There aren’t too many certainties in life, but one thing you can be sure of is that whatever you drive, one day you’ll need to sell your car. It’s not a case of IF, but WHEN. The hard part is knowing when to sell your car.
Should you drive your car until it’s a pile of rust that struggles to make it to the end of your street? Or should you trade in every year or two for a brand new model? Neither. The key is finding the middle ground.
Take a good look at your car. What condition is it in? Is the interior looking tired? If it’s due for some major maintenance, how much is this likely to cost? Have you shelled out a lot of money in the last year on repairs? Is it really worth spending $3,000 on a car that’s worth $5,000?
To be honest, if you’ve got to this stage, it’s probably past the point where you should have sold your car. To get a good price for it, you’ll have to fix at least the major issues. The clever way is to sell your car when it’s still in working order.
All cars have significant milestones in their lifetimes. Being aware of these is vital when you’re making that all-important decision. Selling your the car just before hitting these milestones maximizes the amount of money you will receive.
First 9 months: When a car will depreciate most. Not an ideal time to sell!
30,000 – 40,000 miles: Most car warranties expire at either 36,000 miles or 3 years (whichever comes first). The first major service usually comes at this point. You can expect more than an oil change: be prepared to pay for new brakes and tires. If your priority is to have a car that looks new, won’t cost you a penny in repairs (and you don’t mind paying off the loan each month) then you should sell just before reaching this stage.
60,000 – 70,000 miles: This is when you’ll probably have to pay for a new timing belt. There’s no way to wriggle out of this: if the timing belt breaks, it’ll damage the engine, and then you’ve got a serious problem on your hands. A new timing belt is likely to set you back anywhere between $350 and $460 (parts and labor included).
Once you hit 60k miles, a timing belt isn’t the only thing you have to consider. You should budget for new tires and brakes too. If this doesn’t sound like something you’re up for, then selling a few thousand miles before you reach this stage is the best option for you.
100,000 miles: At this point, there’s a significant drop in value. The reality is that most cars are still running fairly well at this stage, but this doesn’t tend to match buyers’ perceptions. Lots of buyers will set their mileage limit at 100,000 or less when carrying out online searches, so cars over this value are less likely to get spotted. If you want to receive some money to put down as a deposit for your next car, selling just before this stage is advisable.
When you’ve determined the best time for you to sell your car, that’s when you need to decide how you’re going to sell it. For sellers in the Seattle area, TRED will do all the hard work: simply snap some pictures or your call, we list it on 20+ sites online (even on ones you mightn’t have heard of), and you can continue to drive your car until it sells.
We’ll handle the inquiries and schedule the test drives too, making the process so much safer. Are you concerned about the haggling process? Don’t be: buyers and sellers communicate via the TRED app online. This is where you receive and counter offers. It couldn’t be easier!