A good goal for a car owner is to decide when to trade a vehicle rather than repair it. Toward that end, here are some tips and tricks to figure out whether you should sell or repair an old car.
If your tires are worn, torn or otherwise in bad shape, you need to think hard before you buy new tires. An old car may only last another six months. New tires could last years. Instead, you may be able to buy good used tires. Then if the car dies or you decide to sell it, you won’t feel like you wasted money.
Brake pads or new brake fluid are inexpensive items, and fixing those would probably be better than selling a car that is running fine. New rotors and drums, however, would cost more than an old car is worth. You may be able to sell it to another driver and subtract the cost of repairs from the asking price. For instance, if it is expected to fetch $6,000 in good condition, you could offer it for $5,000. A dealership won’t make you this deal, unfortunately.
Dealerships won’t buy your car if an engine light is shining. So, if it’s getting old and you are considering getting rid of it, there’s no time like the present. Without that tell-tale light, you could get a good return on your car, based on its model year, mileage, and condition.
Cleans Up Great
If your old car cleans up well, you may want to consider selling it. A shiny, good-looking car can always get a better price than one that looks rundown, ugly or extremely dirty. It won’t hurt to get some price quotes. Maybe you can get a good deal from a reputable used car dealer and trade for something newer and more durable.
A bad odor in the car can bring the whole thing down. One of the hardest cars to sell is one that reeks of cigarette smoke. It may be necessary to just keep fixing a smelly car because it’s almost impossible to sell it to a dealer or another driver.
A Total Wreck
If your car has been in wrecks and fender benders, it may not sell to a dealership. Instead try to sell to another driver based on how well it runs. Perhaps you can get a good price and trade up to a better used car.
Electric Locks and Windows
A broken window motor isn’t that big of a deal. After all, the car still runs fine. If you do try to trade, a dealership will reduce their offer based on broken electric locks, missing door handles, busted power chairs, and every other thing they can find to count against the car.
Bad Fuel Efficiency
When dealers and buyers look at cars, they rarely take into account bad fuel efficiency. So, a well-maintained car with bad gas mileage is definitely a car that is ready to be sold. You can get something more efficient. Good fuel economy reduces your ownership costs and provides some balance for your new-to-you car payments.
Last but not least, keep an eye on the value of your old car. There is a sweet spot for selling most cars. If that time hasn’t already come and gone, you may be able to fetch a decent price on your trade.