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How to Trade-In a Car With Problems

Trade-In a Car With Problems

We’ve all been there, right? Looking at a car sitting in your garage that has a number of issues, whether mechanical, electrical, A/C out of order or just flat out dead and wondering- can I trade in this automotive nightmare? While technically you may be able to trade in your old rust bucket, don’t expect to fill your wallet with anything more than a bill of sale.

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


The simple answer to this question is yes, you can trade in a car with problems to a dealership. However, your electrical, transmission, engine, AC or other car problems will only transform into another type of problem; money!


This article will go into further detail on what happens when you trade your car into a dealership and what other options exist for trading in your nonrunning car.

Is Your Car Worth Fixing?

Is Your Car Worth Fixing


If you are thinking it may be worth fixing your car before selling it or trading it in you may want to take a few things into consideration.


  • How extensive are the repairs that need to be done to your car?

If the repair you had was small enough to fix, you probably would have done the repair by now. You have put off the repair for a reason, and it is probably because it is a costly one. If you didn’t do it before, why do it now?


  • Will the repairs cost more than what your car is worth?

If your car is an older car, chances are the number of repairs needed to get your car in proper working condition will cost you more than what your car is actually worth. Like previously said, if the fixes were cheap and easy you would have done them already.


  • Will you lose money doing this?

If you were to choose to invest in your older car, you run the risk of actually losing money. In most cases, this is not a safe investment. Let’s say you have a car that needs $2000 worth in repairs after all that time and money invested you still may only receive $2500 as a cash offer. You have now lost money on your attempt to make more.


  • Do you have the time to invest?

Repairing a car is a timely and rather costly process. Repairs that seem easy often open the door to a number of undiscovered repairs that seem to magically appear just as quick as you see the money flying out your bank account. One thing leads to another when you start repairing a rundown car. Oh, the joys of being an adult.


If you are still having trouble deciding if your car is worth fixing or not thanks to the internet it is easier to give yourself a rough estimate. A great and useful website like RepairPal can help you calculate what repairing your car will cost. Remember, even with as useful as a website like this is, it cannot predict what hidden costs your car is most likely hiding.

What Is My Car Worth?


Before you decide what you want to do with your car it is best to assess what your car is actually worth first. Year, make and model are extremely important when determining the value of your vehicle. Is your car something that is desirable to the mass market? Or is it a gas-guzzling “antique” that no one is going to want to touch with a ten-foot pole? Reputable websites like Kelly Blue Book and Edmunds make estimating the value of your vehicle easier now than ever before. Keep in mind these are rough estimates, your car may be worth more or less. Value estimators are not concrete.

The Dealership Experience


For most of us, who want as smooth and least complicated a process as possible when trying to trade-in a car with problems our first thought is to offload it onto a dealership. Why this is our first thought is beyond me. This is by far the most complicated of all the options that we have available. The dealership is definitely an “experience” to say the least, an experience we most often would rather forget.


A dealership will always paint your situation out to be a perfect scenario, they will use buzzwords to get you onto their lot to hold you captive for hours on end and try to sell you on their latest and greatest profit machine. The dealership does not have your best interest in mind, their one and only concern is always profit. These tactics work against you, not for you.

Trading In A Car With Mechanical Problems

Trading In A Car With Mechanical Problems


If by chance you were lured in by the metallic banners and the tall inflatable dancing man and did decide to trade-in your vehicle at a dealership you might be wondering- what did they do with my car? Once a dealership has taken ownership of your vehicle they have done one of three things with it:


  1. Sell it wholesale

If you trade your car in to a dealership at does not match the make of the vehicle that you are trading in, there is a high probability your vehicle be sold wholesale to another dealership. For example, if you trade in a Honda to a Toyota dealership, there is a good chance that the Toyota dealer will sell the vehicle directly to another Honda store.

  1. Reconditioned the vehicle for resale

This really only happens on a select few vehicles that are traded in to dealerships.  Typically, the vehicle trade it in needs to be in an exemplary condition so that the dealership can display and then make an attempt to sell the vehicle for a profit.

  1. Sent off to an auction

There is a high probability that your vehicle be sold at auction if it comes to the dealership in a non-running state. Auction vehicles are typically not desirable for the dealerships to sell on their own lots to the rest of the buying public. These types of vehicles are often moved out of the country or sold at buy here pay here style lots in urban areas.

