If you have equity in a car that you own, its trade-in value can count toward a down payment on your next vehicle. Of course, there is no way of knowing exactly how much you'll get for your car until it is appraised at a dealership. However, there are tools available that will give you a very close estimate.

It's good to research your vehicle's trade-in value before visiting a dealer. This way, you'll be more confident about getting a good deal on your trade-in when you go to purchase your next car.

Where to Find a Trade-In Value for Your Car

Vehicle Trade-In Value

Both dealers and lenders use one, two or all three of the recognized vehicle valuation guides. These include Kelley Blue Book, Black Book and NADA Guides. All three guides have websites that you can visit.

NADAguides.com is very useful when it comes to researching cars that you might want to buy. Here, you can find average prices for specific vehicles, compare car prices and even look for the best deals in your area. There is also a feature that will allow you to calculate monthly payments and determine a good price range for your budget.

BlackBook.com, on the other hand, is primarily for dealers and lenders. But if you search "black book value," other car-buying websites will come up. These sites offer trade-in value calculators that use current Black Book values in order to calculate how much a vehicle might be worth.

Kelley Blue Book's site, KBB.com, is by far the most useful for those who are looking for their car's trade-in value. Along with tons of car buying information and reviews, KBB.com offers a vehicle valuation tool. This tool will give you a fairly accurate estimate of what your car is worth as long as you are honest about its condition.

Here is the information that you will be asked to provide:

  • Year
  • Make
  • Model
  • Mileage
  • Category (If Applicable)
  • Trim Level
  • Options
  • Condition (Fair, Good, Very Good or Excellent)

To make it easier to be realistic about your vehicle's condition, the site features a "condition quiz" that you can take before clicking to get your result. Once all of your information is calculated, you will be given both a trade-in range and the most current trade-in value for your area.

Getting the Best Price for Your Trade-In

The amount that you'll receive for your trade-in will be largely based on its current book value. However, there are a few things that you can do to get the best deal possible.

  • Use good timing. If you don't need to purchase your next car right now, wait for the best season for your trade-in. For example, if you want to trade a convertible in, remember that there will be more demand for it in the summer. So you might get a better price if you trade it in during the month of June as opposed to October.
  • Wash your car inside and out. A dealer might be more generous with a vehicle that looks like it's ready to hit the showroom floor. Also, because your clean trade-in might save the dealership some work, you may get a little more money for your old car.
  • Make minor repairs. Just be careful with this one. Yes, fixing things that need attention may boost a car's trade-in value. But this increase may not cover the cost of the repairs. So focus on taking care of small things like wiper blades and headlamps.

Finally, once you're ready to trade your current car in on the purchase of your next vehicle, make sure that your financing is covered. This is especially important if you are dealing with credit issues.

Where to Find the Best Auto Loan Assistance

If you have bad credit or no credit and need to finance a car, Auto Credit Express can help. We can match you with a dealership in your area that can give you your best shot at auto loan approval. And our process is quick, easy and hassle-free.

We also charge nothing for the service we provide and you'll be under no obligation when you apply. So go ahead and fill out our simple and secure online application to get started today.