Used car prices may hit record highs in 2012

January 17, 2012 12:00 AM

Used car prices hit record highs in 2011, but pricing guide Kelley Blue Book says that 2012's numbers could end up even higher.

The price of used cars has increased due to the fact that more drivers are keeping their vehicles longer - thanks in large part to better car maintenance. In addition, fewer drivers are leasing vehicles, which is giving used car dealers a short supply of merchandise. This in turn is driving up prices to record levels.

While used car prices are currently flat, KBB says that they will rise by 3 to 5 percent in the first quarter of 2012. As the year goes on, the value of used cars is projected to rise even further, and may possibly eclipse the high prices seen in 2011.

One option for drivers hoping to avoid high used car prices is to hang onto their current vehicle for a year or two until the values come back down. Investing in auto maintenance is an affordable way to keep a vehicle on the road, and can help drivers put off a costly vehicle purchase.

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