Why Your Used Car Is Worth Less (And What You Can Do About It)

Sell your car and still come out ahead.

2014 Toyota Corolla

If you’re planning to sell your car either to a private party or to trade it in to a dealer for a new car, then you may have discovered that its value has slipped in recent months. Besides being a few months older and with more miles on the odometer, there are some good reasons why your cars valuable has been slipping. Well tackle those issues here and help you get more for your car when you’re ready to make a sale.

1. Lower gas rates equals falling prices for economical cars. In recent years as gas prices have risen so has the value of fuel efficient small cars. Earlier this year, gas prices topped $4 per gallon across much of the nation, pulling up used car prices with it. As gas prices fall as they are doing in summer 2012, used car values are also falling. This is one area of car pricing you have little control over, but take heart if you own a luxury car as scant supplies of these vehicles has been driving up prices according to the National Automobile Dealers Association and its Used Car Guides.

2. Make mention of a warranty. Later model used cars often come with a new vehicle warranty, one that may not have expired yet. Check your warranty and if it is fully transferrable to a new owner, make note of that when you advertise your car for sale. Even older models from Kia and Hyundai may still be covered, given that both companies offer a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. An available warranty adds values to a car.

3. Get it ready to show. You can make up for the dropping value of used cars, by ensuring that your vehicle is in tip-top shape and looks great. Any maintenance issues should be resolved before you put your vehicle on the market. You’ll also want to wash and wax it, detailing it by using an old toothbrush to lift crud from cracks, a soft brush on the wheels to remove brake dust and pay particular attention to hazed-out headlamps. Providing similar attention to the interior can make your car look great and fetch you more when you’re ready to sell it.

4. Sell it privately. It takes more work and preparation to sell a used car privately, but you stand to make much more money on a private sale than through a trade-in. Your car dealer may be willing to take your old car off of your hands, but that comes with a price reduced profits fro you. Dealers will sometimes inflate the price of your trade-in to make it look as if youre getting a good deal, but youll pay in some other way such as receiving less of a discount for your new car.

5 Advertise it effectively. These days, you don’t have to take out an expensive newspaper advertisement to market your car. Indeed, word of mouth advertising can help you sell your car, perhaps to someone you know. Start with the people nearest and dearest to you and tell them that your car is for sale. Ask them to help spread the word, providing contact information and car details on a flyer or through an email message to help your market your car. Beyond the people you know, online ads through services such as MSN Autos, AOL and Edmunds.com can also attract buyers according to Consumer Reports.

Private Sale

Ultimately, the value of your used car doesn’t always coincide with what a buyer may be willing to pay for it. A few percentage point drop in car values can be made up if your car is in good running condition, looks great and is a model that is in high demand. Negotiate wisely and you’ll come out ahead in a private party car sale.

See Also8 Reasons to Avoid a Particular Used Car

Author: Matthew Keegan
Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.

Leave a Reply