When is the right time to sell your old car?

…And buy a new one.

Owners of aging diesel cars must be a really harried lot right now – especially in the Delhi-NCR region, after the Supreme Court upheld the National Green Tribunal’s ban on 10 year old diesel vehicles plying in the region.

What if you have a diesel car that is already 10 years old? What if it is about to hit 10 years of age? Aren’t you wishing you had got rid of the car earlier? That brings us to the question – when is it really the right time to sell your old car?

The answer is not really a simple one – it varies for a number of reasons. But here’s an attempt to narrow it down.

When is the right time to sell your old car?

The right odometer reading

If you are considering selling your car – there is a particular magic range in the odometer reading that will get you a good price. That figure is where you have extracted the most from your car, but yet it has plenty of usable life for a second owner. Usually, people try and let go of their cars when they cross about 60,000 km on the odometer – you have exhausted the standard two year warranty, but more often than not, it is still within the period of extended warranty. The new owner can still get at least 40,000 km more from the vehicle, at about 60% of the cost of a new vehicle. Also read: How to detect tampered odometers in used cars

The right age

For owners who have not driven around much – and not hit 60,000 km or for owners who have taken a loan and are repaying it, there is a time frame in years where you can get maximum value for your used car. That would usually be about five years to six years. This is the age of the car where an owner is likely to have fully repaid a loan and now has the capacity to take on a fresh loan (using the current car as down payment). So if the car is over five years and under seven years of age – it is a good time to sell the car.

The right condition

With cars being made increasingly durable these days, they can easily run more than 100,000 km without demanding expensive repairs. However, this varies from brand to brand. Some Japanese brands, for instance, are just about getting into their prime at that mileage, while some of the German brands or Indian brands would be seeking out expensive part replacements. The ideal time to sell your car is before it begins demanding things like a new clutch or engine overhaul. Also cars that go beyond 100,000 km have a psychological effect on buyers – as having been driven too much. Also read: How to buy a good second-hand car

The right finances

Many companies buy cars to claim depreciation benefits – and as perquisites for employees. These cars depreciate quite fast and usually companies are eager to get rid of them once their book value has reduced considerably. In fact, if you are a buyer, these are good cars to go after – as their market value is usually far higher than the book value. Companies often look to replace their cars between three years and five years of age, depending on the model.

The right technology

This is where the NGT ban on diesel cars over 10 years of age comes in. If you own a car that is running on obsolete technology, don’t plan for long-term ownership. Instead, try and trade it in as soon as the newer, better cars with cleaner emissions come in. Look for emerging technologies – turbocharged petrols, hybrids, bio-diesels or electrics as options, to stay future proof. Also read:5 reasons to buy a used car instead of a new one!

Share your thoughts on when is the right time to trade in your old car in the comments below.

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