When Should I Trade in My Car?
Published On: June 2, 2021

The age old question; When Should I Trade in My Car?  That’s the question many car owners ask themselves once they feel an urge to buy a new car. If you have an older car that is already past its run time, you may start thinking about how you can easily afford a new one. In another situation, maybe you still owe on your car and wondering if trading it in is a wise option.



Just as buyers are waiting for the best time to buy a car, the same can be applied to their trade-in. If you do it at the right time, you may get a profit your car actually deserves. Many factors affect the trade-in price in general. And perhaps, knowing about some of these factors can help you when looking to trade in your car.

Should I Trade-In My Car?

This is usually the first question most vehicle owners ask.  After all, most car owners believe that the easiest way to make a profit on their pre-owned car is to sell it rather than trading it for a new car. Yet, you should think about a few fair points when deciding whether you should sell your vehicle separately or trade in for a new one.

Missed Tax Benefits

The potential tax saving is the most significant benefit when you are planning to trade in your car. For the places with a state sales tax, a credit is applied to your new car’s sales tax if you happen to trade in your vehicle at the same place where they purchase a new vehicle.

Irritating Documentation

When you are selling your car, you are mostly responsible for getting the paperwork, such as the vehicle’s title and registration. For an inexperienced seller, this could become a pretty frustrating and tedious process. Whereas, when you trade-in your car, the dealership usually takes care of the paperwork.

Selling Your Car Separately Usually Takes Longer

Selling a car typically takes weeks, especially if your vehicle needs repair. It is like you are in charge of everything from creating an ad to negotiating the price to preparing paperwork and everything in between. On the flip side, a trade-in takes place without any stress or fuss.

When car owners are planning to trade in their vehicles, these are some common questions they have in mind:

  • What is the best mileage level for a trade-in?
  • What is the best time of the year to trade-in?
  • What is the best age of the car to trade-in?

What Is the Best Mileage Range for A Trade-In?

When considering trading in your vehicle, you should keep the following three milage ranges in mind.

30-40K miles

At this point, your car will begin to depreciate faster. This is when your new car’s warranty usually ends, and this also when most new cars need their wear items replaced. So, the closer your car is to this milage range, the more desirable it is to trade it in.

60-70K miles

Depending on how much you drive, a car at this mileage range is typically 3-5 years old and most likely has been sent many times to a local mechanic for routine or not-so routine service. The value of a vehicle clearly goes down as the miles pile up. So, when considering trade-in options, car owners should think about this.

100K miles

At this milage, most cars are not in pristine conditions. Even though hitting this mileage is now not considered an automotive death, thanks to modern manufacturing, this is about the right time for car owners to start thinking about a trade-in.

What Is the Best Time of The Year to Trade in My Car?

Is there even the best time to trade in a car? Well, mainly in the first two quarters of the year, values are higher with a considerable drop in the final two quarters. Obviously, the value also depreciates if your car is old. But other factors keep the values higher early in the year.

Firstly, the market is flooded with buyers early in the year. Therefore, dealerships require more cars to feed the demand. Also, a second-hand car does not lose its new touch when it is more than eight months away from turning a model year older rather than just 3 or 4 months away. These are some valuable things to keep in mind when you are looking to time your trade-in.

What Is the Best Age of The Car to Trade-in?

Clearly, newer is better. If you have a car that has only been used for a few months, it will hold more value. By the time your vehicle is 5 years old, its residual value has likely dropped considerably.

When a car is between 5-7 years past its model year, the drop in the value usually slows and settles. The point is, if you haven’t traded in your car during this period, there is no point to do it before it turns 8. Typically, you will be able to get about the same amount of money back as long as the mileage hasn’t depreciated its value. So, just relax, and consider taking that extra time to save the amount you need to make a down payment for your new car.

Trade-In Gurus App—How Can It Help to Trade-In Your Car?

Trade-in Gurus app provides car owners a platform where they can control the trading of their vehicles themselves. The users can submit their trade to as many dealers as they want. Not only that, but they can also view inventories and message the dealers from the app.

With the Trade in Gurus app, you can digitalize your car trade-in with ease. It is a convenient, better, and less time-consuming way to seal your deals.


Deciding whether to trade in your car or wait can be a tough decision, full of odds and risks. Therefore, it is always better to weigh the facts before you decide on a trade-in. I hope this sheds some light on the age old question; When should I trade in my car?