You can trade in a car with problems, but don't expect to get the most value out of your trade-in if you do. Let's look at some questions you should ask yourself if you're thinking of trading in a vehicle with problems.

Is Your Vehicle Beyond Repair?

Trading in a Car with ProblemsWhether or not the dealership you're working with takes your trade-in is up to the dealer, and if they do take it, know that it's best to be upfront about any issues.

If the condition of your car is severe, such as extensive body damage due to an accident or it being non-running, you should evaluate whether it's worth taking to the dealership. In these cases, it's difficult to tell if the dealer is going to be able to repair the vehicle and then resell it for profit. If this isn't possible, you're not likely to get much more than you would at the scrap yard.

Not all dealerships accept cars that don't run. Many dealers that do accept them advertise "push, pull, or drag" events, where they invite customers to bring their trade-ins no matter the condition. However, you may find prices on the vehicles these dealerships are selling to be a little high because they're often raised to compensate for the loss on trade-ins.

How Much Should You Expect from Your Trade?

To estimate the trade in value of your car, the first place you should look is online. Using valuation websites such as can give you a good jumping off point. Mind you, these sites are only going to give you a broad estimate. An exact value for your vehicle can only be given at a dealership, once they appraise your car.

Since dealer appraisals are likely to vary, it's a good idea to get at least three different quotes if you want to get the most out of a damaged trade. Dealerships typically give you a price quote that's good for around seven days, which allows you time to shop around for the dealer that can give you the most money.

One tip: make sure you bring your vehicle to at least one franchised dealership that sells the same brand as your trade. They can often give you a better quote than an off-brand or a non-franchised dealer.

Do You Still Owe on Your Trade?

If your car is still financed, you have to pay off your current loan before taking on another one, and that may be difficult to do with a damaged or non-running vehicle. Depending on your situation, you may find that you owe more on the loan than the car is worth. If this is the case, it means you have negative equity and have to make up the difference between your loan amount and what your trade-in is worth out of pocket.

The new lender may allow you to roll over negative equity into the loan. This option isn't always available. But, if that's what you're hoping for, make sure you take your vehicle in for an appraisal at a dealership that has the type of cars you're considering.

Do You Need to Find a Dealership?

Finding the right dealership to meet your trade-in needs, as well as your future vehicle needs, can be tough. If you've been going from dealer to dealer with no luck finding one willing to work with your credit situation, it's time to let Auto Credit Express step in. We work with an extensive network of special finance dealerships all across the country with a wide range of lenders that can work with borrowers with imperfect credit.

These lenders look beyond credit scores to approve car buyers based on factors such as income, employment, and residency. Don't hesitate any longer – simply fill out our easy online auto loan request form, and we'll get to work matching you with a local dealer today!