Trading in a car with a positive balance on it?

I’ve had a 2003 mini cooper for 3 years, 2 of which I’ve regretted every day. After being hit with repair after repair and seeing a whole list of complaints on the internet, I’m looking into getting a different car as soon as possible. 2 of my friends also have mini coopers, and have had repair nightmares as well.

Anyway I’m kind of leaning towards getting a Yaris, which totals out to about half of the price of the mini.

The problem is that I’m not sure how to trade in the mini. I have a little over $ 5000 left to pay on it, but the thing is I also have about $ 4000 credit on it due to large payments that I was making trying to pay it off quickly.

I was just wondering what the best thing to do would be. Either way, I know I’m going to be losing money but I want to cut my losses before the repairs on the mini start getting really bad.

With the $ 4000 credit I have on the mini, would that be lost if I get rid of the car or would it be refunded to me?

Since I don’t own the car yet, is it legal to sell the car privately? Or should I return it to the dealer, or trade it in for another car?

Thanks
Adam Lawton
Update:

To clarify, I have $ 5000 left to pay. Technically I should have $ 9000, but with the extra $ 4000 I’ve paid the remaining total comes to $ 5000. With this credit I can go a few months without having to make any payments.

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