Why Your 100,000-Mile Car Is Now Worth More Than You Think

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Car owner selling vehicle for cash
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The common wisdom that a car’s value drops steeply after the car reaches 100,000 miles has become more of a commonplace myth.

The automotive research company Edmunds reports that vehicle values depreciate only incrementally between 100,000 and 150,000 miles. Further, the rate of depreciation between those two mileage milestones is comparable to the rate between 50,000 and 100,000 miles.

These findings are based on Edmunds’ latest quarterly used vehicle market report.

Edmunds senior analyst Ivan Drury adds that cars drop in value “at a slow and steady pace” after about 40,000 miles. The largest drop is during the first 20,000 miles — a big part of why we list cars as No. 1 in “10 Things You Really Shouldn’t Buy New.”

Drury continues:

“The 100,000-mile myth is really just a psychological barrier that more and more car buyers are getting past. Following the recession, many people were forced to hang on to their vehicles longer than they may have wanted to simply because they couldn’t afford to get a new car. People then saw for themselves how much vehicle quality has improved and realized that a car with 125,000 or even 150,000 miles still has a lot of life left.”

Edmunds found that during the third quarter of this year, a 2013 model-year vehicle with between 10,000 and 20,000 miles took, on average, the same amount of time to sell as a 2013 vehicle with between 90,000 and 100,000 miles.

So, is it time to sell your car — or replace it?

With higher-mileage cars now holding their resale value better, it might be a good time to sell that ancient beater you thought was worthless, or to trade in your car.

If you’re just looking to sell, start by checking out “8 Ways to Make Money From Your Old Beater Car.”

If you’ve been thinking about getting a new car, know there are a couple of reasons that now might be a good time to act, especially if you currently drive an SUV. They are so popular that they hold their value even better than midsize cars, Edmunds found.

Drury explains:

“If you’re someone who’s hanging on to an older SUV and thinking about trading up for a new vehicle, this could be a great time. You’ll have the chance to take advantage of record-level new vehicle incentives and year-end savings, as well as get top-dollar for your current vehicle.”

To learn more about the incentives and savings that are currently available, check out Edmunds’ “Incentives and Rebates” tool. It enables you to search for savings by auto manufacturer or model type.

For more auto-shopping pointers, check out “11 Essential Tips for Buying the Right Car at the Right Price.”

What do you make of this news about the changing value of high-mileage cars? Share your thoughts in a comment below or on our Facebook page.

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