You’ve totaled your car. Bad luck, but it's not the end of the world. Whether your vehicle was totaled from flood damage, recovered after being stolen, or you were in an accident, having a salvage title is rough. As you probably know, a totaled car can be difficult to insure and may not even be safe to drive.
So how can you get a new car? Can you trade a totaled car to a dealership? What is your car worth? Here’s what you need to know about selling your salvage car to a dealership.
Can You Trade in a Totaled Vehicle to a Dealership?
If your car is totaled and you need a new one, you may be considering trading it in to a dealership. After all, the value of your car could very well put you ahead on a down payment for a new car.
But can you actually trade in your totaled car to a dealership?
Well, that depends upon the dealership. But the odds are in your favor. If you get a professional assessment and appraisal of your vehicle prior to visiting the dealership, there’s a good chance you can trade it in.
Take your car to a mechanic before you visit the dealership. Be sure you let them know your intent, that you want to trade in your car. This will mitigate any potential for “upselling” you into repairs that you don’t need. The mechanic will let you know what your car is worth.
Once the appraisal is complete, bring the document and your vehicle to your dealership. You’ll have a good idea of a fair trade-in value for your car and will have grounds to bargain with.
Can a Dealer Sell a Wrecked Car as New?
We get it. Trader’s remorse. You may be wondering if you could have gotten more money for your car if you’d sold it yourself.
But don't lose sleep over this, as the answer is probably a resounding "no". More than likely, the dealer is going to salvage your car or auction it. If they salvage the vehicle, they’ll generally make around the same amount you would if you did the same. Auctioning the car could make them a bit more.
In no case can a dealership buy your car, then sell it as new. They must disclose that the title is a salvage or face legal repercussions.
Conclusion: Trading in a Totaled or Salvage Car
If you’ve totaled your car, you may still be able to use its value toward the purchase of a new car. Once the vehicle is out of your hands, it’s up to the dealership to decide what to do with it. Be sure to get a fair and honest appraisal of your car’s worth before trading it in; this will allow you to receive the maximum amount possible toward your next car.
If you discover that it's not the best option for you, consider going through one of the junk car buyers on this site. They will buy your totaled car or truck, salvage it for parts, and sell the scrap metal. They take all totaled and salvage vehicles and will give you a price based on the quality of the parts and the market value of scrap metal.
The scrap yard will give you a free cash offer over the phone and, if you accept, they will arrange for your car to be picked up at a suitable time. It is a completely hassled-free process and is one of the best ways to get rid of a totaled vehicle.