• Jonathan Cobb

Trade or Sell? Which is Best?

So it's time to get a new ride. Whether your current vehicle is about to die on you or you deserve something newer, you are tasked with deciding whether to trade it in to the dealership or just sell it yourself.

This can become a tough decision. Some consumers would rather just keep it simple and trade it in at the dealership even though they may not get as much money. The rest of the consumers will do the legwork involved in finding a buyer.

Let's take a look and help you make the choice.


Be prepared to make a significant effort, which could include putting up an ad, giving out your number, messing around with strangers, letting them test drive your car and haggle.

You'll usually get the most for your car, my guess is somewhere between retail and wholesale.

It's possible you might not be able to sell your current car until after you've bought the new one. In that case you wouldn't be able to use it as a down payment or worse have 2 car payments at same time until you sell it.

You may end up paying more sales tax on the new car since you won't be getting a tax credit for trading. Still a chance you come out ahead.


The easiest method to get rid of your current car. Just work it in the deal on the new car at the dealership.

You will get less money than selling it yourself. This is because you don't have to perform a 150+ point inspection, provide a warranty, fix some imperfections, tint the windows, pass state inspection, put on new tires if under 50%, etc.

You car traded in will act as a down payment on the new car so long as you don't owe more than it's current market value.

There's a tax advantage. Most states will only charge you tax on the difference between the new vehicle and the trade-in.

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