You can go to Carmax and get an appraisal for what they would buy it for. Then you use that to figure out if its better to trade or sell yourself. The one piece of advice i have about trading in a car is actually very simple but it is very powerful. Do NOT go into the sale with a price you want for your car. You want to have a price in mind that represents the difference between the two. Here's what I mean, most people who are trading in their car are thinking, I have to have at least $10,000 for my car and then they think about negotiating on the price of the car they are purchasing. There is built in room in the asking price of a car whether it is new or used. And one of the games a dealer will do is show you a very high trade in value for your car, but they won't come down much on the asking price. If you go into it and negotiate a lower price on the car AND then tell them about your trade, you will get a low price for your trade in. Avoid all that and focus on how much you will have to pay for the difference between the two. For example, you are trading in a 5 year old car that you believe is worth $10,000 and the car you are trying to buy is priced at $23,000, then you want to focus on the difference. If you say, I'll give you $8,000 difference, then the dealer can adjust the numbers however he needs to. He might show less $ for your car, but he might lower the price of the new car. Or he'll show you high trade, but not lower the price. You don't really care how they do that. Only the difference really matters. Sometimes there is an incentive to the dealer to show a high value for your car. Or maybe the dealer got a screaming deal on the car you are buying and they have lots of room to negotiate. Or maybe they want to show a a high value on your car because they think they have a buyer on it and want to tell them, look how much we paid for this car. No car deal is separate and apart from the others. Lots of them are interrelated and effect the others. So, don't get caught up in that. Just focus on the amount you are willing to pay. OR do I what I do and pay cash for 10 year old cars, drive them for a while and sell them. No payments. That's my plan.