for sale by owner Now Is the Time to Sell Your Used CarUsed vehicle prices are at 16-year highs, making it as good a time as there's been in a while to sell your car. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you're selling, as well as some savvy moves for landing your next vehicle in today's complicated car market.

There are a combination of factors affecting supply and demand:

• People are holding on to their cars and driving them about a year longer than they did prior to the recession. The average car on the road is now pegged at 10.6 years.

• New car sales have been down over the past few years as consumers held off on major purchases, resulting in fewer late-model used cars available for resale.

• When it got harder to get credit during the financial crisis, leasing went down. Leased cars ultimately end up being used cars, so now there are fewer in the pipeline. This makes perfect sense if you backtrack and realize that vehicles leased in 2008 for three years would be heading for used-car lots right about now.

• Rental car companies have not been buying and turning over as many new cars in recent past.

• New models of some small cars are also in short supply because of the tragic events in Japan. Short-term, dealers are buying used vehicles as placeholders.

This all adds up to a net decrease in supply and fewer used cars on lots.

The Smaller, the Better

Used car prices are up across the board, but with gas prices still high, smaller vehicles and hybrids are in particular demand. A CarMax (KMX) dealer told me they can barely keep them on the lot.
There's a definite trend toward downsizing to a vehicle that saves money at the pump. In fact, for every $1 increase in the price per gallon of gas, the value of used compact cars rises 8% to 12% on average according to the Automotive Lease Group. That means that for a small used vehicle that was worth $10,000 last year, the equivalent car today is worth roughly $11,000.

The expectation is that used car prices will level off in the coming months and may drop in 2012 and beyond as more used vehicles come on the market. If this is a bubble, now may really be the time to unload. I connected with colleague and renowned auto industry expert David Kiley. He says the best possible move you could make right now is to sell or trade in a small, full efficient car if you have one to sell. You'll get top dollar for that. Then, buy, if this is your need, a minivan, SUV or pick-up truck -- vehicles that are still getting generous incentives.

Online Resources:,, Best Used Cars Under $10k, Best Used Cars for Teens

Sell Your Car for More Than It's Worth

Also See: Smart Strategies for Car-Buying Season

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Lissa Huang

Thanks for sharing your ideas i really appreciate it! Excellent article, I will keep this in mind. More from Marshell Green Power CO., LTD,

August 25 2011 at 3:51 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What a stupid article! How many people are selling a car without buying one to replace it? Buy a newer car and you'll also pay more. Buy a new car and you'll get hit with serious depreciation.

June 08 2011 at 3:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

our governbent is a big joke. i dont know when it will get better. only when OBAMA is gone

June 08 2011 at 7:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to wrobwarn34's comment

Is it to late for Cash for Clunkers still ?? I guess Obama blew that wad a couple of years to soon.

June 08 2011 at 3:36 AM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply

Whinehouse the Alcoholic, Weiner the pervert, Bush the vagina . Tell me names are not a give away.
Dave Longtongue

June 08 2011 at 2:31 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

my 4x4 diesel is 25 years old and runs as good if not better than the trucks today . trade my cars in . not a chance in hell

June 08 2011 at 1:19 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply


June 08 2011 at 12:02 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply


June 08 2011 at 12:00 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply


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June 07 2011 at 11:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply