If I trade year-old car, will I lose money?

Tara Baukus Melloq_v2.gifDear Driving for Dollars,
I bought a new car a year ago and put about $8,000 down. I've made all the payments, but I'm not happy with the car. If I trade it in for another car, is it a forgone conclusion that it will still cost me more than I care to pay?
-- M.

a_v2.gifDear M.,
Because the greatest depreciation happens in the first year, it's likely it will cost you to get rid of this car. Still, some cars hold their value better than others, and you may have gotten a great deal when you bought it. To know for sure, go to a third-party pricing site such as, Kelley Blue Book or NADAguides, and look up the value of your car for a trade-in and a private party sale, and see where you stand.

If you have a car question, e-mail it to us at Driving for Dollars. Read more Driving for Dollars columns and Bankrate auto stories.

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