Trade In Your Car for Lower Payments

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Meghan Carbary has been writing professionally for nearly 20 years. A published journalist in three states, Meghan honed her skills as a feature writer and sports editor. She has now expanded her skill-set into the automotive industry as a content writer for Auto Credit Express, where she contributes to several automotive and auto finance blogs.


, - March 25, 2020

You may be having trouble keeping up with your car payment in light of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, epidemic. You could consider trading in your car for a more affordable vehicle so you get a lower monthly payment. Here are some tips on getting the most out of your trade-in, and your options for financing a different car.

Why Trade In a Car?

There are many reasons you might want to trade in your vehicle for a different make or model. Perhaps you simply need another car, or maybe you have an auto loan that you just can’t afford any longer, especially considering what's going on in the world concerning the coronavirus.

Trading in your current vehicle can be a great way to get into an affordable, reliable car that meets your needs. Plus, if your trade-in has equity, meaning you owe less on your loan than the vehicle is worth, you may even be able to use that equity as all, or at least a part of, your down payment.

3 Tips to Prepare Your Trade-In

In order to get the most out of your trade-in, take a look at these tips:

  1. Clean your vehicle – Clean, well-cared-for cars may fetch a better price at trade in time than a messy vehicle that's unkempt. Be sure to give your car a thorough cleaning both inside and out. Springing for a detailing may not get you any extra cash, so don’t spend a lot, just get it in good condition. If there’s minor damage you can fix yourself, such as dents or scratches, that’s also worth repairing. Spend as little as possible, but do the most you can to make your vehicle as appealing as possible.
  2. Don’t trade in blind – Knowing how much others have gotten for similar cars, and knowing a rough estimate of what your vehicle could be worth is something you should always do before a trade in. If you don’t know the estimated value of a car like yours, how can you know if you’re getting a good price from a dealer? Use valuation sites like Kelley Blue Book and NADA Guides to see what others have gotten. You could also look into selling your car yourself through an online service. Remember to be honest when filling in the evaluation form online, or you won’t get an accurate estimate.
  3. Find your deal – Now that you’ve cleaned your vehicle and gotten an estimate of what it might be worth, it’s time to find a dealership. Normally, you could spend days driving around getting your car appraised by dealer after dealer looking for the best price. If you can’t drive from place to place, though, you can start by doing as much business online and over the phone as possible. This means taking plenty of photos of your vehicle and calling dealerships that may be able to offer you the price you’re looking for out of your trade-in.

Using these tips can help you prepare to get the most you can out of your trade-in, but what if you have negative equity, or need to lower your car payment without trading in your vehicle? There are options for that as well.

Lowering Your Car Payment Without Trading In

Maybe you’re not looking to trade in your vehicle because you just need a little bit of relief until you can establish a new financial outlook. That’s OK, too. Depending on your lender, you may have more options than you think for getting payment relief.

Right now, many finance companies, banks, and captive lenders are stepping in to help their customers get the help they need in light of the coronavirus. In many cases, this is in the form of deferment, a type of financial relief that allows you to postpone payments for a short time. Others may offer to move payment due dates to assist with financial burdens.

Another option that may be available to lower your monthly payment without trading in your car is refinancing. Refinancing is when you replace your existing auto loan with a new one that has better rates and/or terms.

Right now, you may be able to take advantage of lowered interest rates if you qualify for refinancing. If you’re not able to get relief with a lower interest rate, you may be able to refinance with a longer loan term, which also lowers your monthly payment.

Let CarsDirect Help You Find a Vehicle

If you find you need a car right now but are worried about being able to qualify for one, let us help. At CarsDirect, we want to be your go-to source for all your vehicle shopping needs. You can use our new and used car sections to research vehicles, or get an estimate of how much you might be able to afford by using our car loan estimator.

When you’re ready to turn your research into your next vehicle, we can help you find a dealership with the right lenders for your credit situation, as well. Simply fill out our fast, free, and zero-obligation auto loan request form to get connected to a local dealer that can help!

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Meghan Carbary has been writing professionally for nearly 20 years. A published journalist in three states, Meghan honed her skills as a feature writer and sports editor. She has now expanded her skill-set into the automotive industry as a content writer for Auto Credit Express, where she contributes to several automotive and auto finance blogs.


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