How to Trade-In a Car with Negative Equity

Posted: Saturday, July 27th, 2019

Depreciation and other factors can cause drivers to have negative equity on their cars. If you’re upside-down on a car loan and no longer want your vehicle, you may be wondering how to trade-in a car with negative equity. When it comes to selling or trading in a car with negative equity, options are limited — but it can be done! Read on to learn more from Green Light Auto Credit!

What is Negative Equity?

When you have negative equity on a vehicle, it means you owe more money on your car loan than what your car is actually worth. This is also known as being “upside-down” on an auto loan. While negative equity isn’t ideal, it’s not uncommon for borrowers to have it and many don’t even notice it while they’re repaying their loans.

How does negative equity happen? Negative equity can often be attributed to depreciation, which begins as soon as you drive your car off a dealer’s lot. It’s also a common result of long-term loans with small down payments or rollover loans. Generally, negative equity only becomes an issue when a borrower no longer wants their vehicle.

What if I Need a New Car but Have Negative Equity?

There are a lot of reasons why a driver may no longer want their car, such as expensive gas costs, a lack of room, or a change in income. Whatever the reason, negative equity can make moving onto another vehicle tricky. Here are a couple of options if you have negative equity on a car you no longer want:

  • Deal with the Inconveniences of Your Current Car: So, your current car may require more gas than you’d like or its cargo space isn’t ideal. Can you live with it? If so, consider postponing your next vehicle purchase until negative equity is no longer an issue for you.
  • Eliminate the Negative Equity: To determine how much negative equity you have on your car, find out its market value. Then, get a payoff statement from your lender that shows the value of your loan. Subtract the market value from how much you owe on your loan. The difference is what you’ll need to pay to remove the negative equity.

What are My Options for Trading in a Car With Negative Equity?

If you can’t live with your current vehicle, another option to consider is a trade-in. If you’re wondering how to trade-in a car with negative equity, it’s simpler than you might think. Car dealers can roll over what you owe on the trade-in car into a new auto loan. To do this, you’ll need a payoff statement from your lender, as well as price quotes showing the market value of the car. Before you take this route, consider the following:

  • Your current auto loan’s balance won’t disappear; it’ll simply roll over into your new loan. Either way, you’re responsible for repaying it.
  • The principal of your current loan will be factored into your new loan. This means your monthly car payments and interest rate could be higher.
  • You may have fewer vehicle choices and auto financing program options.
  • There’s a chance you’ll become upside-down on the new loan.

Get More Auto Financing Tips From Green Light Auto Credit!

Do you have additional questions about how to trade-in a vehicle with negative equity? Contact us at Green Light Auto Credit, serving Florissant and St. Charles. We can also answer other questions related to car buying, such as “Can I sell a car with a lien,” or “What is a branded title?”