How to Trade in a Car That is Not Paid Off?

salesman passing over new car key

When you’re ready to move on to a different vehicle in Tri-Cities and you’re not sure what to do with your current vehicle, you can easily trade it in to your local dealerships, like Camp Chevrolet. But what if the car isn’t paid off yet? Can you still trade it in? Yes, you can! The process can involve a few more steps, so let’s find out how to trade in a car that you still owe from our finance team below!

Do You Have Positive or Negative Equity?

Before you do anything else, you will want to see if you have positive or negative equity:

  • You have positive equity if your car is worth more than what you still owe.
  • You have negative equity if your car is worth less than what you still owe.

To calculate which equity you have, you’ll need to know how much you still owe on your current vehicle, how much the car is worth according to Kelley Blue Book® values, and how much you are getting from trade-in offers. If the offer is less than the amount you owe, then it is negative equity. However, if it is more than how much you still owe, then it is positive.

Your Options According to Your Equity

If you have positive equity, then you’re in the most ideal position in this situation as the trade-in process will still be fairly easy. You will be able to trade in your current Spokane Valley ride without owing any amount and you will even have some amount you can use towards your next car! However, if you have negative equity, you will need to consider your options and see which one will work best for your financial situation.

Trading in a Car with Negative Equity

If you have negative equity, here are two ways how you can trade in your car that is not paid off:

  • Make up the difference you still owe after accounting for the trade-in price. This is the first option you should consider since it can easily turn your situation for the better. While not everyone will have enough spare cash to do this, it will work in your favor if you do.
  • Another option is to transfer the amount you still owe over to a new loan. Most people choose this option when they have negative equity and want to trade in their current vehicle that’s not paid off. However, transferring the amount to your new loan can increase the monthly payment and in the end, you will still be paying for a car that you traded in. In other words, this will make you upside-down in your new loan. If you can’t keep up with your current car payments and you are downsizing with a cheaper car, this could be the best option for you. If you’re choosing this option, make sure you can keep up with the payments in the Post Falls area.

No matter which options you end up going with, Camp Chevrolet suggests you to always read the contract carefully before signing the new car loan.

Trade In or Sell Your Car to Camp Chevrolet

Let’s get you into a different vehicle, so you can enjoy driving around the Spokane area again! Contact us today to get started and if you’d like, learn how to sell a car in Washingon state or secure financing with less than great credit.


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