What Is the Trade in Value of My Used Car?


Trading in a used car is a simple way to get rid of an old car when purchasing a new one from a dealership. The dealership takes the used car and applies its value to the purchase of a different car.

For example, if your trade-in is worth $6,000, your cost for a new vehicle would drop from $20,000 to $14,000.

Value of My Used Car


Estimate Value

Many websites offer calculators that estimate a particular vehicle’s trade-in value. Before going to the dealership to trade in a vehicle, look up the value of the vehicle on at least two reputable websites.

Enter as many details as possible, such as the car’s mileage and special features, and make an honest assessment of the car’s condition to get the most accurate estimate possible.



Auto dealerships are sometimes willing to negotiate on the trade-in value of the car. This is why getting an estimate of the car’s value before going to the dealership is so important. If the trade-in amount offered seems too low, ask for 10 percent more.

If the salesman seems unwilling to budge, ask to see a list of recent auction prices for similar vehicles at dealer auctions. As a last resort, go to another dealership. The value might be low at a dealership that already has a few similar used vehicles on the lot.


Boosting the Value

The most significant way to boost a used car’s trade-in value is to present the car in top condition. The interior and exterior should both look clean, and the interior of the car should be free of odors.

An oil change and tune-up before visiting the dealership can ensure the car is running as well as it can. Dealerships consider the cost of bringing the car to its top condition when negotiating a trade-in value.



A car’s private party value is typically higher than its trade-in value. This is because dealerships need to mark up a used car’s price before selling it in order to make a profit.

In a private party sale, the price is usually between the trade-in value and the cost to purchase the used car at a dealership.

Although selling a car to a private party requires some work to place ads and meet with prospective buyers, the sale price can be 20 percent more than the car’s trade-in value.



When Buying a New Car

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