How To Know When to Sell Your Car

A car can prove to be a poor investment if it results in a loss to the owner, but you can maximize your return if you know when to sell your car.

Although the decision to sell a vehicle is not an easy one, it can turn out to be very expensive if done at the wrong time.  There are many things to consider, and taking the time to do so will help you sell your car at the right time.

The most important thing to consider is the cost of continued ownership: take into account whether the car is reliable and the number of miles displayed on the odometer.

A major part of determining when to sell your car deals with upcoming maintenance and repair costs.  There are many items that typically come to mind, and are really part of general maintenance: tires, brake rotors, brake pads, belts, and hoses. 

There are larger potential expenses to consider as well.  Has your car been meticulously maintained?  Components in the engine and transmission can be very expensive to repair and even more costly to replace.  The air conditioning and electrical systems can also pose problems as your car ages.  All of the costs associated with continuing to own the vehicle should play a role in the decision of when to sell your car.

Another thing to think about when deciding whether to unload a vehicle is how easy it will be to sell.  A car with less than 100,000 miles is typically an easier sale.  If you are selling to a buyer who is not able to pay cash for the purchase, the car will have to be financed. Most financial institutions will not provide a loan to a buyer for a car with excessive miles.  Is your car in good mechanical shape?  The car will be much easier to sell if it doesn't require immediate maintenance.  If you wait too long to sell your car, it can prove to be a very expensive mistake.

Knowing when to sell your car also requires that you think about replacing your vehicle.  Many people simply focus on the vehicle that they are going to replace.  The big picture includes the vehicle that will be the replacement.  Is this a good time for you to buy a new vehicle?  What type of financing will you be able to secure?  It's very difficult to know when to sell your car if you don't know whether you are able to purchase a new vehicle.

Although a car can be a poor investment, owning a car doesn't have to be a losing situation.  Knowing when to sell your car can make the difference between a financial loss and a financial gain.


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