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Can You Trade in a Car with Body Damage? Is it Even Possible?

How To Sell A Damaged Car

If you're wondering, “can you trade in a car with body damage?” The short answer is that it depends. Every accident has its circumstances, and there is no way you can get a final answer by just saying your vehicle is damaged. 

⚠️ If It's Broken, Don't Fix It - Get Paid Cash for Your Vehicle ⚠️

It is not rare to deal with a damaged vehicle due to collision, hail, vandalism, etc. 

Unfortunately, once you get into this situation, it might not even be worth attempting to repair this vehicle because, in most scenarios, repair costs are close to 75% or more of your vehicle's value.

Luckily, this doesn't mean that you must keep driving this damaged vehicle because there is always a way to get rid of it.

Many people feel comfortable with trading in their cars to the dealership. However, when it comes to trading in a car with body damage, the process might be slightly challenging, especially if the damage was severe.

This article highlights all that you need to know to answer your question of “can you trade in a car with body damage?” Will go through the entire evaluation process of your vehicle and we will help you investigate the current market value of damaged cars.

Lastly, we will provide you with a guaranteed method to sell your damaged car even if a dealership did not accept it. 

Can you trade in a car with body damage? 

This is a great question because the first thing after an accident one might ask is, can you trade in a car with body damage.

The short answer to this question depends on the current value of your damaged vehicle.

You need to take into consideration several variables, including: 

  1. The collision security
  2. You are traveling at the speed
  3. Whether your airbags were deployed or not
  4. Your vehicle's mileage before the accident you paragraph the total number of vehicles involved in the accident
  5. How serious the damage was and whether it reached the frame or not
  6. Any other electrical or mechanical damages 

As you might notice, many variables need to be considered. Therefore, when someone asks you to trade in a car with body damage, there will be no exact answer until you understand all these rivals.

Therefore, your first step in understanding whether you can trade in a car with body damage or not is to understand your vehicle's value after the damage.

For example, the hail-damaged car trade-in value will be different from the paint-damaged car trade-in value. 

To get a good idea about your vehicle's current damaged value, you have a couple of options: 

  • Kelley Blue Book 

You could either try Kelley Blue Book online tool to input information about your vehicle type, condition, and any details about the car accident. 

The great thing about the skill book is that it will provide you with a minimum and maximum value for the vehicle that gives you a rough estimate of your car's good price.

Keep in mind that the KBB value represents your vehicle without considering the accident damage. Thus, once you get the KBB value, you might need to take half of it to represent your vehicle's real value if it's still drivable.

However, if your car got severe damages that might reach the frame, you might even need to drop to 1/4 of what KBB value is telling you. 

  • Cash Cars Buyer 

A second option would be to try Cash Cars Buyer online tool to input simple information about your vehicle type and condition. The tool will provide you with an immediate offer within just 30 seconds. 

One of Cash Cars Buyer's online tool's best features is that it considers all your vehicle details, and you don't have to worry about subtracting or dropping your vehicle's value after the accident. You can get an actual exact number about how much vehicles are worth. 

You can also get your offer verbally if you called Cash Cars Buyer’s customer service at (866) 924-4608.

Can you trade in a car with body damage? Your detailed guidance! 

Once you got an idea about your damaged car's worth, it's now time to follow these simple steps to trade your damaged car successfully.

Luckily, even if your car is damaged, it won't hurt to give it a try and check whether you can trade in a car with engine knock or ask a dealership about whether you can trade in a non-running car? 

The following steps will help you increase your chances of encouraging the dealership to trade in your car. However, these steps don't guarantee that the dealership will buy your car for sure because it depends on your vehicle's condition. For example, if your car is completely damaged, why would the dealership worry about buying it, especially if it's not highly demanded around your area. 

  • Take care of minor damages 


Yes, your vehicle got some severe damages during the car accident. However, we need to encourage the dealership to buy your car, and therefore, it won't hurt to spend some time and effort repairing minor damages.

It's never recommended that you take care of major damages that will cost you high repair costs.

A smart way would be to take care of minor damages without any insurance claims. Once you claim it to the insurance company, it will show up in your vehicle's VHR, which might affect the dealership's decision to purchase this vehicle. 

  • Clean up the vehicle 


Dealerships are great at negotiation and will pinpoint as many problems as possible in your vehicle to drop the price significantly.

However, the first impression is crucial in this process. Even with a very experienced salesman in the dealership, they get affected by looking at a cleaned vehicle that doesn't show many problems.

