If you already have a car and are thinking about going to the dealership to talk about trading it in, you probably have a few questions! I’ve been through this process many times, so let me see if I can answer some of the most common questions you might have.
Most of the time, trading in a car is pretty easy, but there are a few things you should try to avoid.
Can You Trade In A Car With Expired Registration?
It’s not unusual to trade in a car whose registration has already run out. It’s always happening!
But doing so tends to lower the value of your car in the eyes of the dealership.
So, in some situations, it might make more sense to update your car’s registration before you talk about a trade-in.
The dealership sees time as money, so saving them time will make you more money.
Each state has its own rules about how to sell cars. But keep in mind that it is usually against the law to drive a car whose registration has expired. That means that if you do that, the police could give you a ticket or even arrest you if they catch you.
So, you might want to think about hiring a tow truck to get your car to the dealer in a legal way.
If you think you can roll the dice and risk taking a short drive to the dealer, you should know that many police departments now use laser scanners to read your registration information instantly while you’re driving.
That could mean that an automated system will send you a ticket in the mail in the future.
Even if you get to the dealer without any problems, they will probably have to pay to re-register the car, so they won’t give you anywhere near top dollar.
You should carefully look over your state’s motor vehicle laws to make sure you know all of the rules and what you can do. It wouldn’t hurt to do some research or call the department of motor vehicles in your state.
When you change who owns a car whose registration has expired, you may have to pay a fine in some states.
Let’s say your car doesn’t run or can’t be driven. In this case, you can often register your car with a non-operational title so that you don’t break any rules about registration.
Since the rules are different in each state, you’ll need to do some research. Even though your dealer can be helpful in a situation like this, don’t take everything they say as gospel.
You don’t want to ruin your decision to buy a new car by making a big mistake with the car you’re trading in. Again, look into it and ask questions!
Can You Trade In A Car With A Loan On It?
You can trade in a car that still has a loan on it, and it’s a common thing to do. Many people want to trade in a car they bought with a loan, but they still have to make payments on the loan.
If you still owe money on a car loan when you trade it in, I don’t think you’ll have any trouble. Let’s talk about why doing this isn’t a big deal.
Think of how much your car is worth as a credit toward a new loan.
If you have paid off the old loan, you can use the full value of the trade-in toward the cost of your new car. But if you still owe money on the car you’re trading in, that part of the loan is still your responsibility.
So, if the amount you still owe on your loan is less than what your car is worth when you trade it in, you’ll have some money left over. That’s like having money in your hand that you can use to buy something else.
If the value of your trade-in is less than what you still owe on your loan, you still have to pay the difference. Most dealerships will tell you that you can use the part of your old loan that you haven’t paid off yet as part of a new loan for a new car.
When you roll over a loan, you are basically adding the amount you still owe on your old loan to the amount you will owe on your new loan. The total amount is then spread out over the length of the loan. All of the payments are rolled into one monthly sum.
When you roll over a car loan, you should never stretch your budget too far. In a way, you will be paying for two cars at the same time. So, make sure you understand the terms and don’t take on more than you can handle.
If you can, you should try to avoid getting a loan where you have less money than what you owe on it. Your dealer can help you through the process, but keep in mind that they are in business to make money, not to protect your finances.
Make sure you look for a new car loan that fits your budget and that you get the most money for your old car when you trade it in.
Can You Trade In A Car With Negative Equity?
Yes, and it’s a pretty common thing to do!
Negative equity is when you owe more on your car than it is worth. When you trade something in, your old debt is often added to the financing agreement for your new purchase.
You’ll basically be paying off your old loan with the money you get from the new one. But, be careful. You can easily make a deal that not only raises your costs but also makes it harder to ever get to a point where you have more money than you owe. The last thing anyone wants is this.
There are a few things you can do to reduce the risks that come with having negative equity.
First, make sure you don’t just take your dealer’s word on how much your trade-in is worth. You can find out how much your car is worth from a number of reliable third-party sources.
Compare that to what the dealer is offering and what you can find online to make sure they are about the same.
This will also show you how much negative equity you really have. If you still owe $14,000 on your loan but your car is only worth $10,000, your total negative equity is $4,000.
You should also at least look into how much you could get for your car if you sold it on your own.
Most of the time, that number is a bit higher than what a dealer is willing to give you for your old car.
But that usually means you will have to do a little more work to get the word out about your car and fill out the necessary paperwork.
Now that you know the facts, you can ask your dealer for a better trade-in value. They probably won’t give you the full market value, but if you know the market price, you can negotiate with them a bit.
You can always think about buying a cheaper car to make up for the fact that you owe more than the car is worth. Or, if your current car works well for you, you might want to keep it until the loan is paid off.
Be careful about extending the term of the new loan, because that will probably put you back in the same negative equity situation when the new loan is over.
Everyone’s situation is different, so it’s important to look at your own and see what options you have. If your car is still running well, it might be a good idea to wait a little longer.
But if you are having trouble getting to work, you might have to give up something else to get that new car.
Only you know how much money you have and what you’re willing to give up. If you aren’t sure, just make an Excel sheet to compare prices and possible budgets.
Can You Trade-in A Car With Expired Tags?
To me, an expired registration and an expired tag are pretty much the same thing. If your licence plates have run out, it’s likely that your car’s registration has too. But you can trade in a car with expired tags, just like you can trade in a car with an expired registration.
I do think you should do some research to make sure you follow the laws of the state where you live and where your car is registered.
There are usually very specific rules about how to give back your licence plates, what happens if they or your registration expire, and what you have to do to keep your car insured.
