How to Trade in Cars for Cash

How to trade in cars for cash

When we decide to buy a new car or need money for financing for other costs, or when we don’t need the old car anymore, selling the car is a quick and easy way to earn money. The trade-in value of the used car is determined by the car’s fitness, features, mileage, and what year the car was manufactured. Before your next car purchase, selling off your used car can help finance your new car. A lot of us prefer to trade in cars for cash.

If you are trying to get a good amount in return when you do trade your car for cash, you should follow some strategy. Strategy is a prerequisite of smart business. Before taking your car to the dealership, you can prepare the vehicle, take notes about the condition, and even look up car pricing concepts and possible offers.

What is Meant by Trading in Cars?

When you decide to buy a new car, let’s assume the price of the car is $25,000, and under the trade-in offer from the dealer, your used car is valued at $5,000, and the new net cost will be $20,000. The net price has to be financed by cash or through a bank loan. Depending on the state you bought the car, the sales tax will be calculated against the net price you are paying.

In this case, if you don’t agree on the trade-in value of your old car set by the dealer, you can sell the car by other means. You can find your used car’s fair price via online resources. The trade-in value is determined by the dealer, and they often give a chance to trade in credit. But many people trade their old cars for cash.

Get an Instant Cash Offer for Your Car

You can trade in your car online, and there are services that help you sell your used car with an instant offer. Such sites will ask a few questions about the old vehicle, such as license plate number, and give you an offer on your car. Each car has a VIN (vehicle identification number), you enter the number and answer the questions regarding the vehicle title, the mileage, etc., and you will receive instant offers from local dealers through the websites.

The price depends on the overall market data at the period of time. After you confirm one of the car pricing from the offers, you schedule an inspection of the car with the local dealership. Finally, when you and the dealership are agreed with the used car sales deal, you can trade in the car to buy a new car or receive a check as payment.

Trade in your car

When Do People Trade in Cars?

Although the car might have some defects due to its usage over the years, there is still some value salvageable from the old vehicle. People want to trade in their old cars because of a dead battery, bad brakes, broken transmission, body damage, fuel system issues, etc. The dealerships can accept the car for trade despite the issues mentioned here and others.

When they become aware of such issues with the car, the trade value will decrease, as expected. If there are no mechanical issues, the car will be evaluated against the average price of similar cars in the used car market. Due to the increase in gas prices, lighter cars have become more valuable than they used to be. As days go by, electric cars are getting more and more popular in the used car market.

How to Trade in Cars for Cash

Trading in cars for cash opens more avenues for reaching potential buyers. The car can be sold to dealerships, online, to neighbors, private buyers, etc. After you and the buyer are done with the car trade, you should pay the tax and do a vehicle registration for the new owner.

Ensure Car Value and Appraise the Condition

You will only be able to ask for a good price when you know the worth of the car that you are trading. There are websites that calculate vehicle prices easily. You have to contact different dealers to check what others are willing to pay in cash for your car. It is a good idea to professionally appraise your car to get a better idea about its value.

Prepare Well

Before the inspection of the potential buyer, you make sure the vehicle is in the best possible condition. For example:

  1. Ensure the headlight bulbs are fully charged.
  2. Make the interior of the car clean.
  3. Remove scratches from the body
  4. Wash and wax the exterior
  5. Remove all of the fluids

The car will be evaluated by the buyer, and they will try to test out the vehicle. Making a good first impression will increase the chance of being sold at a good price. Going through these additional tasks can increase the trade value of the car.

Prepare the car well before taking to the dealer

Sell Online

To sell your car online, you can reach out to online services. Online services give you an instant quote on your used car. You will be asked a few questions about your car in an interactive questionnaire. After that, you will receive a quote from local dealerships. Such online services are:

  • Zippy Cash for Cars: This website will buy almost all types of old and damaged vehicles for cash. They promise smooth and hassle-free transactions to their customers, as well as their sellers.
  • CarBrain: This is one of the largest and most well-known dealerships that trade in cars for cash. They have a lot of physical shops around the country, and they provide in-person appraisals before buying the car.
  • Driveway: Driveway also offers cash for used cars with just the basic information about the car. If you accept their offer, they even send tow trucks to pick up the car!
  • KBB: This one is the most used third-party car transaction market. They provide price calculations and instant match-up with potential buyers.
  • Edmunds: Another very popular dealership that happily accepts vehicles that need repairs. You can contact them through the website and ask for a quote. They are a great place for individuals to trade in their cars.

Sell to a Private Buyer

Buyers can be found on the hobbyists and enthusiasts market. They are interested in the vehicle due to its parts, or they need the vehicle for their hobby or a collection project. Posting ads on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist will get you to easily contact such buyers.

Selling to private buyers has some downsides. If the buyer does not have experience buying old cars, you have to vet them before they come to see the car personally. There are also possibilities they inspect the car, test drives it, and later decide not to buy the car.

Sell to a Junkyard

If the car is heavily damaged, not repairable, or no dealership agrees to buy it, you can sell it to the junkyards and scrapyards. Cars that are very old and have rare parts have no other option but to sell them for scraping. The metals and parts can be recycled from the vehicle.

Take it to Dealerships

Trading in the used car with the dealerships will become quicker if you bring the car to the dealership and get a price offer. Thus, you don’t have to schedule an inspection for the car. The car dealers have to make the car good enough before they can put it on sale. The car you sell thus will not be the same value as the similar car you find on the market for sale. The cost of improving the car’s condition and profit will be added.

Problems in Trading Cars for Cash

Selling your car for cash has some downsides, too, such is due to the trade-in price may be lower than you expected. You have fewer negotiating opportunities. The offer price you get for trade-in may not consider the repair costs you bear to make the car usable. And there’s always a chance that the dealer may not want the car. Being an old car, the car’s value basically becomes what the dealer is willing to give you.

The value of the car depends on the buyer


There is always an avenue to sell your car. Be it damaged, old, or cleaned as if it was a new car. The closer the car’s condition is to a new car, the more likely your chances of trading the car for more cash. Try all of the options described in this article to trade the car off for the maximum cash possible. Also, observe the increase or decrease of the used car demands on the market and trade-in when the used car cost is on the rise.

Knowing the three w’s of selling a car is very important when you want to trade in your car. What your car is worth, to whom you are selling, and when you are selling. If you have clear answers to all three questions, then you can proceed with the transaction. Just be sure to do your research to get the best return on your vehicle.

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