What Is the Best Mileage to Trade In a Car?

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Megan Foukes is a recent graduate from Indiana University who graduated with a bachelor’s in journalism. Megan works as a content writer for Auto Credit Express and contributes to several automotive and finance blogs.

, - May 31, 2018

Many car owners associate the 100,000-mile mark as a milestone for a vehicle. If you’ve been asking yourself “should I trade in my car before 100,000 miles?” the short answer is it depends on the vehicle’s current condition and performance.

When Is the Best Time to Trade In Your Car?

According to Edmunds, there are three major mileage points a car can experience. Each mileage point affects the vehicle’s trade-in value, while you should take care of any required services and repairs before trading it in to get the most out of it.

First milestone: 30,000 to 40,000 miles

This is when the first major repairs generally take place for a vehicle, and the bumper-to-bumper warranty typically expires. Generally, most new car warranties expire at either 36,000 miles or three years, whichever comes first. Because cars depreciate at a slower rate after the first three years of ownership, the best time to trade in your vehicle is during this first major milestone.

Note that for a vehicle’s first major repair services, many owners can expect the cost to be over $300 to fix or replace common “wear items” such as brakes or tires. Dealers are more likely to offer you more if your trade-in is cleaned up and doesn’t need major repairs.

Second milestone: 60,000 to 70,000 miles

With more miles comes more service visits. Again, the car’s tires and brakes will most likely need to be replaced. You may also find that your car will need other services done such as replacing the battery and timing belt – both of which can be costly, but necessary.

You can still trade in your vehicle during this second turning point, but be aware that your car’s age also affects its trade-in value. Many vehicles that hit this milestone are well over five years old and have already taken a big hit in depreciation.

Third milestone: 100,000 miles and more

Even though many modern cars last well past the 100,000-mile mark, what you’ll get for trading it in drops. Because depreciation is constant, it’s best to sell or trade in your vehicle before it hits the 100,000-mile mark.

At this point, you won’t get nearly as much for it because dealers generally see these cars as wholesale-only vehicles to be sold at auction. Franchise dealers like the option of being able to resell trade-ins as certified pre-owned vehicles, and if your car’s mileage is at or above 80,000 miles, it typically won’t qualify for this type of program.

Some Trade In Tips

When it’s time to consider trading in or selling your vehicle, you’ll need to keep these three things in mind:

  • Research and double check it – Many times, car owners think their vehicle is worth more than it actually is. It’s important you double check vehicle valuation sites such as NADAguides to see an estimate of what your car’s current market value is, while being realistic about its current condition.
  • Get multiple offers – The best way to see what you can get for your trade-in is to go to multiple dealers. Don’t settle for just one offer, you may find another dealer will make you a better one.
  • Understand the dealer’s decisions – If a dealer offers you less than you expect, realize that they’ll do one of two things with your trade-in: resell it or send it to auction. Both options cost the dealer money, and if they feel they won’t receive a good price for your trade-in, they’ll offer you less for it.

Finding a Dealer to Work With

If you’re dealing with credit issues and are struggling to find a dealer that can help you out, it might be time to try CarsDirect. We’re connected to a nationwide network of dealerships that specialize in working with people in unique credit situations.

We want to connect you to one in your area. Get started by completing our free and easy online auto loan request form today!

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Megan Foukes is a recent graduate from Indiana University who graduated with a bachelor’s in journalism. Megan works as a content writer for Auto Credit Express and contributes to several automotive and finance blogs.

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