There comes a time in every vehicle’s lifecycle where it’s no longer the right choice for the driver. Deciding when exactly that is will be down to each individual driver and the vehicle of their choice. It depends on the reliability of the vehicle, the resell value and deterioration, and the conditions of the market amongst other things. If you’ve been thinking about when it’s time to sell your auto and move on to the next thing, here are a few points worth considering.
When your needs have changed
This is perhaps the point where the need to sell a car becomes the most obvious. If your car no longer fits your needs as you understand them, then it can be hard to justify keeping it. For instance, if you’ve recently started building a family, then you’re not going to get as much use out of your old sportscar as you once might have. You’re going to need a family car, with all the space, safety features, and economical sense that they entail. Similarly, if you move from the suburbs to the city center, you might need a smaller car with a better city MPG. It’s all about choosing what’s right for you and recognizing when your current auto isn’t that.
When you can cut the majority of your running costs
As time goes on, the costs of a car will change. If you bought it on finance, then obviously you are going to cut a major regular cost when it’s fully paid off. However, you are also going to see an increase in other costs. Parts will deteriorate, including your engine and its ability to process fuel as efficiently as it once did. This leads to an increase in the average monthly cost of fuel. In a hybrid car, of course, these rising costs might not happen as quickly. There’s also the point to consider that an older car that breaks down more often might start to see rising costs from things like breakdown cover.
When those repairs are too steep
Indeed, the more problems an older car suffers, the steeper and steep the costs of getting it back up on the road will be. There are a lot of ways to save money on auto repairs, including learning more about running a home maintenance schedule that keeps it in as good a condition as it can be. There are also some particularly reliable car choices that can keep going for years without too many repairs and will keep those costs low. How do you know when enough is enough and a repair bill is too much? Have an understanding of your car’s value depreciation. When a repair bill equals half or more than half of a car’s existing value, it might be worth selling it rather forking over the cash.
When the market’s in your favor
Even if you do feel like it’s time to sell, it’s a good idea to see when the market agrees with you, as well. In the long-term, now is one of the more sensible times to sell, not because the market is booming for sellers. Rather, it’s because selling prices are expected to plummet within the next four years, so waiting too late could see you get far less than you should. But it might be worth waiting at least a few months to take advantage of the market when it’s at its most favorable. There’s a lot more demand for new cars depending on the season. Trucks and 4x4s sell better in fall and winter because the roads become more difficult and drivers want a vehicle that’s best equipped to handle it then, for instance. Sports cars and convertible, on the other hand, sell best in the spring and summer, and commuter vehicles sell best in the high-points of summer and winter.
When you’ve found the right buyer
If you find someone who’s willing to go above and beyond the average buyer to acquire your vehicle, it might be time to sell it even if you think it’s a little early. Be opportunistic and know how to spot a good deal. For instance, if you have a sports car, you might be able to get more by getting help selling your car by a specialized dealer rather than going on the market privately by yourself. While you’re thinking about when to sell your car, do your own research on what dealers are available in the area. If you don’t find a private buyer, it’s always a better idea to sell a car and buy a new one individually rather than using a trade-in to offset the price of a new car. You simply tend to get more for it, that way.
When you have it in good selling condition
Regardless of when you sell your car, it’s best to do a little work to make sure that you’re going to get the most from it before you do so. If there are any glaring flaws or performance problems, they can decrease your asking price more than the costs of getting them fixed.
Before it loses all value
The rate of depreciation will massively depend on what kind of car you’re trying to sell. Some of the most reliable brands of vehicle, such as a Toyota, will depreciate at a slower rate simply because they stay in good condition for so much longer. Other brands, like Ferrari, will stay in good value (in most models) because of the sheer badge power that’s behind them. In general, however, the rate of depreciation in the first year of a car’s life is the worst it experiences. From then, it’s somewhat steady until its fifth year of life. That fifth year is when value takes a huge plummet in most vehicles, so it’s a good idea not to wait too much longer than that.
Good timing is perhaps the most important point of when to sell your car. Wait too long and not only could you suffer the impacts of value deterioration at its worst, but you could be letting the market take a huge downturn, as well. Sell it too soon, and you might not get the value out of your vehicle that you should have. Time your exit strategy well.