trade-in value vs resale value

What Is The Difference Between Trade-In Value and Resale Value?

Trade-In Value vs Resale Value

Shopping for a new or new-to-you vehicle can be a challenge that doesn’t always stop when you get to the lot. Car buying can involve a lot of unique automotive terminology that most folks don’t need to use from day-to-day, so we’re going to look a little closer at one of them: trade-in value vs resale value.

Blurry person trading in their car key and fobWhen you are looking for a new-to you car and have a car you want to exchange, the trade-in value is what the dealership is willing to knock off the price of your new purchase or lease in exchange for getting to keep your no-longer-desired ride. This means that when you have a car to trade-in, you don’t have to pay quite as much for your new vehicle.

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So how is that different from resale value? While trade-in value is strictly what the dealership will give you in exchange, resale value encompasses all the ways that you might be able to sell your car. The resale value will always be significantly lower than what the car was worth when it was new, and usually less than what you paid for it if you got it used.

The resale value of a car is often calculated depending on what you would be able to get for it at an auction, rather than during a trade-in at a dealership. Private sales can sometimes offer a greater payoff, but are usually take more work and involve more uncertainty.

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Car Resale Value Resources

So now that you know the difference between trade-in and resale value, what is the value of your current vehicle? Organizations like Kelley Blue Book,, and Edmunds all offer their own appraiser. You can easily check out the Kelley Blue Book Trade-In Value of your vehicle here.