Always check the laws where you live to make sure you don’t get in trouble with the law or get fined.
If you’re not sure what to do, you might want to call your car dealer. They have probably dealt with similar problems and might have some advice for you. They might even want to help you so they can sell you a new car and add your old one to their inventory.
Can You Trade In A Car With A Salvage Title?
Short answer: yes, you can trade in a car with a salvage title. But it could be pretty hard to do so. Most dealers won’t take salvage titles as trade-ins because they have lost some of their value.
Even if they trust you or have worked with you a lot in the past, they can’t really tell how likely it is that a car with a salvage title will need repairs in the future.
Since at some point the value of the car was less than what it would cost to fix it (which is why it has a salvage title), it is almost impossible to figure out what it is worth on the open market.
The dealer doesn’t want to be stuck with the bill if the car breaks down and can’t be fixed or sold.
They may also be afraid that no one will want to buy it from them because insurance companies aren’t likely to pay out much money in case of an accident. The value has been taken away.
Instead of trading in a car with a salvage title, you might do better to try to sell it privately.
But you shouldn’t be afraid to talk to your dealer about the options. Sometimes, they might have a mechanic or staff member who wants to try to fix a salvage car that they find appealing.
Can You Trade In A Car With A Cracked Windshield?
Yes, a car with a cracked windshield can be traded in. But you’re more likely to get a low-ball offer because the dealership may think the car hasn’t been taken care of well and will need more work before it can be sold again.
Most car buyers, whether they are private buyers or buying agents at a car dealership, will think that a cracked windshield means the car is in bad shape.
They are asking themselves, “If they didn’t fix the crack in the windshield, what else have they let go of?” Whether they are right or wrong, they are likely to think that you haven’t done much to keep the car in good shape.
So you should expect that the value of the trade-in will go down. A safety inspection is also required in some states.
If the crack in the windshield causes the car to fail inspection, the dealer will have to pay to fix it, so lowering the trade-in value helps them make money.
If the crack is small, it might be possible to fix it. But if it can’t be fixed, you should also know that replacing a windshield is often covered by your insurance policy, and you usually only have to pay a deductible.
Even if it isn’t covered by insurance or you have to pay for it out of your own pocket, a good windshield service company can probably replace your windshield for a reasonable price.
Some of them will even come to your house to do the work, which is very helpful. Your dealer might even be able to give you the name of a local company that can fix your windshield.
Can You Trade In A Car With Mechanical Issues?
Most of the time, an inspection is needed when you trade in a car. If that inspection finds problems with the car’s mechanics, the dealer’s offer will drop, especially if you tried to hide the problems from them.
You can trade in a car that doesn’t work right, and the old saying “honesty is the best policy” will help you get the most for your trade-in.
If you think your car has a problem, don’t hide it. It probably won’t help you if you act like it doesn’t exist.
Dealers will look at your trade-in car by looking at its history records through companies like Carfax and by using a scan tool to read any error codes stored on your car’s onboard computer.
Now, there are ways to hide problems with the car’s engine. For example, you can unplug the battery for a while and this will probably get rid of any error codes. Or, you can clean up oil that is leaking from a bad gasket and try to hide other mechanical problems.
But if the dealer finds out about your tricks during a trade-in inspection, he or she may not even make you an offer. How could they believe that you aren’t keeping something else from them? This is a risky thing to do, and you should only do it if the problem is small and doesn’t affect the car’s safety.
From an ethical point of view, it makes more sense to just fix things that are broken and not try to hide them.
Can You Trade In A Car With Damage?
Every day, cars with damage are bought and sold. Most cars get some scratches, marks, or small dents after a few years of use. No one has perfect luck when it comes to taking care of their car and keeping it in perfect shape. When it’s time to trade it in, small problems won’t have a big effect on the value.
But door dings from cars parking too close together, bumper scratches, and road rash on the wheels are not accidental damage. Your trade-in value will drop like a rock if your car has a big dent in the fender, a rusty quarter panel, or broken tail lights from an accident.
Use touch-up paint, paint-less dent repair, and eBay to help you. Fix small scratches, try to pop out small dents, or pay a pro a small fee to do it for you.
And look on the Internet to see if you can find a cheap replacement part for the broken tail light or the cracked bumper.
You might be surprised at how cheap it is to buy used and new parts of good quality online. Sometimes, you can even order body panels that are already primed or painted to match your car.
If you want to trade in your car, making sure it looks nice can make all the difference. You don’t want to miss out on a great deal on a new car because you didn’t get as much for your old one as you thought you would.
Can You Trade In A Car With A Check Engine Light On?
If your car has a check engine light (CEL) on and you want to trade it in, you should expect a low-ball offer.
When they see a CEL, dealers will think the worst. Even if it only means that one of the oxygen sensors is broken, they are likely to think that all of them need to be replaced.
And where one repair gremlin is, there are almost always more. So, when they do the math, they will err on the side of being careful with money. They don’t want to be left holding the bag if that CEL is just the tip of a bigger problem.
So, before asking about a trade-in, it’s often a good idea to have the CEL checked and fix whatever needs to be fixed. Instead of showing up with a mysterious CEL, you show up with a service record that shows a timely repair. This looks much better for you and your car.
And if you try to clear the code by unplugging the battery and the code still shows up on their scan, they will give you a pittance for your car. A little bit of preventive maintenance will probably help their offer grow a little bit.
When you trade in your car, you want to get the most value for your money. Because of this, you spent money on it, so it’s important that you take the time to make it look great.
You’re basically trying to sell something, so why would you sell something that isn’t good enough and cut into your own profits?