Do The MathWhat is your car worth? Is replacing the windshield/tuning up the engine/repairing the wiring more than the cost of the vehicle? Start hanging on to every car repair bill you spend money on. You might be surprised by how little things add up over a month or year.
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You can easily search the estimated value of your vehicle on a car valuation site, like Kelley Blue Book, but keep in mind that these estimates are often over-inflated. Trading your vehicle in, or selling it privately, will usually not get you near the Kelley Blue Book pricing. Cut the Blue Book Valuation by 1/3 (e.g. $3000 value becomes $2000 value) and keep that number in mind when you get a repair done. Don’t know if your mechanic is being truthful with pricing? Download the RepairPal app, which gives you a rough estimate of repair costs based on your vehicle and your location. It’s perfectly reasonable to expect 10+ years out of a new vehicle purchase, but even if you only make it a few years after your vehicle is paid off, you should be proud. If your vehicle gives out after four years or before you’ve paid off the loan, consider buying used next time and keep track of your maintenance needs with an app like aCar that keeps you up to date on repair needs and fuel costs.
Who will give you the best deal when it’s time to sell?If you’ve been in an accident that has totaled your vehicle, or your vehicle is no longer running, you may be surprised to know that reputable “Cash For Cars” companies offer some of the most competitive pricing for damaged vehicles. Many dealerships don’t accept vehicles that aren’t running or that have extensive damage, and, if they do, they won’t tow for free. This brings down the value from trade-in significantly, since towing can often cost in the hundreds. Private selling becomes almost impossible with a wrecked vehicle because, well, people don’t want wrecked cars. Shopping around for an offer is in your best interest. Depending on your location, year, make, model and other factors, some car buying companies may be able to offer you more for your vehicle because they understand the value and base it off of the current market value being made from resell on auction platforms.
How To Say GoodbyeHowever you choose to sell, be sure to get in those last pictures of yourself behind the wheel. Cheese it up for the camera, take your car through your favorite drive through one more time, and then make sure you’ve taken out all of your possessions, from the garage door opener clipped to your visor to the sunglasses you keep stowed in the sunglasses holder above the dash.
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