Trade-in versus selling: How to get the most for your used car

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Used Car

Trading in or selling your used car will get it out of your hair, but there are other options. Image: Flickr / hugo90 / CC-BY-SA

When time comes to get a new vehicle, you have a few options for what to do with your former vehicle. The two most common options are trading in your car or selling it privately.

Trade-in options

If you will be buying a vehicle from a dealership, trading it in can be the easiest way to deal with your old vehicle. When you are trading in a vehicle, you want it to be in good shape, both mechanically and visually. Spending a small amount of extra time and money to get your vehicle in good shape could pay off. Research the Blue Book value and be careful to not spend more than you will make in trade-in, but a vehicle in good shape will always be worth more to a dealer. Trade-ins are generally a day-of transaction that can be completed at the same time as the purchase of a new vehicle.

[Get a good trade-in deal at Springfield PA Dodge Chrysler Jeep.]

Private sale options

Selling your vehicle privately will almost always result in a higher dollar amount in your pocket than a trade-in. When selling your vehicle privately, you are investing more time and effort into the vehicle sale. You, however, are able to control the sales price, the advertising, and the amount of work done on the vehicle first. A private sale also means providing your information to the vehicle buyer, though law generally protects private sellers from lemon laws and implied warranties. Still, to be safe, it is often best to include an as-is clause in any sales contracts you write up.

Additional options

If you need to get rid of an extra vehicle, selling it or trading it in are not your only options. You can donate your vehicle to a variety of causes, including public radio or schools. Public radio donation programs let you donate your vehicle to a radio station and let the station sell it and use the money. Many local high schools and colleges also have vehicle-repair or shop classes that can make use of a used vehicle for teaching purposes. Be sure to get a receipt for the full value of the vehicle from whatever organization you donate it to.


MSN Autos

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