How to Maximize Your Car's Resale Value

Car Loans > Car Loan Articles > Article: How to Maximize Your Car's Resale Value

Typically, cars lose 60 percent of their value over the first four years of life. Some factors that depreciate the value of your vehicle are uncontrollable, but others can be managed to improve your car's future value. Wise decision-making increases your chances of getting a respectable price when you trade in or sell for a new car.

1. Purchase a vehicle that will retain value. The vehicle's reliability is a key factor in resale value, along with customer-appeal.

  • Certain types of cars hold value for longer than other makes. Makes such as Toyota, Honda, Lexus, and Volkswagen have good resale values. Kelley Blue Book's website is a great resource for researching car models and their historical resale prices.
  • Consider purchasing a car with popular options, even if you do not need them. Air conditioning, cruise control, power steering, power windows and locks, and a tilt steering wheel are considered essential needs of today's drivers. Leave them out and your resale value will drop. Some options, such as a sunroof, will improve your car's resale value even more.
  • Unless you are buying a vehicle for the outback, consider purchasing an automatic transmission. Cars with automatic transmission are more desirable and will sell faster.

2. Cars under warranty will earn a higher sales price. Following steps to avoid losing your warranty will fetch more money.

3. Cars driven fewer than 10,000 miles per year will also get a premium. Some commuters and car owners living in rural areas cannot avoid racking up miles. To combat this, make sure your warranty is in good standing.

4. Choose conservative paint colors. If you must have a car in a standout color, be prepared to paint the car before you sell. The average consumer does not want a car in a unique color. White, black, and red cars are the most popular and have the highest resale value.

5. Drive with care. Unfortunately, accidents are sometimes unavoidable. If you are involved in a car accident, find a quality repair shop to fix the damage. Make the repair shop aware that they must use factory parts. Factory parts are higher quality. When you are ready to sell your car, be truthful with the interested parties. You cannot trick a used car appraiser; they see every scratch. Save your repair receipts for proof, buyers who feel you are withholding information might believe the damage is worse than you are communicating.

6. Read your owner's manual and follow the maintenance guide. The maintenance guide details how to best care for your car. Follow the instructions in the manual and keep every receipt for repair. The receipts prove you took great care of your car. Experienced, knowledgeable used car buyers will pay more for a car with the fully documented maintenance history.

7. Clean your car frequently. A clean car automatically appears better cared for than one stained with dirt or scratched.

  • Washing and waxing regularly keeps your car's appearance optimal and costs less than paying someone to detail your car when you are ready to sell. Fix dents as soon as possible, they can worsen if left unfixed.
  • Interior condition is as important. Care for the seats and avoid tears, burn holes, or stains.

8. Customizing your car with invasive pieces creates a selling roadblock. A buyer is less likely to purchase a car in which original conditions were modified. The more intrusive the customization, the more difficult time you will have selling. If you must customize your car, upgrade the tires or put in an easy-to-install stereo system. These upgrades can be downgraded easily. Anything that requires cutting in to the dashboard will cost you significantly when you are ready to sell.

9. Dealer specific: To a dealer, the actual cash value of a trade-in is an estimate of what the car could be sold for at auction, minus any repair costs. Most trade-ins go to auction immediately. The best cars used cars on the sales lot stay for up to three months before going to auction.

In addition to repair costs, the dealer must consider the cost of holding a car in inventory such as:

  • cleaning
  • taxes
  • lot security
  • advertising

emember that a used car is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay; keep your car in the best condition possible in order to reap the highest resale price.

What to do next

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