Your car is a valuable asset, but there comes a time when you have to move on from even the most trusted assets. In such a case, you have limited options, and with vehicles, your options are either selling your car personally or trading it in at a dealership.
Should you sell your car through private sale or trade it in?
Trading it to a dealer
Selling or trading your car to a dealer to finance the purchase of a new one is the much easier option. It is convenient, and you don't have to break a sweat. You can make a deal almost immediately instead of having to find a buyer yourself.
The downside, however, is that you are likely to get less money this way because the dealership needs to make a profit. So you'll get a percentage of the market value depending on the car and terms.
Selling through a private sale
There are more things involved when you want to sell a car by yourself. The most challenging part of it is determining the best time possible to put it on sale. Not many car owners know when to do it, and this affects their ability to sell, the car's value, and how much they make out of the sale.
This approach gives you the freedom to set your selling price. You get the option to sell the car on your own terms which often increases the number of interested buyers you get. You are also likely to get more money from it compared to when you choose to trade it in.
The flipside here is that you have to do a lot of research. You'll likely have to invest a little bit in finding the best way to attract buyers and also make repairs to get the car looking spotless. Interested buyers will carefully check the condition of the vehicle and ask for its history to ensure what they're getting is worth every dollar they pay.
When is the best time to sell a car?
The perfect time to sell your car is when your potential buyers are looking to buy a car, but that is rarely the case. Instead, you have to settle for the second-best time, which is hard to determine.
Imagine yourself as the buyer and ask when you would want to buy the make of car that you own. That will be the ideal time to put it up for sale.
In other words, if you are looking to sell a sports car, the best time to do it is during warmer months as you'll likely have many interested buyers that time of year. Family cars, on the other hand, have a good demand when the holiday season is about to start. Knowing this, you might want to hold on to your car for a few months until the time is right. Generally, the worst time to sell a car is after the holidays and at the start of a financial year.
How do you know the best time to sell your car?
There are no specific criteria for determining when to sell your car; rather, there are factors that determine when to sell.
Here are some of the common reasons:
- When the vehicle no longer meets your needs; for instance, you're starting a family or moving to an area with different terrain.
- When the vehicle is still in good condition; it will fetch the most money while costing you few expenses to make it spotless.
- When the car becomes a liability, i.e. it costs more to keep running than it is worth or it returns in value or revenue.
- When you’ve had enough in terms repairs, or it threatens your road safety, it’s time to let it go.
Like ending a relationship, parting with your car is going to be difficult but otherwise necessary.
The right time to sell newer cars
If you have had a change of mind and want to sell your new car, the best time to do it is as soon as you have made that decision. Keeping it longer will reduce its value. Just as with any asset, cars depreciate with time and the first year is when it devalues most. The older a vehicle gets, the less its worth will be unless it is a classic car.
It is advisable to sell your car before it gets to the 75,000 mileage mark (120,000km) or while it still has 10- 20% of its warranty remaining. This helps you get a higher price and sell it quickly while assuring the buyer of a good deal.
You might also want to renew the registration if it’s about to run out. It is one thing buyers want in a second-hand car.
The right time to sell older cars
If you're selling an old car, it isn't the car that the buyer will be most interested in. Potential buyers will be interested in the car's current roadworthiness and its history. They expect that the vehicle has signs of wear-and-tear needing repairs from time to time. What they want to know is if it is worth spending their money on.
Also, don't overspend trying to fix it if it is worth less than the repairs. The chances are high that regardless of how much you spend, its value won't increase. Keep in mind that repairs can give the buyers assurance or scare away buyers by making them wonder if there are any other caveats.
If you are looking for parts to make repairs before you put your car up for sale, you can use our efficient finder tool to locate the auto parts you need.
Bonus Tips for Selling Your Car
- If you’re going the dealership way, avoid selling when dealers are promoting. This is, however, the best time to trade in your car as dealers will readily offer you a good deal.
- Don't sell your car when the price of fuel is high, especially if it is not fuel-efficient. Conversely, if it is a fuel-efficient car, it's the perfect time to put it up for sale.
- Avoid selling in the first 3 years as it will have lost most of its value through depreciation. Cars typically lose 10% of their value upon leaving the dealership. They turn to lose an average of 15% to 25% each year in the first four or so years.
The Last Resort: Sell Your Car for Parts
At some point, you might realise that selling your car won't get you as much money as selling its parts. This is the case for high-demand auto parts, and in such a scenario, the ideal option will be to sell the car to wreckers. You will find the most reliable wreckers, whom we call our Wreckamended Wreckers, from our homepage. You may also advertise your car through our Ads, and it’s the same place where you can reach out potential car part buyers. Head on to us now and post and ad for your car!