Best Time Ever to Sell Your Car—and Buy a Bike?

As we keep telling you, used car prices are going crazy. It’s supply and demand, and dealers are now paying almost 30 percent more for a used car or truck than they did at the end of 2008.

So it’s the perfect time to sell your car, especially if it’s less than five years old, in good shape and has decent fuel economy. Often, you’re better off buying a new car.

Take the Honda Accord, known for reliability and holding its value. A dealer would sell a 2008 four-cylinder Accord LX sedan in good condition with about 45,000 miles on it for $16,175.

With no down payment and a loan at 5 percent interest, it would cost $373 a month to pay off the Accord in four years. But Honda is offering a three-year lease on a new 2011 Accord for just $250 a month. The company will even make the first payment. You still have to pay $600 up front and 15 cents for each mile you drive over 12,000 a year.

Okay, your credit stinks, and you can’t qualify for a lease. Or you’re driving too many miles a year. You still may be better off buying new and financing. The financing costs of buying used are considerably higher than buying new; some of them are outlined here. Insurance costs will be more; so will total monthly payments if you factor in the time element.

But consider another option: Get rid of your car and buy a bike—motorized or not. Get healthy, quit selling your soul to the bank, do some good for the environment and stop supporting foreign oil.

Even a motorcycle is better than a car, and a lot cheaper. This site provides a good guide to used motorcycle prices. You can even buy a decent used BMW for $6 grand or less.

Rent a car when you need it—for long trips, hauling the family, taking your Irish Wolfhounds to the vet. And of course there’s public transportation, which we had all better get used to.

There is nothing more noxious than one-person commuter cars piled up for miles in traffic, spewing out tons of pollutants. And what a waste of time. Now you have an excuse to stop the madness: Take a deep breath, and sell your car. DealFinder will show you how.

Audi, Peugeot and Porsche (above right) make some pretty nice bicycles, by the way.

Is this the right time for you to sell your car? What will you do to replace it?

—jgoods

Find Used Cars in Your Area at CarGurus

Used Honda Accord

3 Comments

  1. My ol’ Mercury Villager cost me $500 two years ago. Frankly, I bought it to park in the driveway to make the local thugs think someone was home while I was at work. I’ve put on a new set of tires and did about $750 in engine repairs. It’s actually a handy car to have to haul around my disabled father in law, as well as trips to the hardware and lumber store. I don’t even keep collision insurance on it, so it only costs about $500/year to insure. At these prices, I don’t care what it gets for mileage. Compared to the SUV it replaced, I drive free for ten months out of the year. I do have some advice, though. When getting an older car, try to keep as simple and easy to service as possible. Options like power windows, power seats, sunroofs, and even automatic transmissions can be big service headaches. And on some of the engines, timing belts can be prone to break and will take out the top end of the engine, so make sure you know if this work has been done on higher mileage cars and when it needs to be done to protect yourself. Good luck!

  2. @
    Well said, Rev. I think we’ll do a follow-up post on the old car alternative.

  3. There’s also the option of an older car. A 1993 Volvo 940 is cheap as dirt ($2K in good shape) and has a loyal following who knows every detail of the car. Join a mailing list and enjoy cheap parts, decent mileage, decent car with extremely good reliability record.

    The insurance company almost pays you to insure it, and if you park that in the garage, you always have a car. THEN you can pedal the bike as much as you wish without missing out on the car experience.

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