How Long Do You Have To Wait To Trade In A Car You Just Bought (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 2 – 3 Years

There are a wide variety of cars available in the market today. A person is faced with the dilemma as to which car should be purchased that is within his budget and will satisfy all his needs and requirements. From sedans to luxurious cars, they are tons of different cars out there. One should consider and weigh the importance of style, performance, reliability, comfort, suitability, fuel efficiency, brand, and other important factors before finalizing which car to buy.

However, one cannot ignore the possibility of experiencing regret the moment after the car is bought. As everyone knows, once a car is bought after thorough discussions, test-driving, and all, it cannot be immediately returned. Soon after the car is purchased, it starts depreciating at an extremely high rate. During such times, one might wonder what would be the ideal waiting time to trade in a brand new car that is just bought.

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How Long Do You Have To Wait To Trade In A Car You Just Bought?

If the car is brand new2 – 3 years
If the car is used1 year

In buying cars, there are no returns or take-backs as no return window is available. Thus, one has to be extremely sure about the car he wants and its specifications. However, a person can resell the vehicle he has just purchased, even after few minutes the car has been bought if the buyer starts regretting his decision of buying the car, but such a person should not expect to receive the same value on its sale which he had paid for while purchasing it.

Sometimes people indulge in impulse buying and end up unhappy with their purchase. A person might be desperate to buy a vehicle, but after purchase, he might not be satisfied with it as the idea of buying a car might not have turned out as hoped. In such circumstances, it is great to know that one can trade in a car that he has just bought or can even sell it not matter how recently it has been purchased.

New cars have extremely high depreciation, especially during their first few years. As soon as the car is brought and driven out of the car shop it starts losing its value. Thus, vehicles are called depreciating assets as once the car is bought, its value will keep on reducing with time.

However, if the car was financed by an external person and all installments are not paid yet, one might require the external person’s permission before trading the recently bought car.

Why Does It Take So Long To Trade In A Car You Just Bought?

As every car is unique, there can be several different combinations of periods after which it will be best to trade in a car that is just bought. There are many decisions one can take into account for deciding and determining the best time to trade in one’s vehicle.

Car loses their value pretty quickly in the first few years due to depreciation. Thus, one should consider this aspect seriously and make the final decision. Trading in a vehicle demands doing extensive research to find a dealer who is willing to give one the amount that is close to the car’s worth.

If the vehicle is new, it is recommended to wait at least 3 years of ownership to trade it in to a dealership, as this is the time depreciation normally slows down a bit. But if the car is a used one, it has already gone through bigger drops in depreciation and thus one need not wait so long and can trade it in after a year or so.

If one is trying to trade in a car that is in huge demand, he might be able to trade it in quickly than one who sells those cars which belong to the 2000s. If the model of the car is becoming obsolete, which might not be the case if the car is recently bought, in such a case one can negotiate with the seller and make a wise decision regarding whether it is the right time to trade it in or not.


The time one should wait before trading in one’s car depends totally on the car’s condition, specifications, and purpose for trading it in. There is no specific time frame defined for this case as such. However, as a general rule of thumb, one can wait until the car has equity i.e 2 – 3 years before one goes to trade it in.

As the depreciation affects the car’s value over time, finding the right time for trading it in can be tricky. Depreciation begins accumulating as soon as the car leaves the shop. Car’s depreciation is unhigh in the first year thus, it is best to wait until the depreciation rates lower at around year three.



Last Updated : 23 February, 2024

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