Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A car salesman is shown giving a thumbs up to two customers asking about their car's trade-in value.

Should You Sell Your Car or Trade It In? A Look at the Pros and Cons

You may be wondering about car trade-in value these days. Is it worth it to trade your car in for a better-suited model for your travels, or should you sell it, pocket the cash, and use it on something else? You may have found yourself not needing your car as much these days, opting to be a one-car household, or you may want to buy a new car with all the features you truly want. When it comes to the pros and cons of selling a car to a dealer vs. trading in a car to a dealer, you want to be sure that you’re making the right decision. Let’s dive into the benefits and limitations of each option.

Selling Your Car to a Dealership

First of all, we always recommend going through a dealership to sell your car. Not only is it safer and faster, but it’s also much more convenient and less stressful. Many drivers don’t want to take the time to market their vehicle, haggle over prices, and try to find someone willing to pay what they want for the vehicle, which is exactly what you can expect when selling it yourself. When you sell your car to a dealership, it’s a completely different experience.

Benefits of Selling to a Dealership

Maybe you want to put money towards that RV you’ve always wanted to travel the country, or maybe you want to put money down on a home. This may warrant you to consider selling your car, and when you sell to a dealership, there are many perks that you’ll be able to enjoy. First of all, you get your money right away when you work with a dealership, which means that as soon as you walk out the front door, you can put those funds towards what you really want. Dealerships offer top values for vehicles, especially if they’re in great condition because many shoppers are more interested in used cars now than ever.

The overall process is simple, easy, and quick, which is what many people look for when selling their cars. You won’t have to worry about finding the right buyer because the dealership takes care of that. You also won’t have to worry about completing the sales process correctly because the dealership handles all of this too. All you need to do is drive your car to the lot, and the dealership takes care of the rest.

A woman is shown looking at different vehicle's on a laptop.

Limitations of Selling to a Dealership

When you sell your car without trading it in for another model, the obvious limitation is that you’re down a car in your household. This may be problematic, especially if someone else is frequently driving the car when you need it. This is something that you will need to consider carefully before selling your car. Remember, the better condition your vehicle is in, the more money dealerships can offer for it. You may be disappointed if you’re not offered what you want for it, which may prompt you to either hang on to your vehicle or tidy it up and try to sell it again.

If you want to get more money for your vehicle, selling it to a dealership is recommended. You’ll be able to use that money toward that vacation you’ve always wanted or into a home renovation project. It’s cash in hand and the simple, convenient way to sell your car, allowing you to move on to your next adventure.

Trading In Your Car to a Dealership

For many drivers, heading to the dealership to sell their car means finding a newer, better model to replace it. Dealerships make the process seamless, providing you with impressive options on a vast lot and transitioning you from your old car to a shiny, new model within the span of an afternoon. If you’re looking for a better-equipped car to handle your travel situation, you may want to think about a vehicle trade-in. Whether you need a more efficient vehicle for your new commute into the city or you’re looking for a larger vehicle to accommodate your family, dealerships can help you trade in your current vehicle for the model you really need.

Benefits of Trading in Your Car to a Dealership

Like selling your car to a dealership, the trade-in process is easy and convenient, with the dealer handling all aspects of the process from start to finish. You’ll get to put the money you receive from your old car towards a newer, better car to help you bring down your monthly payments to an even more affordable rate. Drivers prefer trading in their vehicles to a dealership because it guarantees they’ll be able to sell their car and find a new one instead of trying to go about this process on their own. This could take weeks or months to find someone willing to buy your vehicle, which can add to the time you’re stuck with a vehicle that doesn’t suit your needs.

A car salesman is shown speaking to a customer at a dealership.

Limitations of Trading in Your Car to a Dealership

Again, the condition of your current vehicle matters, and when it comes to trade-in values, you may find that you may get a little less for your vehicle than if you were to sell it. You’ll also want to consider the make and model of your vehicle and whether or not the dealership needs more of these models on their lot. If you have a rare or popular vehicle, you can get more money for your trade-in since dealerships want to showcase these models on their lot.

You’re also limited as to where you’re able to shop for your car, especially if you’re looking for a particular model for your journey. For example, if you desire a Ford F-150, you’ll want to trade your current car in at a Ford dealership for the best selection, but if a Chevy dealership is offering you more for your trade-in, you may be limited as to which Ford F-150 models are available on that particular lot.

If you want to ensure you’re getting the right vehicle for your journey, trading in your current vehicle is recommended. You’ll be able to complete the entire process right from one place while getting into the vehicle that suits your needs, especially if your driving habits have changed. Trading in your vehicle to a reputable dealership allows you to take advantage of top value for your trade, resulting in being able to find the ideal vehicle for your unique journey.

Which One Is Right for You?

Now that you know more about each scenario, which option should you choose? When you want the maximum amount for your vehicle to put toward something else in your life, selling it to a dealership will deliver the satisfaction you’re looking for. When you want to get into a newer or better-equipped vehicle to handle your travel needs, trading in your current vehicle and putting this money toward a new vehicle is recommended. Each scenario has pros and cons, so you’ll need to consider your options carefully. Either way, selling or trading in your vehicle to a dealership will allow you to enjoy maximum peace of mind with a smooth, seamless experience guided by top professionals in the industry.