Selling Your Car? Why Choosing The Right Time Of Year Will Get You More

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Janelle Gonzalez

Motoring Expert

Jan 09, 2022

Did you know that one of the main market conditions that may affect your ability to sell your car and your car’s value is actually when you sell it?

Don’t worry – most don’t. You see, when it comes to selling a car, there’s a whole host of things you can do to move it quickly and at the price you’re asking. Very few realise, however, that choosing the right time of the year is one of them. Just a few months can make a massive difference to how long your car sits around and how much money ends up in your back pocket.

So, when is the best time? If you want to massively simplify things, the best time of year to sell your car is simply when your target is buying. How we start to decipher that lies in the following factors…

      The price of fuel at the time you’re trying to sell is going to massively impact your sale. When fuel is higher in price larger, gas-guzzling, cars are notoriously harder to sell. Conversely, smaller, more fuel-efficient cars become easier to sell. Sometimes you have no choice and have to wear the losses, but if you do, usually it’s only a month or two before fuel prices change again.
      Spring is when Australians come out of hibernation and move into ‘getting stuff done’ mode – including buying cars. It’s the same reason why it’s the most popular time to buy and sell a house. Conversely, the country shuts down during the summer holidays, so avoid the Christmas and January holiday period.
      This requires thinking about why your target market would be buying your car. If it’s a convertible or a sports car’s popularity will go through the roof in the warmer months. Cars that are popular with students sell in November at the end of the study year, as many parents are in the market to buy their studious son or daughter a car. This is also often the case at the start of the studying year in February.
      The end of the financial year is when dealers promote and discount the most to try and rack up their revenue against targets for the financial year. This is also when many people are more likely to consider a new car versus a used car, or at the very least it will drive down the value of your used car as its new equivalent is available at a discounted price. If, however, you’re planning to trade in your old car for a new one, this is one of the best times to do it, as dealers will be hungrier to give you a great deal on your car to secure a sale.
      The single biggest factor that will affect your finances when you sell a car is depreciation. On average, a new car loses 11% of its value the minute it leaves the dealership. It then loses 15–25% of its value each year for the first five years. As a result, a five-year-old car is typically worth a third of its original new car value. So the worst time to sell is within the first three years, when you’re losing the most in depreciation. If you’ve also financed your car with a loan or lease, you’re likely to still be in negative equity at this stage, too.

Ultimately, the best time of year for you to sell your car is going to vary depending on what car you’re trying to sell and who your target market is. Use the guide above, rule out the worst months and hopefully you’ll end up selling quicker and getting the most for your sale. Happy car selling!

The Carousel would like to thank Blue Toro  for this article.


By Janelle Gonzalez

Motoring Expert

Corporate escapee and mechanic’s wife Janelle Gonzalez has spent the last 24 years in garages, pit lanes and on road trips. Living a double life - corporate by weekday, trackside on the weekends - she shares her husband’s passion for cars. She has now turned her skills to building Australia’s first national mobile mechanic franchise. Her mission is to help Australians trust mechanics by educating car owners and returning to good old fashioned service values, while changing the lives of mechanics and their families.



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