you plan to trade-in when buying a new or used auto, it's important to keep in mind the equity that you have built up in your existing auto.
Auto Trade-In Values
Before talking to any dealers about trading in your auto you need to understand the value of the auto if you were to sell it yourself as a private party vs. the value of the auto as a trade-in. You should use this information in your negotiations with the dealer. Any equity (value of the auto minus any money you still owe to pay the auto off to a lender) you have on your auto is critical money that should be used as a down payment in the purchase of a new auto. If you have equity, think of your auto as a big wad of cash in your pocket as you are shopping. You can get up to date information on the current private party or trade-in value of your used auto in our Used Auto Values Section.
Getting A Trade-In Offer on Your Auto
If you have determined that you would rather trade-in your auto vs. sell it, there is nothing wrong with that decision. Selling your auto yourself can take some time and effort, but it is relatively easy to trade-in your auto to a dealer that you are buying a new auto from. You should keep those facts in mind when evaluating a trade-in offer...the auto dealer is going to want to pay you the minimum he can, so he can resell the auto and make a profit. Related to this point, the value of a specific auto may be higher or lower, dealer to dealer, so you want to evaluate multiple options.
New Auto Buying: If you are buying a new auto and plan to trade-in your existing auto, your best bet is to get in touch with multiple dealers and get: a price quote on the auto you are interested in AND a trade-in offer quote on your auto. Using our Dealer Select Pricing Tool, you can identify the new auto you are interested in and get in touch with local dealers in your area that are willing to provide you quotes on your new purchase and your trade-in. Once you make contact with multiple local auto dealers, tell them you want a trade-in estimate on your auto and email them a summary of your trade-in with a few photos. This way, you should be able to get a general offer from them on your new auto, and your trade-in, without having to travel to the dealership.
Used Auto Buying: On the used auto buying front, the theme is the same as buying new, but slightly different. In this case you want to identify at least 2-3 used autos that you are interested in from different dealers. Contact them expressing your interest in the used auto they have for sale, request that they provide you their best offer on the used auto you want to buy AND a trade-in offer quote on your auto.
Whether you are looking to buy new or used, compare the full details on the transaction (purchase price, financing, and trade-in offer) between the different dealers and make the decision that is right for you. The key is shopping around.