Driving a Hard Bargain: What Affects Your Car’s Resale Value

It’s said your car starts depreciating the second it leaves the lot. And it’s true. You could take that new car to the used lot across the highway and get offered a significantly lower price for it. Resale value is a fickle science. While it does take into account age, mileage, condition, equipment levels, model, popularity and demand, it can often boil down to who you’re talking to. Here are some of the fundamentals that either boost or minimize your vehicle’s resale value:

Brand

Nothing is going to have more of an impact. Regardless of condition, cars not known for reliability aren’t going to get the same prices as ones that are. Well-kept luxury brands will always demand top dollar. A 10-year old BMW can still cost tens of thousands, but no one’s going to pay that kind of money for a decade-old Pontiac.

Regular Maintenance

No one is interested in paying top dollar for a vehicle not given proper TLC. Oil, air filters, brake pads and tires are critical components that need regular maintenance. Taking care of these parts will extend the lifetime of a vehicle and ensure its resale value remains high. Most car owners, though, know when and how to replace these. However, according to the experts at Arnold Motor Supply, many people may not even know when they need a new belt until it snaps on half on the freeway. Pay attention to manufacturer-suggested maintenance schedules, and don’t forget the little things.

Tech

Believe it or not, having all the cool gadgets and a Star Trek dashboard doesn’t necessarily make your car more valuable. People looking at used cars are, by nature, conservative. They’re shopping the used market to save money on something reliable, not to get the latest, greatest, and flashiest tech available. Convincing them to pay for the TV in the back, DVD player or GPS capability could be a hard sell at best and a detriment at worst. Fancy gizmos may be what you want, but don’t expect it to bring in anything extra when you try to sell.

Performance Parts/Aftermarket Accessories

Sporty suspension upgrades and a customized exhaust are cool, but most shoppers won’t know or care what that means, let alone take it into account when considering value. While you may be someone that loves your $3,000 chromed wheels, odds are many will downplay them. Aftermarket performance parts and visual upgrades rarely translate into resale value, and many shoppers may even take it as a sign that your vehicle was driven to its limits, making them more reluctant to buy from you.

Exterior

The first thing about a car that impresses anyone is the look. If you’ve maintained the cosmetic condition, you’re in good shape. If you haven’t been washing it, or use dirty water with a greasy sponge— and it shows—you may have issues. Even if you detail it before showing it off, smart buyers will look for scratches in paint, swirls, and dents or dings. Regular washes and taking care of those dings immediately ensure the resale value is maximized. Lose all the personal touches you added—that Bush-Quayle bumper sticker does nothing except date the vehicle and ruin the paint—and remove any glue residue with a gentle cleaner.

 

When reselling your car, give it the best presentation you can. Take care of it, and it will take care of you. Maintenance, care, and attention can go a long way. However, you may find the most resale value in the art of the haggle. Good luck!

Carsurfer Admin

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