car trade-in

How Do Vehicle Trade-Ins Work?

When you're ready to purchase your next vehicle, you may wonder what to do with your current ride. You could take the time and effort to sell it yourself, finding a willing buyer and handling all the paperwork yourself.  You may save yourself the hassle and consider trading your old car into the same dealership that owns your new purchase. With a trade-in, your old car's value will go toward the cost of your new car, defraying the cost of your down payment and possibly lowering the cost of your auto loan and subsequent monthly payments.

Before you trade in your vehicle, do a little research first. You can look up the fair market value of your current car at Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds. These companies take into account factors such as your auto's make, model year, mileage, equipment, and condition. Be realistic about the condition of your car. Very few vehicles will be in "excellent" or "outstanding" shape, especially if you've been driving the car every day for the past few years. Once you've got a price range for the value of your automobile, you'll have a better idea if the dealer's offer is a fair price.

Next, make an appointment with the dealership to have your vehicle appraised. The dealer's appraisers will conduct an assessment of your car and make an offer for what they're willing to pay for it. Not every dealer is going to quote you the same price, so it can be beneficial to shop around and see what other dealers can offer you. Most dealers won't offer as much money for your ride as a private seller might, but trading your vehicle offers freedom from the time and hassle of a private sale.


When you're ready to seal the deal, here's the best part of trade-ins — the dealer will handle all the complicated paperwork from here. And as a bonus, in North Carolina, the value you received from your trade-in isn't subject to sales tax, which will lower the total amount of tax you'll pay on your new car.


Purchasing a vehicle can be a confusing process and AAA is here to help. Call 1-866-710-6226 to learn more about AAA Auto Buying Service, finance, and maintenance plans. You can chat with our experts online or let us know what you are looking for and we will contact you. Whether you're in the market for a new or pre-owned vehicle, AAA Auto Buying makes car buying easy. 






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