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WHEN TO CHANGE YOUR CAR: According to motoring experts this is when you should be trading in

Updated: Aug 23, 2023

Whether you're looking to trade up for a newer car or want to sell up for a bigger motor, there are many things to consider before you take the leap.

In fact, Bristol Street Motors has spotted that searches for ‘when to change car’ have increased by 59 percent over the past week alone.

When it comes to deciding whether to trade up your motor, the experts at Bristol Street Motors said: “Car valuations are always changing, so it's important to be aware of the key factors that could impact the final asking price. Only when you’ve taken these factors into consideration, can you decide whether it’s a good time to trade up your motor or not.

“However, it’s important to note that the best time to sell and trade up your car will differ for everyone. Lifestyle factors are a big influence too, so take the time to understand your car and personal circumstances. For example, if you are changing jobs and your commute requires a more reliable car. Or if your family is expanding, then your car may well need to as well.”

1. Track your car's market value

It’s almost always true that you’ll sell your car for less than the original retail price, so car depreciation is a key factor to consider when deciding whether to trade up.

Car depreciation refers to the rate at which a car’s value decreases over time. This is normally affected by mileage and whether the car was new or used when you bought it.

Most models are unlikely to depreciate at the same rate every year, so it’s good to track your car’s market value over time to find the best time to trade up.

It’s good to note that if you have a used car, it’s likely already experienced its most extreme depreciation, meaning you're less likely to lose as much money when you trade up.

Ways to minimise your car depreciation include maintaining it well, keeping up-to-date service records, preventing MOT failures, and repairing any damages as soon as possible.

2. Maintain your car’s condition

An important consideration when thinking about trading up is, of course, the internal and external condition of your car, as this is one of the biggest drivers of value.

It is worth prioritising any small cosmetic fixes such as scratches and dents, and replacing broken lights and wiper blades, as these repairs can help to increase the value of your car without breaking the bank. However, make sure you weigh up the cost of any repairs against how much value they will add to the car. This ensures you are investing effectively in your motor.

Remember to keep receipts of any repairs and services for your vehicle, to provide proof of care to a potential buyer or dealer.

3. Keep an eye on your mileage

In the UK, a car will drive an average of around 7,400 miles a year. As a general rule of thumb, the higher your mileage is, the lower your valuation will be. A mileage of 100,000 or more can decrease the value of your car significantly, as cars with excessive mileage are typically less fuel-efficient.

If your car has a mileage between 40,000 to 70,000, this is considered an ideal time to trade up. So, be mindful of your mileage when you are deliberating whether or when to sell your car.

4. Increased demand for your car

It is always worth considering how your car’s value could be impacted by the time of year.

In March and September, new number plates are released, which means many people are looking to buy new cars and might want to trade in their used cars. This potential increased number of used cars available could lower the selling price of your own used motor, as demand isn’t as high.

Seasons can also have a surprising impact. During the colder months, 4x4s and SUVs are in higher demand, and in warmer months, convertibles and sports cars are more popular. If you are lucky enough to have one of these cars, try timing your trade up according to the seasons to try and get the best price.


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