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  • Writer's pictureClaire Marie

To Keep or Not To Keep

How do you know when it's time to sell your car? I know people that will keep a car and keep repairing it until it seems that everything under the hood is brand new. I know others who buy and sell cars on a set schedule no matter what. For us, there are many factors involved.

First, I rarely ever buy a car brand new - they almost always have at least one prior owner. I have learned that new isn't always best but also that you run the risk of buying someone else's problem. So, buying a certified pre-owned car is a good option - that way you can help mitigate the issue of buying someone else's problem. When a car starts costing thousands of dollars to repair and it's not under warranty, it can be a warning sign that it's time to sell. That's when we start the cost-benefit analysis.

Under the cost-benefit analysis, Jeffrey Walter and I look at things like how much car payment can we handle, how long would it take to pay it off, what are the most likely things to need repair on the current car, would one repair be equivalent to a car payment, etc. But that's not all we consider.

Next, we look at the used car market as a whole. What kind of cars are available? Are used car prices inflated? What kind of trade-in value would my current car provide? Would it be better to sell it as a private seller or would it be better to do a trade?

Finally, when we are looking at the different brands of cars, we also look at what kind of maintenance and warranty plans are available along with what kind of service is available (if bought at a dealership). How long do the warranties last? Is the warranty on a pre-owned car better than the one on a used car? How many miles does the potential car have on it already? Do they have a maintenance plan? Does the service department have a good reputation? When your car needs service or repairs, can you get a loaner?

So, a lot of thought goes into this process. How do you decide? Do you run a cost-benefit analysis? Are you brand loyal?

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