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Can You Trade in A Broken Car? Here Is the Details Answer! 

Can You Trade in A Broken Car? Here Is the Details Answer! 

If you're wondering, “can you trade in a broken car? The short answer is yes. However, if your car is deemed as salvage or an insurance write-off, the dealership might not accept it. 

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE


Trade Ins are a great options for those who don't prefer to deal with strangers coming to their private property or would like to get rid of their vehicles fast and safe.

However, when dealing with broken cars, the process can be very challenging because most dealerships are only looking for repairable cars.

Luckily, even if your car has major damages but is still repairable, the dealership will buy it, especially when you're selling a high demanded vehicle.

This article will walk you through all the necessary details you need to keep in mind when trading in a broken car. We will also provide you with a better alternative if you were not successful in trading in your vehicle. 

Is it better to fix a car before trading? 

One of the first things you need to ask yourself before trading in your car is whether it's worth fixing it or not.

It is a great idea to consider some minor repairs before trading in your vehicle. However, you need to be mindful about what's considered OK versus what's considered too many repairs.

To put it simply, do the basic math. For example, if you own a 2012 Ford Focus and this vehicle is worth $6000. The vehicle requires about $3000 on repairs. Ask yourself the question: well, fixing my car brings its value up to $9000? If not, then don't do it.

As a rule of thumb, if repair costs are getting closer to 75% or more from your vehicle's value, it is not recommended to fix it even if you would like to keep this car and drive it. Imagine when trading it in to a dealership?

Dealerships are known for underestimating the vehicles. Thus, when you spend too much time, money, energy fixing the car, you need to keep in mind that you will not get what you're hoping for from the dealership at the end of the day. 

So, if it's even worth fixing a car when selling it to a private buyer, it might not even be worth it when you're trading it in. 

Why is trading in a broken car hard? 

Dealing with broken cars is not easy because you won't find many options to accept your vehicle, unlike regular used vehicles.

Even if some dealerships accept your broken car, you will not get the best value because they have to spend a lot of money on repairs and subtract this money from the final value you will get.

Furthermore, if your car is considered an insurance write-off or a salvage vehicle, the dealership might not even accept it.

When dealerships buy broken vehicles, there hoping that these vehicles are repairable, in other words, your dealership will not accept your car if it's in a terrible condition or if it's considered junk because no one would want to buy this car. 

If you got into a situation where the dealership will not accept your car, your best option is to try cash for cars programs like Cash Cars Buyer. 

Can you trade in a car that needs repairs? 

In general, yes, you can. However, if your car is not repairable or deemed as insurance total loss, salvage, or insurance right off, dealerships will not accept it.

Every dealership is required by law to fix any major problems in the vehicle before selling it to any potential buyer. Thus, even if your dealership accepted to buy your car that needs repairs, consider that they will subtract the repair costs from the overall offer that you will get. 

Therefore, if your primary goal is to get rid of this car, dealerships might accept your vehicle regardless of its condition. However, if your goal is to get the full money out of this car, you might need to try a different alternative like Cash Cars Buyer. 

How can you trade in a broken car? 

If you decided to proceed with trading it in your car to a dealership, you need to understand how this process works in detail.

Let's take a look at how the process works

  • Understand your vehicle's value 

Before you even reach out to any dealership, it is recommended that you be upfront with yourself and understand your car's real value.

Sometimes, when you own a vehicle for a long time, you will think it is still in good condition, like when you first purchase it.

However, that's not the case.

A good approach to get an idea about how much your car is worth is by looking into some online tools. For example, you can either reach out to Kelley Blue Book instant cash offer or Edmunds online tool that provides you with a minimum and maximum range for your vehicle's value.

The nice thing about these tools is that they also provide you with a trade-in value to compare how much profit you could get when selling this car to a third party versus trading it into a dealership. 

Having a number in the back of your head helps you determine when you have a good deal versus when your vehicle is underestimated.

  • Get your vehicle ready 

Determining the exact amount of work you need to put towards this vehicle depends heavily on your vehicle's condition.

For instance, if your car is suffering from a bad transmission or a faulty engine, repairs will require professional mechanic assistance. Therefore, repair costs are going to be very high. Thus, it might not be worth fixing these major problems.

Also, the first impression is very important for selling a car or even trading it in. You don't want to show your car when it's dirty to any dealership. Spend some time cleaning it up and removing any trash. It doesn't hurt to wash soap the interior and exterior before showing his vehicle to the dealership.

