One of the most dreaded parts of buying a car is usually the trade-in process. You have an old car, but you need to get rid of it first before buying a new car. You’ve already realized that selling your car to a private party takes a lot of work and way too much time. So, why not just trade in your old car at the dealership when you buy the new one? Trade-in offers are notoriously low, so that’s why some people choose to avoid that process altogether. However, if you know how to handle the process, you can navigate it successfully and get the best price for your trade. Follow the six steps listed below to get it done.

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1. Calculate Your Car’s Trade-In Value

The first step in the trade process is determining your car’s value. This is going to require a little homework on your part, but without this knowledge, a dealer will be itching to take advantage of you with a lowball offer. Most of the research that you’ll need to do can be done online from the comfort of your home.

Go online and check out Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds to start your research. These sites allow you to research used car prices, and you can use them as a guide to determine the value of your car. Knowing your car’s value arms you with data that you can use during the negotiations with the car dealer.

You should understand that there is no single price that a site can place on your vehicle. You should use the sites above to get a range for a fair price for your vehicle. You can also browse listings in your area to see how much similar cars are listed for. This will help you get a better understanding of the vehicle’s value. The amount that the dealer offers you for your trade might be on the lower end of the range or the higher end of the range. If it’s on the high end, great! If it’s on the lower end, they may be attempting to lowball you, and you should try to negotiate a higher price for your car.

You can also quickly get an offer from Auto Wranglers to determine your car’s value. We buy cars nationwide, so we’ll make an offer to buy yours too. Our offers are often higher than trade-in values, so you’ll love the amount of cash that could be headed your way.


2. Determine If You Owe Any Money On Your Current Car

man using calculator to calculate auto loan debt

Most people finance their car purchases with a car loan. These loans can often take years to pay off, so you might be looking to get a new car before that loan is paid off. If you’re still making a car payment, that means you still owe money on your current car. If you do not hold the car title free and clear, then you still have a lender who holds a lien on your vehicle.

You should contact your lender to determine exactly how much money you owe on your car. Once you have your loan balance, you’ll have a better idea of whether a trade is going to be a good idea. If you’re upside down in your current loan, then getting a new vehicle might not be a good idea. This means that you owe more money on the car than it’s worth, so you’ll have to either come up with the money to pay off the negative equity or roll that amount into your new car loan.

Rolling over your negative equity can sometimes result in lower monthly payments, but it’s generally not a good idea for your personal finances unless you can make a large down payment and have a great credit score. Otherwise, your interest rate will be higher and you’ll be paying excessive amounts of interest on your new auto loan.

If you have positive equity in your car, then this can be used as your down payment. If the value of your trade is higher than the remaining balance on your loan, then you are in good shape for the purchase of your next car. You might even consider selling your car on Craigslist so that you have an even larger down payment if you don’t owe much on it.


3. Give Your Car A Full Wash & Detail

This step is required whether you’re selling your car privately or trading it in. A clean car always warrants a higher price than a dirty one. You need to have your car looking its best so that the salesperson is impressed when they walk out and see it. Go ahead and wash your car and wax it so that it’s nice and shiny. Apply some tire shine and even clean the engine bay if you’re comfortable doing that.

Don’t forget the interior! Vacuum the seats and carpet and go ahead and shampoo the carpet if you can. Wipe down all the hard interior surfaces with a protectant that will clean and shine the surfaces. Also, clean the windows so that no smudged fingerprints are there when the appraiser is looking over the vehicle. In this case, it probably pays to have your car professionally cleaned and detailed if you’re not up to the task. Your trade-in amount may increase by more than the cost of the detail service.


4. Get An Estimate From Auto Wranglers

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It never hurts to get a second opinion, and that applies when you’re trading in a car too. You could get offers from more than one dealership, but you should also get an offer from Auto Wranglers. We will make you an instant free offer to buy your car for cash, and you’ll have your offer in about 90 seconds. This will allow you to quickly determine whether that dealer is trying to lowball you with their trade offer. We’ll even make you an offer if your car is junk or only good to sell for parts.

If you like our offer (and we think you will), then selling your car to Auto Wranglers is easy. The entire process only takes a day or two, and we’ll come to your location since we serve the whole country. You’ll get a top dollar purchase price, and we always provide free towing and pickup. We’ll take your current vehicle off your hands and put cash in its place so that you can go and buy that new vehicle you’ve been wanting. Our offers are often higher than trade in value and our process is completely hassle free, so go ahead and get your free quote today.

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5. Negotiate The Trade-In Value Of Your Car

Just because the car manager at the dealership made you an offer on your trade doesn’t mean that you have to accept it. Just like you can negotiate the purchase price of your new vehicle, you can also negotiate the trade offer the dealer made you.

If you want to be in the best position to negotiate, then you need to be armed with facts and data. Have your research data from KBB and others ready to go. Have offers from other car buyers ready to present to the dealer. If they really want to make a deal, then they will be willing to negotiate with you if the pricing that you’re seeking is fair.

