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Can I Trade In My Car For An RV?


senior RV couple sitting on deck in front of RV, researching, Can I Trade In My Car For An RV?

Can I Trade In My Car For An RV?

If you have a car that you don’t like, don’t use, or won’t use after you have an RV, it might make good sense to trade it in for an RV. If you are financing your RV, a car trade-in can count towards your down payment and can help in the negotiation process.

Trading in a car or an RV is similar to trading in a car for any other type of vehicle. You typically won’t get as much money for your trade-in as if you sold it and put the funds toward the purchase of an RV. After all, RV dealers are in business to make as much profit as they can. That being said, it can be much easier to trade your car in for an RV than it would be to sell a car privately. Trading a car in for an RV is not only possible, but many RV dealers who take cars as trades will simplify the trade-in process.

What To Do If The Car You Want To Trade In Is Financed

Not all dealers will accept cars that are currently financed as trade-ins, but some may. If your car is currently financed, here’s what you’ll need to do.

  1. Figure out how much you still owe on your loan. You’ll find your outstanding balance on your monthly financing statement.
  2. Do some research to get a ballpark estimate of your car’s value. Look at prices for the same year, make, and model in similar condition to yours online. You can also check out the Consumer Reports vehicle valuation tool here.
  3. Ask your RV dealer for a trade-in offer. You can probably negotiate a little on the trade-in value of your car, but most RV dealers won’t budge much on it.
  4. If the trade-in offer on your car is greater than the amount you still owe on your auto loan, you’ll have additional funds to put toward the purchase of another vehicle. 
    • If you still owe $3,000 on your car, for example, and the trade-in offer you receive is for $6,000, you can pay off the remaining loan balance and put $3,000 towards your new RV. 
  5. Sometimes the remaining balance you owe on the car will be more than the trade-in offer, and you’ll still owe money on your loan. This is called negative equity. In other words, the amount you owe on the vehicle is greater than its worth.
  6. If you owe more than your vehicle is worth, you may be able to roll over your existing car loan. This means that the dealership agrees to pay off your current loan, regardless of the remaining balance.

Rolling Over An Existing Loan

Rolling over an existing loan allows you to trade in the vehicle you no longer want. The amount the dealer repays gets rolled over into your new loan for your RV. You wind up paying off what you owe on your current car loan and getting a new one. 

Things To Do Before You Trade Your Car In On An RV

Do your research first. Make a list of RV dealers who take cars as trades on RVs. FInd out which of them has the perfect RV for you.

How to get the best deal on an RV

Whether or not you have an existing loan on your car, here is how you can get the best deal:

  • Do some research to get a ballpark estimate of your car’s value. Look at prices for the same year, make, and model in similar conditon to yours on Auto-Trader. You can also check out the Consumer Reports vehicle valuation tool here.
  • Ask your RV dealer for a trade-in offer. You can probably negotiate a little on the trade-in value of your car, but most RV dealers won’t budge much on it. Sometimes it’s easier to negotiate on the sales price of the RV.
  • Before you go RV shopping, know what RV you want and the prices for the same or similar RVs are and who is selling them.
  • Don’t tell the RV dealer you will be trading in a vehicle until the final steps of the negotiation process.
  • Tell the dealer what you are willing to pay (make a reasonable offer based on your research) and stick with it.
  • If the RV salesman won’t come down to your reasonable offer, stand up, hand him your business card, and tell him you’ll be going to another RV dealer to shop around.
  • 90% of the time, the dealer will call you in a week or so and make a counteroffer. He might even accept your offer.
  • When you go back to the dealership, and you’ve secured your price, you can introduce your trade-in.

One of the best parts about RVing is engaging with the community of traveling enthusiasts. iRV2 forums allow folks to chat with other RVers online, and get other perspectives on everything RVing, including products, destinations, RV mods, and much more.

Author Lynne Fedorick Avatar

Lynne Fedorick

Lynne lives, travels and works full time in the R-Pod 180 with 3 pointers and 1 small but vital corgi mix named Alice. Lynne began full time RVing as an experiment in 2019, but she quickly fell in love with the convenience, freedom and minimalist lifestyle offered by full time RV living. Lynne is a professional dog trainer, offering mobile and online dog training services through her website at www.mydoggeek.com. You can read about her travel adventures on her blog at: https://rpodadventure.wordpress.com/

3 thoughts on “Can I Trade In My Car For An RV?

  1. I just turned 72 and would like to trade my 2008 Avalon Toyota for a
    small RV/camper. EVEN TRADE…possible?

  2. I think in the current market the article is dated. Not many dealers will deal with someone like this when they can easily sell for a lot over sticker price.

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