The thought, “Man, I really just need to sell my car today for cash” might have started forming in the back of your mind months ago. But, you’ve ignored it. Why? Your car is sentimental to you, it was the first one you ever got, and you’ve made a lot of memories with it. Sadly, when reality decides to come knocking, that’s not a good enough reason to keep your car. If that idea has been in the back of your mind but you’ve been resisting it, then it’s time.
Whether it’s because duct tape is holding everything together or it just isn’t safe anymore, here are five sure signs that it’s time to sell your car.
It’s Held Together By Duct Tape… and Hope
Every single morning you wake up, you think about how excited you are to go to work in your ride because you love driving your car. Sure, it has its quirks and you understand that nothing is perfect, so you want to keep it around; when you look at it, you can’t help but smile.
When other people see you driving it, they gape at you in horror. Sure, it might be sentimental to you, but it’s a junky deathtrap to others. The rust is so bad, you almost don’t have a frame left; you have the remaining piece of your muffler held up with a piece of chain and duct tape; the A/C doesn’t work; there is a rotted out hole in the passenger side floor; and you have a makeshift wooden front bumper.
Not to mention every time you try to start it, you plead to the universe and say about ten prayers to whatever god(s) you believe in that it’s in a good enough mood to let you get to work safely and on time.
If any of this sounds relevant to your situation, then I hate to break it to you; it’s time to get rid of your car. You need to stop looking at it through rose-colored lenses, and see just how impractical and dangerous this car has become.
Bottomline, if it’s held together by duct tape and hope, then you don’t have a choice anymore.
Repairs Cost More Than the Car Itself
You still think of all the fond times when you first got your car. Cruising around when it was still in relatively new condition and how good it treated you. But now, you are shelling out money for repairs every month — and they are increasingly expensive.
It used to just be little things, like getting a new CD player installed for your tunes, or having the leaky A/C unit tinkered with. But now, your car’s refusal to go into reverse properly is foreshadowing a much more serious problem.
You also notice your car is slipping gears and there is a lack of urgency when you try to accelerate. It’s acting sluggish for a reason and it’s because your transmission is going. No matter how much fluid you put in it, it keeps happening.
A transmission is the most expensive repair/replacement made on your vehicle. Which means, if you got the car for $1,500 all those years ago, expect to pay much more than that to replace the transmission.
It’s not just the transmission either. Maybe your car isn’t passing inspection (again) this year and some of the repairs for a vehicle to pass inspection can be costly. I’m not talking about replacing the headlights, but repairs like ball joints, tie-rod ends, control arms, or even a catalytic converter will cost you a lot of money.
For example, replacing a catalytic converter will easily cost you $1,000 or more. Add that on to anything else that needs to get repaired for inspection and you are throwing a lot of money into a high risk with little reward scenario. If it cost you more than a grand just to put it on the road for a year, what else could break during that year?
My point is, when the repairs begin to cost more than the car itself, it’s not worth keeping anymore.
It No Longer Meets your Needs
This old beater might have served you well for when you were still living at home, but your life is changing — faster than you realize.
You just moved into a new house with the love of your life and you two are having a kid in five months. An old rust-bucket deathtrap isn’t a good car to drive your kid around in. That means it’s time for a new car – most likely an SUV or a minivan so that you can safely and properly take your kid to school in the morning.
Or, maybe you just got a new job; congratulations! But, this new job requires a longer commute. Now instead of driving five minutes downtown, you need to drive 45 minutes into the sticks. To make matters worse, you are driving a truck from the 90s. Even with the lower gas prices today, that fuel economy made with 90s technology is going to be a guzzler. Therefore, you need a newer car with better gas mileage.
If your life is changing, and your car no longer meets your needs, then it’s time to sell it and grab one that does.
Parts Are Hard to Find, And Expensive
Every year that goes by is like a slow dagger being pushed into the heart of your car; it’s going to be killed off eventually, you just aren’t sure when. All macabre analogies aside, your car is becoming outdated by the year. Everything in the car world changes so fast, particularly the car parts.
For example, Ford switched over to aluminum frames for their trucks. It requires a whole different set of tools and know-how to repair those types of frames; it’s nothing like working on a steel frame. Because of this, regular tools and personal knowledge gleaned from repairing your old F150 of days gone by won’t cut it anymore.
Because of this, you can bet they’ve also decided to phase out the older parts required for these vehicles as well. Now, the price of these parts has gone up tremendously compared to what they once were, on top of being more difficult to find.
It could also have nothing to do with the shift in an auto manufacturer’s parts. Maybe parts are expensive and hard to find because you’re driving a car made by an auto maker that went out of business – Saturn, for example.
Regardless of the reason, if the parts are expensive and hard to find, then sell it while you can. Because, no one will want to buy a car if they can’t get parts for it.
You Don’t Trust It Anymore
Finally, you just don’t trust it anymore. You find yourself dreading trying to start it on a cold morning or driving it home in the snow or rain. Or, maybe you don’t like driving your friends or loved ones around in it because you fear for their safety. If your car gives you a sense of unease, trust your gut because it’s probably right.
Even if this car represents something important to you, holding onto it isn’t safe. It’s time to sell it and get something that you can rely on.
Or, You Just Want a New One
Maybe these five signs don’t apply to you, but you just have this feeling that it’s time for a new car. It’s not a surefire reason to sell your old one like the others on this list, but it could be a sign. Maybe it’s because you are craving that new car smell with all the perks of hopping into a 2016 vehicle. Or, you could just be fed up with your old ride for numerous, but non-fatal reasons.
While this being fed up is more of a subjective sign, the other ones aren’t. The bottomline is, if you can relate to any of the five signs above, then it’s time to sell your car.