Any tips on dealing with negative equity?

Prior to meeting me, my girlfriend made one of the worst car deals in history. She fell into the trap of trying to lower her monthly payment, and ended up rolling a bunch of negative equity into a car she doesn’t like as much on a 7 year loan because she only shopped the payment. She will never be making that mistake again, but I’m trying to figure out what options we have to get out of this.

She works from home now and I have multiple cars so she doesn’t really need anything great (if she even needs a car at all). I’m considering just selling it, eating the $6k in negative equity out-of-pocket and then either leasing something basic or buying a crasher. But, I’d there are any options that might allow her to finance that negative equity without just rolling it on to another new car, that would be better for me.

scared cartoon network GIF


Fire Burning GIF by VVS FILMS


With the current interest rate hikes
Nothing leases good

I’d say trade it in with a 4xe order and than sell it and hope you break even

But than again just flip a 4xe and use that to help the - equity

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Dude you can’t make this a canned answer lmao

  1. Read Leasing 101
  2. Pick a specific vehicle that you want to target
  3. Gather the current MF, RV and incentives from the LH Calculator
  4. Research the LH marketplace and other deals
  5. Flip a 4xe

The problem with negative equity is that you have to dig a hole big enough to bury it: usually in something more expensive or with enough discounts to zero it out. In the last two years, that list of cars fits comfortably on a postage stamp.

That said, there is almost nothing to work with here:

  • What mystery car are we upside-down on?
  • Interest rate / remaining months / payoff?
  • What are the third-parties willing to put on it?
  • Most important: does she want rid of it? Is she comfortable with the payment?

Good questions.

It’s a 2020 Optima base model with 25k. She got it about a year ago after trading in an 18 Rogue. She owes ~$29k and CarMax offered ~$23k. She doesn’t love the car and hates the payment ($550). Her credit isn’t great either (660 ish) so the APR is close to 8%. There’s gotta be upwards of 70 payments left.

It’s just a crappy deal all around, and I wish we were together back then (we met like a month later) because it never would’ve happened. She really wants me to help her get out of it, but I don’t see any great way of doing that now without just writing a check.

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Have you already checked all the buying services to see if Carmax is paying the most?

If you co-sign, she could probably refinance it for 4-5% less. Have you done that math?

Transacting on this car, even to sell it and buy a beater, is going to incur sales tax and registration (even if you get a prorated refund). Refinancing it at least let you minimize the hurt while you figure out long-term what the plan is. I would at least run the numbers in your collective shoes.

VROOM offered $7k. Lol I’m going to try a few others.

Refinancing is what we’ll most likely do for now, and revisit things once we finish moving in together and my cars are available to her to drive. If she’d let me teach her to drive stick, she could put some miles on my LT1.

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No doubt in pennies recovered from 7000 different cars they overpaid for in the past quarter.


Vroom doesn’t want your car, is what they are telling you

I think I left a few in my Ioniq. :joy:

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Honestly, if you are trying to get out of Neg 6k Equity and still get ANOTHER car, just stay in that car.
I know she doesn’t ‘like it’ but that is usually the path off the cliff like the first gif.

Since her credit is in the 660, she will have difficulty to get another car without your direct help. And heaven forbid, something separates you, you would be responsible for the payments on the next car.

My recommendations, keep the car. Or sell the car and do not get another car.


I wonder what the car would be worth in a private party sale. In theory she could get a couple thousand more than trade in value. However, she would need the cash to pay off the loan first. It certainly won’t cover all the negative equity, but it might be a way to lessen the blow. It’s a riskier option though. By the time the paperwork is processed and the car gets listed for sale, who knows what it’s worth.

If you have multiple cars sell the Nissan and let her drive one of your cars. $550 x 11 she can pay you back in 11 months. Might get a little problematic when there is a break up but oh well. Think twice before going in to this adventure.


Because she doesn’t need a car, sell it and don’t get another. Getting an unnecessary car with with her bad credit and lack of reserves is like a snowball of bad decisions.

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Have you considered Texas brokers, buyers, dealerships, etc.? I can see it going either way but you may find better offers by reaching beyond your local market. Five weeks after selling my leased vehicle locally (Orange County, CA), I found it listed for $1K under the original selling price on a Texas-based used car dealership website. Car Trackers, the company that paid $4K more for my vehicle than Carmax offered, probably doesn’t operate in Louisiana but definitely has a Texas presence. Just a thought.