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Trading in a vehicle is considered part of the typical life-cycle for everyone’s set of wheels. That said, knowing where and when to trade your car in can significantly change the outcome for better or worse.

Dealership vs Junkyards

When it comes down to trading in your car, your primary option is taking your wheels to a car dealership. You want to focus on taking your car to a dealership of the same make or to a general used car dealer.

Dealerships specialize in buying and selling cars that are currently drivable. If your trade-in happens to not be a functioning vehicle, the dealers will offer you a lower trade-in value or turn you away outright.

Furthermore, when trading your vehicle into a dealership, it is an “unspoken but understood” rule of thumb that you’ll be purchasing your next car there.

man looking unsure

Junkyards, however, will accept your vehicle in any condition. Depending on the condition of your vehicle, you may even get more money for your car with them than at the dealership.

This is because junkyards recycle not only the metal in your car, but part out the reusable components to other customers.

It’s in your best interest to call around for quotes with junkyards. Some of them may offer different quotes based upon not only the make, model, and condition of your vehicle, but also it’s demand, metal prices, and time of year.


Our expert evaluators can help you get an accurate estimate for your car's value, FAST!

When Should You Trade In A Car?

man looking at documents

Determining when you should trade in your vehicle is just as important as choosing where to trade it in.

There are a few factors that have a direct impact on the trade-in value of your car and should be big deciding factors on when you should trade them in.

Low Mileage: Mileage is a chief determining factor when calculating vehicle depreciation. The dealership you visit will inspect the odometer reading and use that as a deciding factor for whether they accept the vehicle.

Consistent service records will definitely influence how much value your car retains, regardless of how many or how few miles are on it.

Equity: It’s best to trade your car in when you have positive equity on it. This will give you a surplus of money once the trade is finalized, which can then be deducted from the price of the new vehicle.

Trading in a car with negative equity is doable, but would immediately put you upside down on your auto loan. It should really be saved as a last resort!

When Repair Costs > Car Notes: If your repair costs outpace the total annual note on your car, then it’s probably a good time to trade it in. At that point, you’re sinking money into an investment that’s outlasted its worth.

Think Of The Best Place For A Trade-In…It’s Always CarBrain!

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CarBrain is your best bet when it comes to finding a place to trade in your car. As an online platform, CarBrain is easily accessible from the comfort of your home.

With our state-of-the-art valuation calculator and our incredibly trained Associate Buyers, we can kick back a quote for your vehicle within 90 seconds, completely free of charge.

After accepting that offer, we’ll connect you with one of our local Service Providers.

These verified partners can schedule a pick up of your vehicle within 24-48 hours of your connection. You get the amount you were quoted and your car gets towed away. No haggling. No hassling.

Contact CarBrain get started today!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is Trading In A Vehicle Worth It?

Trading in a vehicle might ease the workload on your part, as opposed to selling the vehicle to a private buyer. You may have to visit multiple dealerships before closing the deal at the one with the best deal!

Does Trading In My Car Get Me The Best Deal?

It’s not a guarantee that trading your car in will get you the most money for it. It’s more beneficial in the time-saving portion of the process. If money is your motivation, then selling it privately might be your best bet.
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