Is it time to sell your car?

If you’re anything like me, you’ll be left in no doubt as to when the time is right to sell your car – the plumes of smoke coming from the engine are normally a useful indicator that it’s time for a change. But if you’re not in the habit of running your car into the ground and want to get more bucks for your banger, then a more considered approach is required. So what are the rules, if any, around selling your motor? Should you wait until the warranty is up, or sell it with a year or so left and use this as a bargaining tool? And should you really sell a soft-top in spring and a 4X4 in autumn?
As it’s September, let’s first take a look at…

Selling your auto in autumn

The season when the year’s second set of number plates is released is boom time in the car trade, but as many people are nursing their credit cards back to health after a summer of spending, the commercial fleet market is usually busier than the retail sector. So if you’ve a traditional ‘fleet’ car to sell, such as a Ford Mondeo, then unless it’s a particularly good, low-mileage example, you might have trouble shifting it as the market is traditionally awash with this type of vehicle as companies and car-hire operators look to renew their stock. If you’ve a 4X4 or, better still, a fuel-efficient crossover to sell – think Nissan Qashqai or Skoda Yeti –you could be in luck as people look for all-wheel drives to get them through the winter and carry that Christmas shopping.

Getting rid of your wheels in winter

Winter is arguably the worst time to sell your car. Not only are most people saving up for/paying off Christmas, but as New Year heralds the approach of the new car registrations in March, many dealers will be slashing prices to get rid of excess stock. However, the extreme winters we’ve seen over the last couple of years have led to an increase in demand for 4x4 vehicles, particularly smaller ones such as Suzukis and Fiat Panda 4x4s which are easier on the fuel and on the road tax. Meaning you should probably keep that convertible garaged until you can…

Sell that sporty soft top in spring

As the first host of golden daffodils flutter and dance in the spring breeze, so people’s attentions turn to the summer – making spring the ideal time to sell if you’re looking to offload a sports car, convertible or roadster. A word of warning, though, as spring is peak time for car sales as the new March registrations roll off the forecourts. That means competition will be fierce and it’ll take an excellent example, or a knock down price, to really catch people’s eye. Get it right though, and you could cash in on the dramatic seasonal price rises – as the tops come down, the prices go up. There is, however, a tipping point as…

Summertime blues hit car sales

Although you may still get top dollar for your cabrio, most other cars will suffer from a drop in buyer-interest and, subsequently, price as thoughts turn to summer holidays and entertaining the kids – so it might be best to hold out until the autumn.

To sell, or not to sell

It’s not just the changing of the seasons that can influence whether you sell or not, there’s also the age of your own car to consider – if you’ve bought new, does it make sense to sell it on within the first three years or wait a while longer? While there’s no hard-and-fast rule, it stands to reason that the newer the car, the more it is worth, so it can be sensible to sell sooner rather than later. That said, most of a car’s depreciation will occur within the first nine months it’s on the road, so you could stand to make a substantial loss if you sell within a year of owning it. Then you have to consider the reliability of the car as it will become a lot harder to shift once things start going wrong. And research from Warranty Direct, which specialises in after-market warranties, suggests that car failure rates increase significantly when they reach the five-year or 60,000 mile mark. Sell your car when it’s nearly new and depreciation will hit you in the pocket, hang on to it too long and the asking price might not cover the repair bill – just don’t try and sell it in summer, whatever you do!

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