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Negative Equity Auto Loan? Discover How to Get Your Head Above Water

Grab the Retail My Ride Life preserver to Eliminate Negative Equity

Negative Equity equals Your Vehicle's Value minus Your Loan Payoff

Do you owe more money than your car, RV or motorcycle is worth? You are definitely not alone. In fact, according to’s April 2020 Used Vehicle Market Report, two negative equity statistics (also known as “upside down” or “underwater”) showed a sharp record spike and reached all-time highs for the first time since 2016:

  • 44% of used vehicles being traded-in to dealers have negative equity. 
  • The average balance of the negative equity for automobiles is $5,571 (much higher for RVs).

Now What Should I do?

There are many contributing factors to this negative equity trend, but if you find yourself in this situation, the “why it happened” is not as important as the “how to get out.”

If you search on the subject, you will find most articles suggest the same old not-so-good options:

  • Keep making payments, make extra payments or refinance - sometimes this is not a realistic option
  • Trade it into your local dealer – worst option by far - this makes your negative equity bigger because, at best, you will get a lowball, wholesale offer. And, you will have to pay your way out by rolling your negative equity into a another purchase and/or coming up with a huge down payment
  • Sell it yourself to get more money – better option than dealer trade-in, but comes with lots of hassles and hazards of selling privately. Did you know there are 20 steps involved in selling a vehicle?

The Good News

There is a lesser known but much smarter option available for reducing or eliminating your negative equity.  It is called automotive retail consignment. With retail consignment, you get more money than a dealer trade-in like a private sale, but without all the hassles and hazards of selling your car, RV, or motorcycle, yourself.  In fact, receiving higher value for your vehicle is the #1 benefit of choosing the retail consignment selling option. The other three benefits are expertise, safety and convenience.

The other good news is there are hundreds of licensed automotive consignment dealers (Consignment Pros) throughout the United States listed on Retail My Ride that can help with your negative equity dilemna or to just put more money in your pocket if you are not too far underwater.

Valuation is the Key - getting the most money for your vehicle reduces negative equity

How can you determine if and how far you are underwater with your car, RV, or motorcycle loan?

Step 1

Contact your lender to obtain a current net payoff amount

Step 2

Determine your vehicle's value for each of the selling options - trade-in, private sale, retail (consignment) by using one of the many free online pricing guides available (e.g., NADA, Kelly Blue Book, TrueCar, CarGurus, etc.). is helpful because it provides valuations for all three types of vehicles - Autos, RVs and Motorcycles.

Step 3

Subtract vehicle's value from bank/lender payoff

Step 4

Use Retail My Ride to find a consignment dealership near you that specializes in selling your type of vehicle. Then, contact them directly to discuss your vehicle, your estimated negative equity position, and to find out more about their specific consignment program requirements.

Negative Equity Illustration

  • Loan Payoff:  $15,000
  • Valuations by Selling Option:
    • NADA Avg Trade - $12,000
    • NADA Clean Trade - $13,500
    • NADA Clean Retail - $16,000

In this example, you can expect to receive approximately $12,000 from a traditional dealer or $14,500 selling it privately or $15,000 sold by a consignment dealer. 

  • Negative Equity by Selling Option:  
    • Trade-in option $3,000,  
    • Private sale option $500, 
    • Retail Consignment $0

Take the next step - Enter your zip code or city to Find a consignemnt dealership near you that specializes in your type of vehicle.

How to Use Retail My Ride

Use Retail My Ride to Find & Connect with one of our trusted network dealerships specializing in selling your type of vehicle on consignment.  Then, take your vehicle to the dealership to discuss their specific program requirements, and obtain a free, no-obligation appraisal.  You can search by Zip code, City, County, State, and filter your search by vehicle type, including Cars, Trucks, SUVs, Vans, Classics, Exotics, Antiques, Custom/Mods, Wheelchair accessible, Commerical.

You can also request a free no-obligation quote and consultation by one of our consignment experts at Retail My Ride before being connected to your local network dealership.

Get a Free Quote:

What is My Vehicle Worth on Consignment?

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Retail My Ride is the best source for connecting with licensed retail dealerships in 48 states that will sell your vehicle for you on consignment. Simply hand them the keys to your car, truck, van, SUV, classic car, exotic car, or custom car, then sit back, relax and collect more money when it sells. Learn more about us.

Browse our collection of Articles, Common questions, and Testimonials. Find out Which Vehicles Are Best Suited for Consignment and What Your Vehicle is Worth Using Consignment. Search our network of trusted retail consignment dealerships by zip code, city, county, or state to easily find and get connected with nearby dealers that specialize in selling your type of vehicle.