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Jul
2021
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Got a High-Mileage Vehicle? You Might Want to Sell It Now

Justin SullivanGetty Images

  • Older vehicles with over 100,000 miles may be suddenly more valuable than their owners would have expected; they’re now selling considerably faster and for much more money amid growing demand.
  • Trucks have seen the largest increase of year-over-year average transaction prices, according to consumer site Edmunds, with the Chevy Silverado 1500 and Ford F-150 taking the lead.
  • Owners of used vehicles of any vintage should check their car’s current value; chances are they could be worth much more than you think.

    If you have a used vehicle in the driveway, you may be sitting on a pile of cash and not even know it. Influenced by the global chip shortage and ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s an increased demand for used vehicles amid a shortage of new ones to buy.

    The consumer website Edmunds has noted that high-mileage older vehicles, and used cars in general, are “selling faster and for more money than ever.” The same is true for used cars in general, as our family found out recently. In September 2017, we bought an entry-level 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage ES hatchback new for $9600, a significant discount from the MSRP, which was in the $13,000 range. Nearly four years later, with 18,266 miles on it, we sold the car to CarMax for $9400—just $200 under its original purchase price. The car was later listed at $12,998, essentially the same as MSRP.

    Edmunds’ data shows that this was no fluke. Its analysts said the average transaction price for older, high-mileage vehicles sold at dealerships was up 31 percent year over year for vehicles with odometers reading from 100,000 to 109,999 miles. Where the average was $12,626 in June 2020, last month it climbed to $16,489. This set of vehicles also sold in an average of 30.5 days in June 2021 compared with 37.7 days in June 2020.

    The Edmunds list of top 100,000-mile-plus sellers was led by the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, up 49 percent year over year with an average transaction price of $26,914, followed by the Ford F-150 at an average price of $25,924, up 43 percent, and the Ram 1500, up 42 percent with an average transaction price of $24,657. Filling out the top 10 were the Ford Escape; Honda Accord, Civic, and CR-V; Jeep Grand Cherokee and Wrangler; and the Toyota Camry. All of the top 10 were at least 6.5 years old and some were more than eight years old.

    Neal Coppola, general sales manager at Oregon dealership Tonkin Gresham Honda, has been in the auto industry since 2001 and told Car and Driver: “We’re adjusting inventory to people’s needs. A five-year-old SUV that used to be $20,000 is now $28,000 . . . [but] you need to backfill and still have that $20,000 car.” He adds with values escalating, the only way to do that is offering older and/or higher-mileage vehicles.

    Coppola said the company is now forced to pay “scary dollar amounts” for auction or trade-in