How much is my car worth to sell

Aug 18, 2011

This is one of the most popular queries in Google when people are thinking about selling their car; "how much is my car worth?" However, most people don't consider how much their car is actually costing them, especially given the fact that in most American homes, the car spends more time on the driveway than anywhere else!

Car clubs such as Zip Car are understandably on the rise whilst the major car rental firms are launching their own versions of the service. Those looking to save money in these incredibly tough times and help the environment along the way are joining these services in ever increasing numbers. Furthermore, cars generally depreciate in value. Many people when considering selling their car forget that there is a "time value" of money with several thousand or even tens of thousands of dollars tied up in their vehicle.

Many people are also downsizing their car. In a recent article in the Financial Times, a story covered a businessman who had traded in his huge sedan for a Fiat 500. He had saved a fortune in fuels costs as well as dramatically reduced his carbon footprint. Some families are also selling their second or third cars to further free up cash. If you have one car that spends the majority of its time on the drive, then why have two or even three cars. Plus the space saved in the garage can be put to far better use.

The key issue when selling your car is to understand that how you sell it generally determines its value. Selling it privately is likely to get you the very best price. However, it can be slow, and there are always safety considerations and typically the cost of advertising. Selling to a dealer is much faster and if you are going to do this, we would advise finding either a specialist "purchase only service" such as ourselves, or a dealer who specializes in the make of car that you are selling. We recommend this as firstly, dealers who specialize in say Honda are far more capable of selling other Hondas. This means that if they know the make of vehicle better and have a captive market of people looking to buy Hondas from them, they will be better able to offer you a decent price for your car.

Part exchange also tends to be better value when you trade the same make of car in that you are buying. Some experts advise that if you want to buy a Toyota, but currently own a BMW, you are better off selling the BMW privately or to a BMW dealer, and buying the Toyota with cash from the proceeds.

In summary, please remember that when selling your car, time is money and your money is in a generally declining asset.

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Wendy D & James K, Lederach
(2007 Mercedes-Benz GL Class)