The Best Time to Trade in for a New Car

Trading in your used car can save you effort and money.

Trading in your used car can save you effort and money.

When your automobile has passed its prime, the idea of selling it may hold some appeal. However, there are times when it's more advantageous to put the value of your old car toward the purchase of a new one by trading it in. Private sales can present a number of potential bothers, such as placings ads, screening buyers and showing the car. If you trade it in at the right time, however, you can avoid considerable worry and quickly place yourself behind the wheel of a newer model.


Toward the close of each year, starting around September, car manufacturers typically release the following year's models for sale. During this period, dealers are pressed to unload existing inventory and make room for fresh merchandise. If you apply your trade-in toward one of the older, but still unused, models, you can often negotiate a good deal in the process.

Repair Costs

Eventually, your car may simply become too expensive to keep. Given enough wear-and-tear, any car will begin to incrementally break down. Though the needed repairs may initially seem minor, over time they could costs you a bundle. Once you're paying more in repairs than you would for the monthly cost of a new car, it may be time to trade.

Surplus Value

If you want a new car and are still making payments on the one you have, consider whether it has any value beyond what you owe. If your car is worth more than what's left on the loan, you may be in a position to make a clean exchange--even via a trade-in--while possibly supplying the down payment for a new car. Find out what your car is worth by looking at the Kelley Blue Book, an informational resource that lists the current market value of used cars.


A good time to trade in your car is when it can no longer safely serve your driving needs. If, for instance, your responsibilities require a daily commute, breakdowns along busy highways pose a great danger. If you live in a colder climate, you may need a car that can manage slippery roads, and undergo the rigors of traveling in snow.



About the Author

Harold Sconiers is a jack of many trades. As an adolescent, he achieved accolades as an amateur boxer, subsequently taking his skills into the professional ranks. At the same time, his naturally creative mind allowed him to delve into developing other aspects of his artistic side. He is a community actor, writer, amateur filmmaker and inventor.

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