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1335 Post Road, Darien, CT, 06820

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Dealership Info

Phone Numbers:Sales Hours:
  • Mon - Thu9:00 AM - 7:00 PM
  • Fri9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
  • Sat9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • SunClosed
Service Hours:
  • Mon - Fri7:30 AM - 5:30 PM
  • Sat8:00 AM - 3:00 PM
  • SunClosed
Parts Hours:
  • Mon - Fri7:30 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Sat8:00 AM - 3:00 PM
  • SunClosed

How to Trade in a Car That is Not Paid Off

Car-buying paperwork
Some Darien drivers aren’t sure if you can trade in a financed car or don’t know how to trade in a car that is not paid off. Land Rover Darien can help! The process is pretty straightforward, but is slightly different depending on your equity position. Read on to learn how to trade in a car you still owe on, and if you have questions, reach out to our finance team.

How Soon Can You Trade In a Financed Car?

Can you trade in your car after three months? Sure, but it might not be the best idea. Really, there’s nothing stopping you from trading in a financed car whenever you decide to do so—but it’s important to understand that trading in your vehicle does not absolve you of your responsibility to repay your loan.

Here’s the question you should be asking: how soon can you trade in a financed car without putting yourself in a tough financial position? New and pre-owned vehicles generally depreciate as soon as they are driven off the lot, and that means that you may be under water on your loan until you’ve had a chance to make a few payments. For this reason, it’s probably not a good idea to trade in a financed car right away.

Waiting might seem like a better idea, but there’s one more caveat. If you’ve chosen an exceptionally long repayment term for your financed car—like seven years—your vehicle may depreciate more quickly than you repay your loan. You might end up under water, even four, five, or six years down the line.

The best time to trade in a car is any time when you have positive equity. To make the right call, find out how much your vehicle is worth and compare it to your current loan balance.

Do You Have Positive or Negative Equity?

Can you trade in a car that’s not paid off? Yes, you can, but first, you should determine if you have positive or negative equity. What’s the difference? Find out below.

  • Positive equity: Your vehicle is worth more than what you still owe on it
  • Negative equity: Your vehicle is worth less than what you still owe on it

What if you aren’t sure if you have positive or negative equity? Start by finding out how much you owe on your current car by looking at your monthly car payment statement or calling your lender in Greenwich.

Determine the Value of Your Car

The next step in trading in a car that’s not paid off is to learn how much your car is worth. You can use our trade-in valuation tool or check with Kelley Blue Book®. You’ll have to enter details about your car, like the year, make, model, and the number of miles. Be as accurate as possible, so you get a realistic value. Remember, the number that you receive is only an estimate. Dealerships in Greenwich and New Canaan may offer you more or less than the estimate.

Go to the Dealership to Get an Offer

The final step is to take your car to a dealership to get an offer. You have negative equity if the offer is less than what you owe. But, if it is more than what you owe, you have positive equity.

You’re in a more favorable position if you have positive equity, and the trade-in process will be fairly simple. You can trade-in your ride without owing any more money. Plus, you can apply the extra fund towards the down payment on your new car! However, if you’re in a negative equity position, you must consider the options below to determine which one is best for you.

Trading in a Car with Negative Equity

If you are one of those Stamford drivers with negative equity that want to trade in a car that’s not paid off, you’ll need to choose one of the following options:

  • Make up the difference you owe in cash after accounting for the trade-in price. This is a good option because it can easily turn your situation around and give you more control. Still, not everyone has enough spare cash to do it.
  • Transfer the amount you still owe over to a new loan. Most Darien drivers choose this option. However, transferring the amount to your new loan means you’ll have a higher payment, and you will still be paying off the car you traded. In other words, you will most likely have negative equity on your new loan. But If you can’t keep up with your current car payments and need a cheaper car, this might be a good option.
  • If you still have negative equity, even with a higher appraisal value, negotiate with the dealership that made you the highest offer. Show them another offer that you’ve received and ask them if they are willing to match it.
  • Wait to trade in your car until you have positive equity. Waiting takes patience, and some people need a different vehicle immediately and can’t wait. Still, it is the best option.

Regardless of what you choose, Land Rover Darien recommends that you review any contract carefully before signing it!

What Does Rolling Over a Loan Mean?

If you need to trade in a car with negative equity, your lender may offer you the opportunity to roll over your loan—but is this the right option for you? When you roll over a loan, the remaining loan balance for your older vehicle is added to the top of your new loan—so you can work with one monthly payment instead of two. Rolling over a loan can be easier than managing multiple payments, but be careful: it’s easy to end up under water if you go this route.

Trade-in Your Financed Car to Land Rover Darien Today

If you still have questions about trading in a car you still owe on, reach out to the finance team at Land Rover Darien. We’re always at your service and happy to help! Ask us about leasing a loaner, or browse our Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles online or at the dealership to find an excellent deal and save more money!


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