How Does It Work When Trading In a Car?


You’re ready to get rid of your current car and get yourself a new one. For many vehicle owners, there’s nothing easier than trading in a car to a local Denver dealer. That way, you avoid the time and effort it takes to list, find a buyer and sell your vehicle online; plus, dealers today are working to make the trade process fast, easy and transparent.

Before you visit the dealer, be sure to take these important steps:

  • Use online tools to appraise your car’s value. and are two great resources to appraise your trade-in’s value.
  • Be honest with yourself about your car’s trade-in condition. The more forthright you are when using online appraisal tools, the better off you’ll be when it comes time to trade it in. Very often, people come into the dealership with an overly-optimistic idea of what their car is worth, only to find that reality is less optimistic.
  • Give your trade-in curb appeal.
    • Clean the exterior and interior well.
    • Remove small dents.
    • Fix window glass defects.
  • Bring all vehicle paperwork with you. You will need:
    • Certificate of title (if you don’t have it, the DMV can tell you how to get it replaced). Note: if you have an outstanding loan on the vehicle, this will not apply since the bank has your certificate of title.
    • Current registration.
    • All your car keys and the owner’s manual.
    • If you still have a loan on the car, you’ll need to have your account number or a payment stub.
    • Maintenance records. These help support your claims about whatever prior damage your car has had and the repairs it has undergone.

When you arrive at the dealership

Inform your salesperson that you will be trading in a car. The salesperson will likely take down some of your information, then either the salesperson or a manager will perform a visual inspection of your vehicle, record the vehicle identification number and run the number through a vehicle history database to check its records.

The salesperson or manager may take your car for a quick drive to see how it runs.

Getting your trade-in offer

The trade-in offer you receive will depend on several factors, but mostly it will rely on the price being sought for similar vehicles at auction. Other possible factors include whether or not the dealer has similar cars on the lot already, the condition of your vehicle and whether the dealership needs to make any repairs to make your trade-in ready for other buyers.

Since you’re trading in your car in order to buy another one, negotiating the price for your trade-in will include the car you’re buying.

Paying off your trade-in’s loan & finishing up your deal

When you’re trading in a car, there may be a little more wiggle room on your trade-in value against the price of the car you’re hoping to buy.

When the amount you owe on the car is less than the trade-in value, the process is pretty straightforward. Say you still owe $5,000 on your car and a dealer offers you $6,000 for it as a trade-in. The dealer pays off the $5,000 loan for you and then you transfer ownership of the car to the dealer. You can use the difference (in this example it’s $1,000) as a down payment on the car you’re buying.

When the amount you own on the car is more than the trade-in value, the dealer still pays off your loan. This leaves a balance due to the dealer which you can either pay cash for, or sometimes, roll that amount into the new loan you’re getting on the new car. Various factors like creditworthiness, terms and payment amounts govern which options you’ll take.

Dye Autos helps people like you trade-in their cars and trucks everyday! Give us a call at (303) 286-1665 or contact us >>here<<. We’ll help you navigate the process of trading in a car and get you into the car of your dreams.