Donate Your Old Car
One of the fastest growing new choices is to forego auto dealers and indeed the entire car market, and decide on donation instead. A number of companies now offer quick one-stop donation services that make it easy to give the car away and earn a considerable tax credit in the process. A number of nonprofits are now providing options to owners who want to make a difference. If it is paid in full and you don't need it for a trade-in, or the trade-in value is negligible, it makes sense to get yourself a tax break and donate your old car.
Sell Your Old Car
There is still some value in simply selling a vehicle for profit. Auto dealers like to shave as much off the value of your car as possible, so you are frequently better off trying to sell the car yourself. It's not unusual nowadays for original owners to sell their used cars for rates considerably higher than the Blue Book would have them believe. Keep in mind, though, that you'll pay tax on your profit rather than getting a tax break if you donate. Sometimes the tax credit is the better choice. And if you still owe money on your old car, then you will most likely get more of a return by selling it than by trading it in.
If you're going to buy a new car, by far the easiest and most popular choice of what to do with your old car remains the trade-in, and today auto dealers are more amenable than ever to giving you a better rate. Whether you're selling a barely used car or simply want to get a few hundred dollars on what amounts to a family heirloom, often a good maintenance history and smart negotiation can give you the upper hand. Look for dealers that make a habit out of restoration and you may even be able to earn more than you ever dreamed possible on an older car.
Trading in is easy, selling is the most lucrative, and donating is a great option in some scenarios. Just do your research and know what your car is really worth and what, if anything, you still owe on it before you make a decision so you get the most value, whichever choice you make.
If you're in the market for a new set of wheels, consider buying a second hand car to save money. New cars lose their value the minute you drive them home. They lose a major percentage of their value in the first two years of ownership, and then depreciation starts to taper off. So, for the best value, look for a second hand car that's just about two to three years old.
First, you should look for the lowest mileage possible in a used car. Typical owners usually put about 12,000 to 15,000 miles per year on their vehicles. If the car you're looking at has a lot more mileage than that average, it could have been heavily used by the owner, and that could mean more repair costs down the road. Look for reliability surveys on used cars, conducted by many different companies and surveyors when you're researching which used car to buy. Many of these companies survey their members about their own used car experiences, and pass them on to others. Keep your options open by researching several different makes and models, rather than just one.
You can search the VIN to find out a vehicle's history, but don't forget to check out recall notices, too. If a certain model has had several different recalls, it might be a warning to stay away from that particular car. Ask the previous owner for any maintenance records they have, too, so you can see if the car's been well maintained throughout its life. Be sure to take any prospective purchases on a test drive before you decide on the right car for you. Check out the car's safety features to make sure it offers the right options for you and your family. Find a trusted mechanic and hire them to look over the car for mechanical problems before you buy.
Buying a second hand car, especially a newer model, can save you quite a bit of money. If you look for the right things before you buy, you'll find a dependable used car that can give you years of safe driving for you and your family.