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I currently have this car which I have not had for more than a 4 months. Due to circumstances that arose between family I am now trying to trade-in in order to get a newer car under a different person. More so I want to know if I would be having to pay due to equity or if it would be a simple trade in.

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Jessica Howe, Automotive Expert & Coach at


Thank you for writing in. It is unlikely that you will get a straight trade in, unless you are able to get a vehicle of equal or lesser value. Any equity that you have in the vehicle will work to your advantage, assuming you owe less on the vehicle than it is worth. If you owe more than the vehicle is worth, or than the dealership is willing to give you for it, then you will likely have to pay something out of pocket. You will have to speak to the dealership you plan on visiting for more information. Good luck!

LeeAnn Shattuck, Chief Car Chick at The Car Chick

Your equity position will entirely depend on how much you still owe on the car vs. its currently trade-in value.  That will depend on whether you put money down when you purchased the car and how much, how long you financed the car for (a longer loan term will mean you have not paid much towards the principle on the loan), and how many miles you have put on the car.  Typically, if you only keep a car for a few month, you will have negative equity.  You purchased the car at a retail price and paid taxes and fees on top of that.  When you trade a car in, you are selling it at a wholesale price, which is usually a few thousand dollars less than retail.  You may be able to sell the car privately for what you owe on it to eliminate or minimize the negative equity.  

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