Can You Trade in a Car That’s Not Paid Off?

Hands Doing Calculations with Calculator

You’ve probably heard of trading in a car another vehicle or cash. Trading in a car is a great way to immediately reduce the price of a new car. When your car is completely paid off, completing a trade-in is easy. There are a few extra steps, though, if you haven’t yet paid off your car. Read on to find out how to trade in a car that is not paid off, then browse our new and pre-owned vehicles if you’re planning to purchase another car. 

Do You Have Positive or Negative Equity? 

If you’re planning on trading in a car you still owe on, you’ll need to figure out which of the two situations you’re currently in: 

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

To determine what kind of equity you have, find out how much you still owe on your current car, and how much it’s worth. You can use Kelley Blue Book® values to find out how much your car’s worth, based on true market values. 

If you have positive equity, the trade-in process should be easy and straightforward. If you have negative equity, though, you may need to consider your options and see which one makes the most sense for you. 

Trading in a Car with Negative Equity

If you have negative equity, you probably have a lot of questions about how to trade in a car that is not paid off. You have a couple of options: 

  • Pay the difference you owe after taking the trade-in price into account. While we know not everyone will have the extra money to do this, you should consider this option first. It’s the quickest and easiest way to quickly turn the situation around. 
  • Roll the amount you still owe into a new loan. Most people choose this option because, again, not everyone has the spare cash to pay the difference. Keep in mind that transferring the amount to your new loan may increase the monthly payment. In the end, you’ll still be paying for a car that you traded in. If you’re having trouble making payments and plan to switch to a cheaper car, this might be a good option for you. 

Regardless of the path you take, Whitten Brothers Mazda always recommends carefully reading the contract before taking out a new car loan. 

Trade in Your Car at Whitten Brothers Mazda in Richmond! 

Do you still have questions about trading in a car you still owe on? Contact us online or call us at 866-200-5045 to learn more about the trade-in process. Refer to our car buying tips hub to learn more about trading in a car, car financing, leasing, and more. 


More from Whitten Brothers Mazda

  • 2024 MAZDA CX-50 Trim Levels

      The 2024 Mazda CX-50 trim levels are quite a catch! This new vehicle has outstanding gas mileage and plenty of cargo space for your weekend escapes to the beach, lake, or the Blue Ridge Mountains. Even better, you get affordable premium and luxury features from the 2024 Mazda CX-50 price up and down the…

  • 2024 MAZDA CX-5 Changes: What’s New?

      Excitement is mounting for the upcoming launch of the 2024 Mazda CX-5. In Ashland and beyond, car enthusiasts can expect something special: a new trim level that’s set to take the Mazda CX-5 to new heights. So, what’s new for the 2024 Mazda CX-5? This anticipated model, arriving soon at Whitten Brothers Mazda in Richmond, introduces…

  • 2024 Mazda CX-50 Review Highlights

      The Mazda CX-50 is a fan-favorite compact SUV that Ashland drivers gravitate to thanks to the signature stylings and handsome exterior. However, Fredericksburg drivers often wonder what critics are saying about the 2024 Mazda CX-50. Allow us to pull some quotes from incredible 2024 Mazda CX-50 reviews so you know what to expect when…

Saved Vehicles

You don't have any saved vehicles!

Look for this Save icon

Once you've saved some vehicles, you can view them here at any time.

Whitten Brothers Mazda 37.5060887, -77.5953618.