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Best Time To Trade In Your Vehicle

Trading in your used vehicle is the most convenient way of getting a better deal on a new model. However, knowing when to do so can make a huge difference. As an owner, you should strike a balance between getting the most out of your current car, but also keeping a high trade-in value.

There are many factors that determine the value of a used vehicle, and weíre here to explain what to look for.



While itís true that mileage plays a part in determining the trade-in value, it is less significant than people assume. The 100,000 miles mark is often considered a problem, but as people continue to trade in low-mileage cars, the market has become saturated.

You shouldnít limit your annual mileage just to preserve the value. A vehicle is losing the most value when itís not used to its fullest extent, so take every opportunity to drive your car. That being said, if youíre not a frequent driver, the best time to sell your car is under 10,000 miles.


Age is tied in with mileage, and itís arguably the most important factor. As soon as you drive the car out of the dealership, it loses anywhere between 10% to 30% of its value. In three years, it goes down to half and continues to decrease as years go by. Excluding the extreme cases, this is why low mileage is relatively insignificant.

The longer you wait to trade in, the less valuable your vehicle will be. Our recommendation is to look into the trading options six months before the expiration of the warranty. If youíre going to keep it any longer than that, then maintenance cycles will become the determining factor.


When you buy a brand new car, itís covered by a maintenance clause and a warranty policy that dictates when and where maintenance will take place. Once the warranty expires, you will have to handle the costs yourself.

Oil and filter changes are mandatory and inexpensive, but you should try to time the major replacements.

The timing belt and accompanying parts are one of the larger expenses. If youíre planning to keep the vehicle past its expiration date, try to reach the mileage necessary for a replacement within the warranty period, then trade in the vehicle before the next cycle. You can apply the same logic to brakes and suspension.

Nothing can last forever, so you need to familiarize yourself with the components of your car. Browse car forums and see what those who have racked up more miles have to say about the model. It will help you form a mileage limit, and avoid very expensive repairs.


When trading in a car, youíre transferring the burden of selling the car to the dealership. Because of this, condition plays a major role in determining trade-in value, as the dealer has to consider how quickly and easily your vehicle can be sold.

Keeping your car in great condition is a certain way of retaining its value. Seat covers keep front seats, especially the driver's seat, from getting worn out and damaged. Polish up headlights and minor scratches, and replace or fix damaged body panels. Even if your vehicle is accident-free, through years of driving it can accumulate lots of minor damage that will ultimately affect its value.


If you take into account all the information presented in this article, you can ensure a higher trade-in value for your vehicle. You shouldnít worry too much about the mileage, but try to stay ahead of inevitable maintenance and repairs to minimize your expenses. Take care of the vehicle and try to keep it stored inside a garage and you should see a greater return.
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