For example, if you do a detailed cleanup or probably car wax to your vehicle before visiting the dealership, it indicates that you've been taking care of what's under the hood even if the vehicle was involved in a car accident or was damaged due to hail or anything else. 

  • Get appraisals from multiple dealerships 


We understand that it's very challenging to convince the dealership to trade-in a damaged car. However, it is still worth getting at least three appraisals from different dealerships to understand whether you're getting a good deal or not.

Once you have these appraisals, if look at the situation and check whether you have your future brand new vehicle of choice in any of these dealerships.


It is recommended that you trade in your vehicle with a dealership that carries the same brand as your damaged car. 

  • Get the paperwork together and finalize the deal 


Hopefully, by now, you got a reasonable price from a dealership, and you ready to trade in your damaged car.

If that's the case, you need to make sure that you have all paperwork necessary, and therefore, we recommend that you visit your local DMV website and check whether you need to download specific forms or any other requirements in your state. 

Trading in a car with body damage – Reddit

When it comes to trading in a car with body damage, we always recommend that you look at other people's feedback and experience.

For example, you might find on Reddit some stories about people who had a very similar situation in trading in a vehicle with the same type and probably condition as yours.

Check out what these people have to say about their experience. Nothing is better than listening to real stories from actual people because they go into the details that no one might think of except the one who went through the process. 

Can you trade in a car with body damage? FAQs

As we've highlighted earlier, body damage issues can differ from vehicle to vehicle, and not every situation is the same.

Therefore, we would like to cover some basic questions we frequently received about “can you trade in a car with body damage?” 

  • Should I repair my car before trading it in?

It depends. If you can take care of minor repairs without claiming to the insurance company, this benefits you and increase your chances of encouraging the dealership to accept your vehicle.

However, some repairs might be major, and it can be not worth the repair, especially if they cost you more than 75% of your vehicle's worth.

Some recommendations are to “Clear check engine light before trade-in,” although we recommend that you be cautious about how much to spend on clearing the check engine light before trading in. 

  • How much does body damage affect car value?


Body damage could affect your vehicle's value significantly, and don't be surprised if your vehicle's price dropped up to 33%, if not more.

Some vehicle prices drop up to 50% just by getting involved in one car accident in some scenarios. It would be best to consider other variables in your evaluation, including your vehicle's mileage parrot the car accident that could also affect the drop in your vehicle's overall value after the accident. 

  • Will CarMax buy a car with body damage?


Yes, CarMax will buy your car even if it has body damage. However, if your vehicle is not repairable, CarMax will not resell it to other customers. Instead, CarMax will select tool-used car auctions.

Keep in mind that, in general, CarMax is not providing the top offers. Imagine if you ask them to buy a vehicle with body damage, the price can be significantly lower and much lower than the used car market value. 

  • Should I sell my car to CarMax vs. a dealer?


It depends on your goals and needs. For example, if you would like to complete most of the process online, CarMax is a great option for you.

Another great thing about CarMax is that it can connect you to a long chain of dealerships around your area, where you can walk in and get more details.

However, CarMax is known for providing low prices and much lower than the used car value. Thus, if you got a good deal from a local dealership that is not connected to CarMax, this might be your best option. 

The dealer won't take my trade-in; what do I do?

What if the dealership did not accept your vehicle? What are your other choices? Can you sell a damaged car?

Selling a car with paint damage should not be a big challenge because you might still find an interested private buyer. How about a vehicle with significant damages? Will we also get a good chance of finding the right buyer?

Long story short, if you have a vehicle with any damage and you're worried about who might accept it, your best option would be Cash Cars Buyer.

Cash Cars Buyer guarantees to buy your vehicle no matter what! We will come to your house or office and remove your vehicle within one to three days, even if it has significant damages and doesn't even drive.

We will provide you with a fair offer representing the actual worth of your car in your area. Thus, don't worry about the fair price, you will always find it! 

Our process is straightforward. All you need to do is describe your car team, receive your offer and accept it, schedule a pickup time and location, get your vehicle removed, and receive your cash payment immediately on the spot! 

One of the best features of odds is companies that would provide free tooling for old customers despite their living location around the United States! We will never change our offers at the pickup time; whatever we promised you at the beginning represents the actual cash you will get!

To get more details about our process, give our team a call at 866-924-4608 or visit our home page and click on the free instant online offer. Our process is explained in detail in this link

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