How You Could Tell When It Is Right To Sell Your Car

by Janis Reid

People develop strange attachments to their old vehicles. Sometimes, a vehicle may serve as a happy reminder of first dates, funny mishaps, and the family vacations of yesteryear. However, the time inevitably comes when owners must say goodbye to their old jalopy, and promote the cars for sale. If cars show significant structural damage, and repairing the damage will be more than buying a new vehicle, then selling will be the right option.

Rust problems are a good sign that it's time to sell a vehicle. Despite the fact that vehicle workmanship, undercoating, and paint have improved significantly, a used car that faces wintry conditions, or which travel over rough roads, will inevitably show signs of rust. If rust spots push through the paint, the wheel wells are probably in poor shape, and vehicle damage may be irreversible.

Major engine problems may also indicate that it's time to sell. If a vehicle's gas mileage drops precipitously, or owners can hear a rod knocking in the engine, then the vehicle probably needs significant work. A rebuilt engine will be expensive, and may give several years of good performance, but there is no way to guarantee success.

Owners must consider selling if safety is compromised by needed repairs. If the brake light or oil light is coming on, or if the temperature gauge runs hot, then owners should pull the vehicle over immediately, to avoid collisions or expensive repairs. Even minor problems with seat belts, airbags, tie rods, ball joints, and brakes add up to a significant amount of money, as well as creating a safety hazard.

Sometimes, changes in lifestyle may mean purchasing a new vehicle. A growing family will not fit well in a compact car, so owners may need to trade in for a family sedan. Or, the family budget may not be able to accommodate the old gas guzzler, so owners may need to invest in a car with better gas mileage.

A repair versus buy calculation will help owners come to a decision. Owners should write out the cost of repairs, and the amount of time they expect the car to last. Then, owners should write out the cost of new car payments, and compare the two totals. If the cost of repairs, plus the aggravation and time wasted in the repair shop look like to much, then owners should consider selling their vehicle.

Selling privately and trading in to a dealer both have advantages. Cars which are sold privately will garner more money, even though the selling process will require more hassle. On the other hand, trading in works well when owners would have to dump a significant amount of money into getting the car into sellable condition. The decision is a question of both money and convenience.

If a vehicle is running well, with no structural damage, then owners shouldn't confuse their desire for new wheels with the need to purchase a more reliable vehicle. However, when serious problems show up, or lifestyle changes make the old car a poor fit, then selling makes sense. Before advertising a car for sale, owners should calculate whether selling privately, or trading in to a dealer, would be the better choice.

About the Author: