When Should You Sell Your Car? How To Know When It’s Time

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The average age of American cars was almost 12 years as of 2016. It’s clear some motorists have decided to drive their car until the wheels fall off.

But that’s not a great strategy if you want to sell your car and get a decent return on it. Knowing when to sell your car is better than holding on to it for too long because of sentimental reasons.



When should you sell your car? Keep reading for five signs it’s time to unload your old car. 

1. You’re Always Apologizing for It

Let’s say your coworker asks for a ride home. You agree, and then immediately apologize in advance: “Sorry about how my car drives, by the way.”

Your car should be something worth taking pride in. For instance, a clean used car that still runs well is no reason to feel ashamed. 

But vacuuming the inside of your car can only do so much. If you’re making excuses or apologies for a vehicle’s performance, that’s a sign to sell. 



2. You’re Emotionally Ready

At the beginning of your relationship, you named your car. You felt a real attachment to it. But that attachment will peak at some point. 

After it peaks, you may start getting more irritated or frustrated with your car. Constantly asking yourself, “Should I sell my car?” means you’re ready to let go and move on to something better.

3. It’s Still Fairly New

In general, it’s better to sell a car when it still has less than 100,000 miles on it. For many people, selling around 50,000 or 60,000 miles makes a lot of sense.

At that point, you’ve had the car for three or four years, if not longer. The warranty has expired, but it’s still got a lot of life left.

There’s no need to drive your car into the ground. It’s already depreciated quite a bit, and you don’t want to wait so long that no one will buy it. 

4. It Stranded You or Left You Feeling Unsafe

For some people, “When should I sell my car?” is an agonizing question to answer.

But if your car has let you down when you needed it the most, the answer is simple.  For example, let’s say your car breaks down in the middle of a road trip. Now you have to call a towing company to bail you out. 

Your car should make you feel secure. If it’s not doing that, why hold onto it? 

5. You Have the Money to Upgrade

For many car owners, figuring out when to sell a car boils down to their bank accounts.

If you’ve stopped making car payments years ago, that’s good. If you’ve had time to save up for a down payment on a newer car, that’s even better.

Being financially secure means you have the money to upgrade to something better. That’s always better than the alternative.

When Should You Sell Your Car? 

You’ve been turning over the “When should you sell your car?” question for a while. You’ve decided now is a good time. But that doesn’t mean you should go ahead and list it.

The time of year can play a big role in how fast your car sells, or even if it sells at all. For more automotive insights, keep reading our blog.