Signs It's Time To Sell Your Car

If you’ve been driving behind the wheel of the same vehicle for half a decade or longer, chances are you’ve grown attached to your car. It’s taken you everywhere you needed to go, some places you didn’t really need to go and, on a few car trips with poor GPS navigation systems, places you had no intention of going. 

Signs It's Time To Sell Your Car

However, cars aren’t meant to last forever, including yours. So when is it actually time to say goodbye to your vehicle? Here are a few warning signs that it might be time to say goodbye to your Herbie.

Your car requires frequent and expensive repairs

If your car is requiring frequent and costly repairs, it may be a sign that it is reaching the end of its useful life. In this case, it may be more cost-effective to sell your car and invest in a newer, more reliable vehicle.

A few signs can indicate that your car’s repair costs are going to become a problem soon. For example, if your car is several years old and has high mileage, it may be reaching the end of its useful life, and repairing it may no longer be a cost-effective option. The older a car is, the more likely it is to develop problems as certain critical parts start aging out of functionality. 

Another warning sign? The cost of repairs starts exceeding the actual cash value of your vehicle. Depending on your car’s age and overall condition, a few hefty repair bills may make sense to cover. 

But on the other hand, replacing the engine of a three-year old car can get you a lot more bang for your buck than replacing the engine of a 15-year old car. The former still has some decent resale value, and you can expect the new engine to last you a good while; the latter, however, is already significantly depreciated and replacing the engine is probably not going to be the last repair you make.

If you are experiencing frequent and expensive repairs, it may be a sign that your car is reaching the end of its useful life, and continuing to invest in repairs may not be a cost-effective option. And if your car has safety issues that cannot be repaired, it may not be safe to drive.

Finally, if you cannot afford the cost of repairs, it may not make sense to invest in repairing your car, even if the car is fixable. In this case, it may be more cost-effective to sell your car for parts or scrap and invest in a more affordable vehicle that won’t require as many trips to the mechanic.

Your lifestyle or transportation needs have changed 

There are several life events that could have a significant impact on your transit needs, and everytime you experience a major life milestone, it’s a good idea to revisit your current needs, your potential future needs and whether your current vehicle is suited to meet those needs.

For instance, if you move to a new location further away from your job, you might suddenly find that the sporty gas-guzzler you’ve been driving around is starting to have a major impact on your wallet. It might make more sense to trade in for a newer, more fuel-efficient car. 

Depending on where you’ve moved and what your current situation is, you might even find that you don’t need a car at all anymore — some transit-friendly major metro areas make owning a car more of an inconvenience than anything else.

If you’re growing your family or planning on doing so in the near future, you might also want to count how many seats you have in your car. A little Fiat might have been great for zipping around town post-graduation, but if you plan on adding a child or two to the family, it might be time to look at larger vehicles or vehicles with newer safety features. 

Another unexpected life event that could change your transportation needs: disability. Whether you’re finding that you need a larger vehicle to accommodate a disabled family member or yourself, or a recent disability has made driving a near-impossible task, sometimes your car doesn’t suit your new necessities. 

You need to free up funds for other expenses

It’s no secret that having a car can tack on a variety of expenses to your monthly budget, including but not limited to: 

  • A monthly car payment if your vehicle is currently financed
  • Insurance payments for your car’s coverage
  • The cost of regularly filling your vehicle with gas
  • Parking expenses, if you have to keep your car in a garage 
  • Toll fees, if your regular commute involves paid roads
  • Registration and taxes for your car, depending on where you live
  • Maintenance and repairs that can come up regularly or unexpectedly

Between all the expenses listed above, just having a car can cost you $500 or more a month. There may be a point where it doesn’t make financial sense to keep paying all those expenses for your vehicle. 

At a certain point, you might need to take a cold look at your budget and determine if the benefits of owning a car outweigh the costs of keeping it. Although many people find that the answer is definitely yes, sometimes you might be surprised to realize, after doing the math, that it’s not worth the expense after all. 

You want to reduce your carbon footprint 

If you are concerned about the environment and want to reduce your carbon footprint, selling your car and switching to public transportation, biking, or walking can be a great way to achieve this goal.

Cars are a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide and other pollutants that contribute to climate change. But it doesn’t just begin when you drive the vehicle. — the production of cars also generates significant emissions, including those associated with the production of materials such as steel, aluminum, and plastic. By reducing demand for cars, you can indirectly reduce the carbon footprint of car production.

Walking, biking, and using public transit are generally more sustainable modes of transportation, as they do not emit greenhouse gasses and use fewer resources than driving a car. If you do need a car occasionally, car sharing or ride sharing services can be more sustainable than owning your own car, as they allow multiple people to use a single vehicle.

Deciding when to sell your car depends on several factors, including the condition of your car, your transportation needs, and your financial situation. 

If your car requires frequent repairs, your transportation needs have changed, or you need to free up funds for other expenses, it may be a good time to sell your car. 

Additionally, if you are concerned about the environment, selling your car and switching to alternative forms of transportation can be a great way to reduce your carbon footprint.