You should watch out for the old bait and switch from the dealer as you start to negotiate. Since you’re also buying a new car at the same time, make sure to negotiate the trade in offer independent of the price of the vehicle you want to purchase. This way you can avoid the process that some dealers will take when they lower your trade value as they lower the price of the car they are selling.


6. Close The Deal!

Now that you’ve put in the work, it’s time to close the deal! When you’ve negotiated a fair price for your trade, go ahead and tell them you’re ready to accept the offer. The dealership will draft all the paperwork that you’ll need to execute to complete the deal. Make sure to read through the contracts carefully. You should clearly be able to see the price of the new vehicle as well as the trade amount that the dealer is giving you for your current vehicle.

If you have a loan, you’ll also see the payoff amount listed as a line item. You might either reduce or increase the amount that you owe depending on whether you have negative or positive equity. Finally, you’ll be able to sign the documents, transfer the title, and go register your new car. Congratulations, the deal is done!



When you’re ready to swap vehicles, make sure that you know exactly what to expect from the trade process at your local dealer. Being well-prepared will help ensure that you get the best possible deal and walk away feeling good about the price you got for your trade. You’ll be able to walk away in a new car and a smile on your face. Following the tips laid out in this article will have you ready to head into the sales office to negotiate. If you’re considering trading your vehicle, then contact Auto Wranglers to get a second opinion on the price of your car. You might just be surprised at how much we offer! Contact us today to get started.

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How do you trade in a car that is not paid off?

Maybe you’re wondering how to trade in a car that is not paid off. Trading in a car with a loan is not much different than trading a car that is paid off, and it can be a way to get out of an expensive loan. However, the amount of money that you owe as part of the deal can vary greatly. We all know that your car undergoes a great deal of depreciation as soon as you drive it off the lot. So, unless you make a decent down payment on your car, you immediately have negative equity on your loan. This means that your car is worth less than your loan amount.

If you owe more on your vehicle than it’s worth, then you will have to come up with the money to pay the difference. Let’s say you owe $10,000 on your vehicle, but the dealer will only give you $9,000 for it. You will need to pay $1,000 to make up the difference. Some people may tell you to roll over that amount into your new loan, but that’s not always a good idea. You’ll end up paying even more interest and get further upside down in the car you just bought.

However, if your car is worth more than your loan balance, then you can use that amount as a down payment. For example, if you owe $7,500 on your car that is worth $8,000, then you will have $500 to put toward the purchase price of the car you want to buy. This should allow you to get better loan terms and pay less interest as you work to pay off the new vehicle.

Is it better to trade in my car or sell it?

The answer to this question depends on your specific goals. However, you should consider this. It is well known that most dealers will lowball you on trade-in offers. They must turn around and get your car cleaned up and ready to sell. These places usually have high overhead costs, and they need to make large profits from each car to keep their business running. To do so, they’ll need to acquire these vehicles at lower prices so that they can sell them and make the profit margin they need. Rarely do dealers offer great trade in deals.

Selling a car privately can result in a higher sales price and net you more money in your pocket. However, selling a car to a private party takes a lot of time and effort on your part. Plus, you’ll need to do all that confusing paperwork on your own. Skip all the hassle and just sell your car to Auto Wranglers. We’ll make you an instant cash offer in about 90 seconds to purchase your vehicle. We will pay you top dollar, and you never even have to leave home. We buy cars nationwide, and we’ll come to you because we always provide free towing and pickup. Our whole process takes just a day or two, so you will have your money in your pocket in no time!

What is the average value of a trade-in car?

It is nearly impossible to answer this question because there are so many factors that affect your car’s value. The year, make, model, and condition of your car play a huge role in its value, and thus, its trade-in price. Your car may be worth anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. The value of your vehicle is also affected by whether you have a clean title or a rebuilt car title. You can get an idea of your car’s trade value by doing some research on your own through Kelley Blue Book or a similar site.

The best way to know what your car is worth is to get a trade offer from your local dealer or get an instant offer from Auto Wranglers. We’ll make you a real offer to buy your car in about 90 seconds. If you choose to accept it, we’ll arrive to pick up your car and hand over your money in just a day or two. Auto Wranglers is the best way to sell your car in town.

What are some things to consider before trading in a car?

Your first consideration should be whether you also need to buy a new car at the same time. If not, then you’ll have to simply sell your car as a trade implies that there is another vehicle included as part of the deal. You also need to consider how much money, if any, you owe on your current vehicle. If you owe too much, then a trade might be out of the question. Whether or not you have the car’s title might be something to consider as selling a car when you don’t have the title can be nearly impossible in some states. This includes trading a car without a title as well.

In addition, you need to think about how comfortable you are negotiating a good deal for yourself. Getting a good deal at the dealer is likely to require some negotiation. However, if you want to just skip the hassle and go straight to the best price in town, you should just contact Auto Wranglers instead. You can even sell your old junker to us – try finding a dealer to buy that!