Best Times to Sell Your Car

Selling your car quickly and for the most potential profit often comes down to timing. A few factors you should consider before you post an advertisement include:

  • The time of year.
  • Mileage.
  • Special events or holidays.
  • The economy.

Consider the Season

The weather can often determine how large or small the demand is for your vehicle. To sell your car quickly, it's best to list certain vehicles according to the season.

Some examples include:

  • Trucks and 4x4s sell best in the fall and winter.
    • During these seasons, rain and snow become an issue in some areas of the United States.
    • If you live in an area in which its difficult to drive a sedan in bad weather, listing your truck for sale when the demand is high may yield you higher profit and a quicker sale.
  • Convertibles and sports cars sell best in spring and summer.
    • The best time to sell performance vehicles or convertibles is when the sun is out.
  • Commuter vehicles sell best during the peak of summer or winter.
    • When the weather is at its extremes (hot and cold), waiting outside for public transportation is more of a pain.
    • Though it's likely that you can sell a commuter vehicle during any season, selling during the really hot summer months and really cold winter months might help you sell more quickly.

Monitor Mileage Milestones

How many miles you've racked up on your odometer can make it more difficult to sell your car or truck. Older vehicles with lots of miles are a higher maintenance risk and appear more costly to potential buyers. Making sure to sell your vehicle while it still has the majority of its engine life left in it will leave you with a better chance of selling quickly at the price you're targeting.

For details, visit our page on Mileage Milestones for Vehicles.

Utilize Special Events or Holidays

Special events or holidays throughout the year often provide the perfect opportunity to sell your vehicle.

Here are a few you should be aware of:

  • Tax rebate season.
    • Once tax rebates are mailed out, buyers will have more cash on hand for big purchases.
  • Hunting season.
    • In certain parts of the country, hunting season increases the demand for trucks and 4x4 vehicles.
    • Listing your vehicle just before this season begins can help you sell more quickly.
  • High school or college graduations.
    • Students looking for used cars, or parents shopping for transportation for their new graduates, will normally pick up toward the end of spring.
    • Another good time of year to post advertisements in areas with a high volume of college students is in early fall when students head back to campus.
  • Christmas and the Independence Day.
    • Prices for new vehicles are usually discounted the most during both these times of year.
    • If you've got a newer model that's low mileage, you might be able to attract buyers comparing similar newer and used vehicles.

Factor In the Economy

The demand for certain types of vehicles will increase or decrease according to the economy. Here are a few factors that can increase your chances of a quick sell:

  • Fuel efficiency.
    • In a down economy, gas prices usually rise.
    • If you have a fuel-efficient or hybrid vehicle you'd like to sell, a slump in the economy can help to maximize profit and sell quickly.
  • Luxury cars and SUVs.
    • When the economy is good, larger luxury vehicles will be in higher demand.
  • Public transportation.
    • The cost of public transportation can vary according to the economy.
    • When the public transportation costs rise, there will be more interest in used cars.
  • Interest rates and loan approvals.
    • When qualifying for loans becomes more difficult and interest rates rise due to a weak economy, selling a used vehicle will be easier to accomplish.
  • Popularity of certain models.
    • Trends can make certain vehicles sell quicker than others.
    • Researching popular vehicles selling in your area might help you make a decision on whether or not it's the right time to advertise your own.

More information can be found on our guide to how the economy impacts selling a vehicle.

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