It is also recommended that you make sure that all fluids levels are topped up. Although the dealership will top up any necessary fluids, when they see that your vehicle has insufficient fluid levels, it gives him an indication that you don't take care of this car and what's under the hood might have major problems. 

Also, take care of any warning lights if you can. Warning lights raise a lot of red flags indicating there are major issues in your vehicle. First, if you can clear these warning lights out and take care of any minor problems, it will boost your chances of getting a much higher offer. 

  • Prepurchase inspection 

The first step in training in a broken car is for the dealership to inspect your car. If your car has any minor repairs, they might not even mention it. However, if your car has major repairs, your overall appraisal might be affected.

It is very important to be upfront with your dealership and provide them with all details necessary describing your vehicle's damages. This is because the dealership finds out all problems in your car, and if you did not provide them with the details, they might not provide you with the top offer. 

  • Shop for multiple offers 

Automotive experts suggest that you shop for at least three appraisals from different dealerships. This is because you will have the chance to understand what's the real worth of your car.

In some scenarios, even if the dealership does not have the vehicle of your choice that you're looking to purchase, it is also a good idea to get an appraisal from them. If their appraisal is much higher than the dealership that owns a vehicle you're looking for, you might use this as a tactic to encourage the other dealership to provide you with a higher offer. While this tactic might work in some scenarios, it might not work all the time. 

It is also recommended that you trade-in your car to a dealership that does not carry the same brand. This is because you won't have five different vehicles competing with your car to treat dealerships lot. 

  • Evaluates the appraisal 

Once you get the appraisal from your dealership, it is now your turn to evaluate the offer. If you notice that your vehicle has major issues and repair costs will exceed its value, the dealership will not even accept it, or in some scenarios, they might not pay you what you're looking for. 

Once you get an idea about how much profit you're going to make out of this car, you need to evaluate how much profit you can make when selling this vehicle to a different dealership and a different car selling method.

For example, cash-for-cars programs like Cash Cars Buyer might pay you much more than what the dealership will give you. In that case, you'd better sell your car to a third party and then bring its value towards your brand-new vehicle without the trade-in process. 

  • Finalize the deal and keep copies of paperwork 

once you're happy with that offer come up it is very important to make sure that you sign all necessary paperwork.

Although dealerships are usually great at knowing what's necessary in your state, it is also your responsibility to review your local DMV website and make sure that you follow all necessary paperwork.

Once you finish the deal, make sure to keep copies of what got into the deal. Since you're dealing with a broken vehicle, sometimes you never know what happens to this car and therefore, make sure that you have all your paperwork handy in a safe place. 

When should you not trade-in your car? 

There are situations where it's never recommended to trade in your car no matter what. These situations are more likely associated with very limited to no profit.

For example, if you just purchased a brand-new car, it is never recommended to trading in for any reason. This is because brand new vehicles depreciate by about 10 to 20% immediately after leaving the parking lot.

If you realize that the dealership will not provide you with the offer you're looking for, and repair costs are getting closer to the vehicle's value, it is not recommended to trade this vehicle because you can make some money out of his car even if it's completely damaged. For example, you can sell it to a car removal company like Cash Cars Buyer, or you can't sell it as parts and make some money. 

What if the dealership did not accept my broken car? Do I have any other options? 

As we mentioned earlier, there will be a situation where the dealership might not accept your vehicle, especially if it's considered as salvage or deemed as a write-off.

In that case, we recommend that you get in touch with Cash Cars Buyer.

Cash Cars Buyer is one of the top-rated car removal companies in the nation that guarantees to buy your car no matter what.

We also buy vehicles even if they don't have a title.

Our company provides the top offer for your car in your area, and we provide you with free towing no matter where you're living around the United States! 

Our process is very simple and doesn't take more than the following steps:

  • Provide a basic description of your car's type and condition. We will need to help your vehicles, additional details about your vehicles specific problems is also great
  • Receive, review, and accept or instant offer that is usually generated within 30 seconds. The offers represent the maximum dollars your people can make around your area 
  • Schedule a pickup time and location that works for your schedule
  • Get your vehicle removed safely
  • Receive your cash payment immediately on the spot! 

If your vehicle does not have a title, asking to provide we decided to go with cash payment to reduce the hassle in the car selling process, especially those associated with checks bouncing back from your bank account. 

If you would like more details about our process, you can always give us a call at 866-924-4608 or visit our home page click on the free instant online offer