What If You Still Owe On Your Car?


Let’s say that your vehicle is now in a non-running state but you still owe money on your car. Unfortunately, this can happen to the best of us! You have a vehicle that is no longer running and that you were still liable to make payments on, it’s truly a terrible scenario. Typically a dealership will take in your vehicle if you owe money on it but only if you are trading that vehicle in for something newer.


Whatever is left on your loan after the dealership plus you for your non running car will be added on to whatever the loan is for the NEW vehicle. This will make the loan for your new vehicle more than what the newer vehicle is actually worth, which can be a major issue financially. This scenario is called being “upside-down” on your loan. You will also be paying interest on this amount as well.


So the simple answer is yes, I dealership will take your car on trade if you still owe money on it but at a great cost to you. If you are in a situation where you cannot pay off your loan in cash, trading in a vehicle that is upside down may be the only option for you.


What Are Alternatives To Trading In A Car With Problems?



The reality is you have several ways that you can get rid of a car that has problems. The main issue is that not all of these ways will get you paid what your car is actually worth and do so in a manner that does not cost you valuable time and effort. Selling a car, no matter if the car is a CPO car or car that is over 30 years old, can be a major hassle to undertake. You have to be diligent and be ready to deal with all types of personalities as well as people that want to flat out take advantage of you.


The following options are listed in order of how commonly they are typically utilized by people who are selling cars are not running or have major problems:


  1. Craigslist
  2. Junkyards
  3. Parting Out
  4. Donation


Let’s cover the top options as well as discuss an option that is not only way better than trading in a car to a dealer but also better than all methods listed above.

Selling A Car With Problems On Craigslist

Sell Your Car Online to CashCarsBuyers

Maybe you think trading in a car with engine problems is a worse idea than selling your car on Craigslist. Truthfully, this is an option that millions of people take every year. The Craigslist website is a free market place, located in every major metropolitan area throughout the United States. There’s no cost to use the service, which in the end is both a blessing and its curse. While you may be able to get a few more bucks selling your car on Craigslist versus other alternatives, the amount of time you’ll spend dealing with infamous Craigslist buyers may not make it worth it to you.


Much like a dealership, many people that buy and sell cars for a living are utilizing Craigslist to scout out vehicles. Their goal is to buy your nonworking car and then fix it and make it working so they can sell it for profit. These hunters will be looking to get a good deal for your car and will attempt to grind you down on price, which can be a major hassle. Craigslist also is full of people who are trying to scam you with a check frauds with promise from kings and queens from a faraway land. Yes, you heard me right. I know because it’s happened to me multiple times!


The only other alternative is to fix your car and sell it in good working condition. This presents another whole set of issues for you as the seller!


Selling A Car With Problems To A Junkyard


Let’s say your thinking of trading in a car with engine problems to a dealership. You know that this vehicle is so broken that, based on the above information, a dealership will most likely be auctioning off your car anyways. You figure it would be best to just simply go directly to the junkyard and attempt to get the cash you need, well think again. After dealing with the hassle of towing your car down to a junkyard, you will deal with the same type of switch tactics that dealership employees use on you and you will be paid minimally for your vehicle.


What About Selling Us Your Car With Problems?

Car For Sale tulsa

As we’ve seen, you are able to trade in a vehicle with problems to car dealership but not without a host of issues. However, that simple answer does not answer a full and complex question. There are many many things you need to consider before coming to the conclusion that selling your car to a dealership is a good idea. Frankly, it rarely is. The dealership process is designed to extract the most money out of you and it rarely  a complete benefit to your pocketbook.


Cash Cars Buyer buys all kinds of vehicles whether they are running or not! We will offer you a fair price for your car, pay you cash on the spot and even remove your car via tow truck if it is to the point of not being able to be driven. We utilize a network of car buyers who are willing to pay top dollar for solid cars, whether they are running or not.


So you can either hassle with a dealership, who has the main goal of hustling you out of money or you can rely on a trustworthy group of people who have been buying cars of all types for years. Get cash in your hand and get rid of your car that is no longer working – with minimal hassle to you. What could be better?


Give Cash Car Buyers a shot today!


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