How Long Should You Keep a Car Before Trading It In?

Realistically, you can trade in a car at any time, but in order to get the most bang for your buck, there are several things to consider when it comes to timing. Yes, you can trade in a used car, truck, minivan or SUV without equity, but financially, this may be a huge risk and cause you to overpay for your next vehicle.

What can you do besides selling your vehicle?

Learn more about how timing, value and cost affect trading in a car, truck or SUV.

What Factors Affect Your Trade-In Value?

Before deciding to trade in a used car or truck, it’s important to know what factors can impact the trade-in value that dealerships offer. While it’s no secret that many new cars depreciate as soon as you pull off the dealership’s lot, over time, depreciation can slow down and may not affect your trade-in value as much as you might think when it comes time to get cash for your car.

However, there are three primary factors that will affect the value of your used car.

  • Cash Value: Most dealers appraise your vehicle to determine its value. These estimates are based on reliable sites, such as Edmunds or Kelley Blue Book. You can prepare yourself by researching the value before you head to the dealership to trade in a used car or logging on to valuation sites, such as NADA guides.
  • Condition: The condition of your vehicle also impacts the trade-in value. For instance, if you have a few dents or dings, rips to the upholstery and stains, you may receive a lower trade-in value for a used car or SUV. Mileage also affects trade-in value. The higher the mileage, the lower your used car for sale is often valued.
  • Vehicle Equity: When you have equity in a vehicle, this means that you owe less on your vehicle loan than what the used car for sale is valued. However, if you owe more than what a dealership is willing to give you when trading in a used car, this means that you have negative equity. In many cases, negative equity can hurt you financially in the long run. Some car buyers choose to roll this negative equity into a new car loan, but in some cases, banks or lenders are unwilling to do this.

Options for Trading in a Used Car With Negative Equity

When deciding when to trade in a used car, it’s necessary to evaluate your options if you have negative equity.

  • Wait to Trade In A Vehicle: Although this may not be a popular choice, many times, it’s more financially smart to wait to trade in a used car if you are upside down. Consider putting more money down on your existing loan and wait until you have enough equity to trade in a used car or truck.
  • Roll Over the Negative Equity: If a lender agrees, you can possibly roll over the negative equity into a new loan. However, know that by doing this, you end up paying for both your new loan and the remaining balance on your old loan.
  • Put Down More Money: Instead of rolling over the negative equity or putting down money on a new vehicle, you could trade in a car and pay off the difference you owe on the existing car loan. This way, you won’t be starting off a new vehicle loan with an old balance. In some instances, you could also take out a private loan to offset the negative equity, but it’s crucial to evaluate the interest rates to see if this puts you in a positive financial situation.

Why Choose Don’t Trade It In

Don’t Trade It In One of the best alternatives to rolling over negative equity or trading in a used car with a loss is to NOT trade it in at a car dealership. Instead, consider the benefits of working with Don’t Trade It in. We are a nationwide, premier car-buying firm who prides itself on providing consumers with fair values for their used cars for sale. And, we can provide you with cash upfront to pay off your existing car loan. Whether you have a used truck for sale, a used Jeep for sale or a used minivan for sale, simply log onto our website, upload photos and vehicle information on our online form and our team will promptly get back to you with a fair-value offer for your used car for sale. We get it. It’s tempting to trade in a car at a local dealership, but in the long run, you’re probably going to lose more of your hard-earned cash. Let Don’t Trade It In indulge you with a fair value for your used car for sale that allows you to upgrade to a premium model, pay off some bills or take that vacation you’ve dreamed of taking.

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