If I trade in my car at the dealership, am I throwing my money away?

I'm in the market for a new car, and several dealerships have given me a trade in value for my current one. But the dealership can't give me book value for it because that is what they'll be able to sell it for at most, as very few people pay sticker price. I figure I can sell my car privately, direct... show more I'm in the market for a new car, and several dealerships have given me a trade in value for my current one.

But the dealership can't give me book value for it because that is what they'll be able to sell it for at most, as very few people pay sticker price.

I figure I can sell my car privately, direct to the next owner, and get about $2500 more for it.

Then I can take the the cash to the dealership and make a larger down payment than trading in the car would get me, and my monthly payment on my next one will be lower.

Is trading a car in at the dealership for idiots?
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