I tend to hold onto my cars until they are just about dead, but sometimes it makes more sense financially to sell your car ahead of schedule. We came up with a few good inflection points where your car will lose more value if you hold onto it.
Before you hit a significant mileage milestone
It seems dumb, but a car with 195,000 miles will sell for more (and more easily) then one with 201,000 miles. There’s just something about a car with “over 200,000 miles” that people shy away from. The same goes for 100,000 miles. If you are planning to sell soon and you are at 90,000 miles, better to get it in before the odometer clicks over.
If you are more than one model style behind
For example, Honda Civic changed design in 1996, 2002, and 2006. Selling a 96 body style is going to be way easier before the 2006 comes out. This is because the last body style looks old and the style from two designs ago starts to look REALLY old. So if you hear a new style is coming out, you may want to consider selling then.
If you are more than one decade behind
I remember when any car newer than 2000 felt like it was a new car and from the future. Well in 2014, a 2000 seems quite ancient, but a 1999 car might as well be from the stone age. Again, if you can hold onto a car until it dies that’s great, but you may want to consider selling within a 10 year window.