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When to Sell Your Car

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Yesterday, I mentioned you can save $31,000 over 10 years by keeping your car rather than selling it with your eyes on the “new hotness.”

But there are certain times you just shouldn’t hang on to “old and busted.” Consumer Reports has some suggestions for when you should say goodbye.

  • It needs repairs costing more than its value.
  • The vehicle’s structural integrity is threatened by a badly rusted floor pan or sills.
  • Despite repairs, the car remains unreliable, and it seems likely you could be left stranded.
  • It has been in a flood or serious accident.

Not in Consumer Reports’ list is the desire to trade-up to keep up with the latest models. However, I’ve been wondering if some technological breakthroughs, like a doubling or tripling of fuel efficiency at the same price, would be a good reason to abandon old technology even if it is still working well.

Updated September 28, 2007 and originally published September 4, 2007. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

avatar Chris

Has fuel economy really improved? Do new car technologies really help the driver? You can add cruise control, GPS navigation, satellite radio, etc…for a fraction of it costs to get the same thing OEM in a new vehicle. Things like power windows/locks/steering/automatic transmissions have been more or less standard for the last 20 years.

Has gas mileage really improved? From the 60s maybe, but there are plenty of older gas-sipping models. Certainly there has been no significant improvement to justify the cost of a new vehicle.

New carpet, leather reupholstering, and a paint job can breathe new life into an older model, all available aftermarket.

Our most fuel efficient vehicles today, like the Toyota Yaris, still gets about the same mileage that the 1991 Geo Metro did. You can argue for hybrids, but consider that a Civic Hybrid could cost $30k compared to a $2k well running Metro with the hybrid getting maybe 10mpg more. Where is the improvement there?

I think it boils down to our vehicles being status symbols.

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