When to Sell Your Car – Tips for When It’s Time to Let Go

It can be hard to let things go. Cars can mean a lot to us; they get us through life and are a sizable investment. But as the saying goes, if you love something, let it go. It is important to know when to sell your car. Waiting too long can leave you in a pit (figuratively, I mean) where your car will not turn a profit and your time and energy is not worth it.

Furthermore, it is crucial to keep an eye on the warning signs that it might be time to sell your old car. You always want to be ahead of the curve, especially with something as expensive and critical as your transportation.

Here are tips to tell when to let go and sell your used car.

1. Sell Your Car When It Is Unreliable

Unless we’re talking about some fancy vehicle you take out on Sundays and avoid touching, reliability is the most important attribute of a daily driver. You want to get where you need to go without stressing over the health of your vehicle. You don’t want to have to keep a towing company on speed dial.

Therefore, if your car spends more time in the shop than it does in your garage, it is time to say goodbye. If there’s a few fixable things, do so, but if your to-do list is piling up and the car’s reliability is in question, move on.

In addition to reliability, focus on safety, too. If your car seems dangerous in any way, there is no reason to hang on to it. The safety of you and your passengers is significantly more important than keeping a car through sentimentality or laziness.

You should never be afraid to drive your car. It is as simple as that. Follow your gut. If it seems like it’s time to sell your car, then it probably is.

2. Is the Worth Less Than the Cost?

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Credit: Imgflip

Keeping an older car on the road can be much more than it is worth. It is pivotal to keep in mind the overall cost of the vehicle. Have you already put the car’s worth into maintenance and still need work done? It’s time to move on.

Keep the idea of sunk cost in mind. If you continue to dump money into a car overloaded with issues, it will get to the point that you’ve put more money into the car than it’s worth. Ultimately, there are inclined buyers that are willing to purchase used cars that have a few issues. Unfortunately, you’ll eventually hit a point where this is no longer the case. Buyers will consider it scrap.

Get out while you are ahead.

Keep a keen eye on the worth of your car through sites like Kelley Blue Book. Ask your mechanic to give you an overview of what needs to be done with the car currently. Ask what needs immediate attention and what can be put off. Think of things that will need to be done in the future other than oil changes (like new brakes, tires, or a timing belt).

If the cost of the fixes outweighs the overall worth by a large margin, you already know the answer. Add the value of the car and the value of the repairs and use that amount to buy a car with a long future.

Furthermore, remember that mechanics cannot be 100% accurate in their predictions of your repair needs. The things you need to be done in the future could be more than their guess.

3. Think of How You Want to Sell Your Car

Believe it or not, how you sell your car is important to when you should.

Firstly, if you are planning to sell your car privately, plan on putting your car up a little bit before you need to sell it. Selling a car on your own can take time and effort. You have to be ready to answer questions and set up test-drive times. 

Also, you have to keep track of the time you try to sell your car privately. Convertibles sell better in the summer. Cars sell better overall around the time of tax returns. So on and so forth.

Secondly, if you are trading your car into a dealership, give yourself the leeway of having spare money to put down on your new car. Most often, dealerships give you lesser value than the car is worth. Be prepared for this financially.

Luckily, dealerships dedicated to buying used cars like Sell My Car Colorado are willing to give you market value for the car immediately and can also offer $100 more on your vehicle than the competition.

4. Sell Your Car Around 100,000 Miles

A terrific rule of thumb with most vehicles is the 100,000 miles mark. Keep an eye on your odometer. Once your car is over that point, start thinking of the previous points listed. Is the car going to continue fitting your needs? Is it starting to seem unreliable?

Ultimately, 100,000 isn’t a death sentence for a vehicle. If taken care of, some cars can last longer than that mileage. On average, cars begin to experience wear and tear around this point.

This milestone also indicates that you’ve driven your car quite a bit. It is only natural for there to be a bit of physical wear on the body at this point. You want to sell your car while it still looks presentable.

This milestone is when to start thinking about the future of your vehicle. In most circumstances, barring classic vehicles, this is when a car’s value will begin to decline.


Once again, trust yourself when it comes to your vehicle. You are the one that drives it. You are the one that knows the most about its performance, the little intricacies and the bumps on the exterior.

When you think it is getting close to the time to sell your car, it probably is. Start thinking of the next steps before it’s too late and you end up spending more money than it is worth.