You can still trade in a car with expired registration, but you’ll likely receive less money for it. This is because dealerships are looking to buy cars that they can drive and transport to the auction immediately. If your vehicle has an expired registration, it’s not legal to drive on the road so it can’t be moved. Dealers know this, which is why they’ll offer you less for your vehicle than if it had a valid tag.
Depending on your situation, you might find that trading in your car with an expired registration isn’t worth the hassle.
Does the car dealership need to see my registration?
Oftentimes, you’re going to need to show a copy of your registration when you deliver your car. Car dealerships want to make sure that the car is registered and insured before they take ownership of it, so if you can’t provide proof, they’ll probably assume that it’s not.
This step may seem tedious or inconvenient, but understand that it’s included for a reason: the dealership must be able to verify that the paperwork for your vehicle is in order. After all, once they take possession of your car at trade-in time, they’re on the hook for any accidents or damage caused by it during test drives.
There are ways around this rule in some cases. Depending on where you live and how flexible the individual dealer is, they may be willing to accept a temporary document as proof of registration or insurance while you get your official documentation in order (or request an extension). Either way, it’s a good idea to get everything sorted out beforehand so there are no surprises or additional expenses (like late fees) on your end!
What if my car has an expired registration and I can’t renew it without a smog check?
“If the registration expires, that car can no longer be registered in California,” says Kim Ballinger, an L.A.-based smog check expert. “It requires a smog check at a private party testing station to make sure it meets California’s standards.”
The result of having an expired registration? You’ll have to pay penalties and then sell the vehicle privately to someone who is willing to deal with the smog check. It goes without saying that you’ll probably have to spend some money on getting your car approved by a repair shop or auto shop where they’ll perform the test needed for a new registration sticker. But if you want to get rid of that old vehicle and don’t mind dealing with all these restrictions…
What if I’m upside down on my loan, but my registration is valid?
If you are upside down on your loan and your registration is valid, you can still trade in the vehicle. You will just have to pay the difference between the value of your vehicle and the amount left on your loan. If you are not upside down on your loan, then it is simply a matter of going to a dealership, trading in your car, and using that money towards a new car purchase!
If you are upside down and want to trade-in a vehicle with expired registration, do some research first to see if the dealership will give you a good trade-in value for it. That way, you’ll know whether or not trading in would be worth it.
If you’re upside down on your loan and have an invalid registration, here are some steps to take.
An upside-down car loan can be a real hassle, but it doesn’t have to be. If you have an invalid registration and need to trade in your vehicle, there are still some viable options. You can either pay off the loan, try to find a private buyer, or sell your car to a dealership that accepts cars with expired registrations. There are also some dealerships that offer loans that will pay off your old loan if they’re competitive enough.
If you owe more on your loan than your car is worth (and are upside down), trading in a car with an expired registration can be tricky.
If you owe more on your loan for the car than the car is worth, this will cause problems if you try to trade it in with an expired registration.
It’s hard to find a dealership willing to take your car in this situation, though there are some dealerships that are willing because they can fix up the car and make money by selling it for more than it’s worth.