green car with for sale sign

Is Now the Best Time to Sell Your Car?


In the dynamic car-selling market, timing is everything. Whether you’re upgrading to a new model, downsizing, or simply looking to cash in on your current vehicle, knowing the best time to list your car for sale can significantly impact your bottom line. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the factors affecting car resale prices to help you decide whether now is the best time to sell your car.

From market trends to seasonal fluctuations, we’ll explore why seizing the present could lead to a lucrative transaction for savvy sellers. So, buckle up as we navigate the shifting landscape of the automotive market and uncover why the time might be ripe to part ways with your vehicle. 

This year, 2024, the used car market is experiencing some interesting dynamics. Let’s take a closer look:

Wholesale Prices

If you’re wondering when to sell your car a good place to start is to look at wholesale prices. As we head into the spring car-buying season, wholesale used car prices have been stabilizing. In mid-March, there was a minor increase in wholesale prices, which is noteworthy after several months of decline. However, overall, used retail prices are holding steady despite dealers paying more at auctions for inventory.

document and a car

The overall wholesale sedan car segment saw a slight increase of +0.33% in wholesale prices, with some other segments gaining and others dropping. Prestige luxury car prices decreased the most.  

Retail Prices

Retail used car prices are falling slowly so far this year. Interestingly, older used cars have appreciated the most. 

Trends for 2024

  • Return to normal: There’s a trend toward a “return to normal” for used car sales
  • Increased offerings: The number of vehicles on offer is increasing
  • High prices: There’s a trend toward high prices
  • Strong demand for older vehicles: Older vehicles are in demand
  • Electric vehicles: The adoption of electric vehicles is growing


  • Stability: Automotive data firm Cox Automotive expects wholesale prices to end 2024 only 0.5% higher than in December 2023. Pricing will fluctuate month to month due to selling seasonality and other factors.
  • Comparison to pre-pandemic levels: While wholesale values for used vehicles are getting closer to pre-pandemic levels, supply remains tight. 
handshake in front of a car

While the market has seen fluctuations, it’s essential to stay informed about used car prices to make smart financial decisions regarding trading in, selling, or buying a car. Whether it’s a seller’s market or not, understanding the trends in car pricing can help you navigate the used car landscape effectively. 

Tips on Deciding the Perfect Timing for Selling Used Cars

Now you know a little more about vehicle resale values, let's look at some of the other factors you should look at if you want to get the most money from your sale or trade-in with the minimum amount of hassle and time spent. 

Sell Before You Need To

If you put yourself under pressure to make a sale it can lead to mistakes when negotiating and selling. Ideally, you want to give yourself time to prepare your car for sale. You also want to research online car-selling platforms to decide which is best for you. Then there’s the negotiation with prospective buyers and completing all the paperwork. If you’re rushed at any step of the process, it could cost you money in the end. 

If your current ride is in danger of breaking down, it might be a good idea to sell it before it does. A vehicle that’s running is more valuable than one that’s broken down on the shoulder of the freeway. 

Is the Time Right for a Replacement?

Before you sell your current vehicle, make sure you’ve got enough money for its replacement. You’ll need to do some research to find your next car and ideally, get pre-approved financing in place. 

The Weather Affects Timing for Car Sales 

Believe it or not, car buying and selling has seasons. When the weather is blazing hot or wintery, there tend to be fewer buyers in the marketplace. Across much of the US, spring and fall tend to be the best times to sell a car.

Three-day weekends might seem like the ideal time to sell a car because you’ve got lots of time to prep and sell it. However, holidays can be tough because many buyers are focused on other things such as family activities or long weekend trips. 

Also, consider the type of car you’re selling. Convertibles are a hard sell as winter approaches. SUVs and crossovers tend to sell strongly in the fall, as buyers are getting prepared for winter weather.  

Sell Before Repair Costs Get Out of Hand

Saving for a down payment can be tough, especially when your current vehicle is always in the repair shop. At some point, selling your car will be necessary to protect your savings. Also, take into account future spending. Selling your car sooner rather than later is a good idea if you’re facing expensive maintenance costs, such as new tires.

Sell Before Your Next Major Service

Should you perform expensive maintenance or repair work before you sell your car? Generally, the answer is no. You’ll rarely get the money you spend back when you sell your car. Of course, putting off repairs and maintenance potentially lowers the value of your car, but the hit is usually less than the cost of the service.

Sell Before You Fall Behind on Your Car Payments

If you’re faced with the choice of selling your car or defaulting on a car loan, sell the car. Becoming delinquent on your car payments, defaulting on your car load, or facing repossession damages your credit score. A bad credit score can lead to a higher interest rate on your next car loan or could make it virtually impossible to get another loan. 

While the Mileage is Below 100k

For a potential buyer, a car that’s got 99,500 miles on the odometer is going to seem like better value for money than one that’s got 100,500 miles on the clock. Other mileage points that will make buyers pause are the end of the vehicle’s bumper-to-bumper warranty and the end of its powertrain warranty. 

Before a New Model Year Starts

With the debut of a new model year, every previous model year’s value declines a little more. A vehicle’s age and car depreciation rates are based on the month the latest model came out. 

When There Are Safer Alternatives

If you don’t feel safe sitting behind the wheel, it’s time to consider selling. You might be feeling unsafe because your car is less reliable or it tends to keep breaking down. It might also come from a lack of safety features, as cars have come on in leaps and bounds in recent years. 

handing car keys

Newer cars have a plethora of available safety and driver-assistance technologies, including now-required rearview cameras, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, and automatic high-beam headlights all have the potential to prevent collisions or reduce their severity.

We hope we’ve helped you decide that now is indeed the best time to sell your car. If you need further incentives for any potential buyers, why not consider offering to ship the car to the new owners as part of the price? 

Here at SGT Auto Transport, our car shipping rates are more affordable than you think and we can ship your car anywhere across the country. If you want to know more, speak with our shipping advisors at (864) 546-5038 or use our Live Chat option. 

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