Sell Your Car Now, Or Forever Keep The Piece …

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
sell your car now or forever keep the piece

Used car prices have been rising for a while to a degree that sometimes it can be cheaper to buy new than used. If you have been sitting on the fence, it could be time to hop on down. Used car prices are predicted to peak within the next two months.

Already, deals on new cars are not as common as a few months ago when carmakers splurged with incentives. Now, the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Used Car Guide predicts that trade-in values on used cars will go all acme on you within the next few weeks. Said Jonathan Banks, executive automotive analyst at NADA:

“The most advantageous time this year to trade in a used car will be April through May because values will be higher. Last year, used vehicle prices remained high through July because of a new-vehicle shortage stemming from the natural disasters in Japan, which led to a spike in demand for used vehicles. This year, used-vehicle prices will return to a more normal seasonal pattern.”

On the other hand, if you are not eager to sell, don’t. Keep in mind that NADA is the club of automobile dealers, and they want you to buy new even more than sell used. Because of carmageddon, supply of clean cars under five years is low and will remain low for a while.

YearMake/ModelAprJan$ Increase % Increase2011Kia Rio$9,100$7,700$1,40015%2009Toyota Prius$15,675$13,750$1,92512%2009Toyota Camry$12,900$11,450$1,45011%2007Honda Civic$7,975$7,100$87511%2011Mazda Mazda3$12,100$10,800$1,30011%2009Nissan Altima$12,675$11,325$1,35011%2010Chevrolet Aveo$9,075$8,125$95010%2010Ford Focus$11,225$10,075$1,15010%2010Dodge Caliber$10,625$9,600$1,02510%2009Chevrolet Cobalt$6,650$5,975$67510%
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6 of 62 comments
  • Confused1096 Confused1096 on Apr 10, 2012

    Even beaters have shot up in value due to scrap price increases. The day of the $500 car is over, junkyards pay that now.

  • Lilpoindexter Lilpoindexter on Apr 10, 2012

    I have three daily/project cars...the newest 1995...the oldest 1978...I wonder if any of them have gone up in value...hmmmm

  • Spencer Williams Spencer Williams on Apr 10, 2012

    I just sold my car, as the time seems to be right. A buyer friend told me that used car prices right now are high in general, that prices go up a bit around tax time due to increased demand, and that Mustangs sell best right before the summer months. I had a low mileage 09 Mustang GT I bought a little over three years ago for a little over 20k (not counting taxes) and I just sold it for 17k. I'm happy with that. I had the rear quarter panel replaced as I scraped it up pretty good, and I thought that "frame repair" would kill the value. Wonder what I would've been offered with no accidents. Of course, I still have to buy another car. I was going to buy a '12 GT as they are incentivized right now, and I could get a new one with Brembos and no other options cheaper or the same price as the used 11s and 12s for sale. In the end, I think I need to get off the fast car train for a bit and buy a cheap beater I can work on (meaning break and repair and break again). I'm thinking CRX, old 318 or 325is, BMW 2002, or Datsun 510. The whole light and tossable angle seems appealing. Any input for or against any of those choices appreciated. I'm trying to spend under 5k, the less the better. (And no, I'm not looking for a Miata, for the record.) Oh and foxbody mustangs, I just can't resist them. Thanks!

    • See 1 previous
    • Spencer Williams Spencer Williams on Apr 11, 2012

      @redmondjp Yeah, I hear you, reliable won't be in the cards, and I'm okay with that. It will be my only car, so I suppose a daily driver, but I don't drive to work, so I only really drive for fun and groceries and whatever. And I'm taking auto classes at night, so I have access to a lift and a ton of tools, so I'm up for whatever maintenance-wise.

  • Chicagoland Chicagoland on Apr 11, 2012

    Mileage still matters though. Last year, my 2009 Focus had "only" 53K miles, and was offered $10K trade in. Now, with 76K, only $7500 offered. But, dealers will try to sell it for $11K.