What are the biggest reasons for selling our cars?

June 13, 2024 by

There are many reasons why someone might decide to part ways with their car. After all, anything could push us to these car-changing moments, whether it be financial reasons, a lifestyle change, or even the desire for a shiny new model. But what are the most popular reasons people sell their cars?

To find out, we ran a survey asking drivers to select the reasons why they sold their cars in the past. The results also highlight why different age groups choose to bid their vehicles farewell and any differences in selling habits between men and women.[1]

The top reasons Brits sell their cars

According to our survey, the majority of drivers (62%) have sold a car at some point. That’s no surprise; people rarely stick to the same vehicle their entire lives. Let’s have a look at the most common reasons drivers choose to move on from their cars:

The results reveal that the most popular reason behind selling a car is, quite simply, wanting a newer model! In fact, over two-thirds (71%) sold their car due to wanting an upgrade. This is understandable, as the beauty of getting a newer car means enjoying improved performance, efficiency, and comfort.

However, what is surprising is that out of those who wanted a newer model, the majority were over 60, proving that you’re never too old for a trendy motor.

The second most popular reason has to do with practical necessity. Over a quarter (27%) of Brits sold their car because they needed something bigger or smaller to better fit their needs, likely related to a life-changing moment.

Most of these were between 40 and 59, with those below 24 being the least likely to consider this a reason to sell. This could be due to differing family sizes, those under 24 are less likely to need a bigger vehicle because of expanding the family, for example.

Next, chosen by 11% of survey respondents, was financial necessity. This means that over one in ten Brits have sold their car due to money-related pressures. More than any other age group, those aged between 40 and 59 picked this as a reason for selling. This could indicate that this age group is most likely to consider their car as something to sacrifice when financial pressures arise.

Environmental considerations aren’t as popular among drivers, with only 4% of respondents picking this, showing that eco-friendliness still isn’t at the forefront of most people’s car-changing choices.

Although some would assume that younger people may be more likely to sell their car due to wanting a more environmentally friendly option, our survey results show that it’s actually those aged 60 and above who are more likely to do so!

Reasons for selling their car – men vs. women

Now that we’ve looked at the top reasons why people sell their cars, let’s dig a little deeper into the selling habits of men and women.

Men seem to be far more concerned about upgrading their vehicles, with over half (57%) of male respondents choosing ‘wanting a newer model’ as a reason for selling, compared to 43% of women. On the other hand, women care more about the practicality of their cars, with over half (53%) of female respondents selecting ‘needing a bigger or smaller car’ as their reason for selling, compared to 47% of men.

When it comes to selling for monetary pressures, it turns out that women are more likely to consider parting ways with their car. 58% of female respondents admitted to selling their car due to financial need, compared to 42% of men.

As for environmental reasons, it seems like men are more likely to make the switch to EVs, with over half (54%) choosing this as a reason for having sold their car, compared to 46% of women.

Other popular reasons for selling a car

A tenth of our respondents had other reasons for choosing to sell their car, so let’s have a look at some of the most popular answers.

For around a third (33%) of those who submitted another reason for selling, it came down to repairs being too expensive, or their vehicle being beyond repair, having to be scrapped altogether due to old age or mechanical fault.

Meanwhile, just over a quarter (26%) of these respondents stated that they simply no longer needed a car – some of them due to already having other cars.

A few other popularly stated reasons included selling due to moving abroad or replacing their car with a company vehicle instead. Some sold their car as they could no longer drive, whether due to a health issue or failing their driving test.

A couple of people also stated they simply wanted a change, which is as good a reason as any!

Resources – advice for selling your car

Regardless of your reason, selling your car doesn’t have to be a painfully complicated process. We have plenty of advice to help you sell your car as fast and as easily as possible.

For example, you can check our list of the best ways to sell a car to find the method most suited to your needs. And for other advice on all things selling your car, we have plenty of car selling guides filled with tips that are sure to be of help.

About the data:

[1] All the data used in this report was collected through a survey of 1,000 UK adults via YouGov. The survey ran on 9 February 2024, and respondents were selected at random. All information was taken directly from the results of this survey unless otherwise stated.