How to Keep Your Car’s Resale Value High


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If there’s one thing that drains money like no other, it’s our cars. The initial cost alone can be staggering. Then there’s tax, insurance, fuel and maintenance to worry about. On average, most of us buy a new car every four or five years. That means going through the process of saving up for a new deposit and negotiating the best price. More importantly, it means getting rid of your current car.

Whether you part exchange your old car or sell it privately, the price is an important factor. The amount you get for your old car plays a big part in what you can afford next. Naturally, you’ll want to take a step up to a newer, better model. Perhaps you’re downsizing, but you’d like to pocket the cash for something else. Whatever the reasoning, you need to get the very best price when selling your old car.

There are plenty of things you can do to ensure the highest resale price. You can even begin this consideration before you purchase the car. Look for cars that depreciate slowly and install sensible extra options. Once you own the car, keep regular care of it. Keep the mileage low and retain every single piece of documentation relating to the car. Let’s take a look at each consideration separately.

Choose the right car

If you’re a savvy car buyer, you’ll think about the resale price before you even buy your car. You’ll choose a model that is reliable and depreciates slowly. The slowest depreciating cars are those that are always in demand and reliable. German cars are notorious in this department. Long time models like the BMW5 series and Audi A3 and A4 hold value very well.

Choose the right extras

A lot of people will splash out on all the optional extras. Many think that they’ll make the money back when it comes to resale. In some cases this is true. Just remember that there are good extras, and bad extras. You want to choose the optional extras that improve the all-round wellbeing of the car. Examples of this are sat nav installation, parking sensors and leather seats. Metallic paint is another good choice. These are things that are universally valued. Avoid personal extras like huge stereo upgrades and rear spoilers. You can severely limit your market and lower the resale potential.

Lease instead

You could forget the whole process entirely and lease your new car. Instead of buying, leasing offers the option to pay a monthly fee for the privilege of the car. It is essentially a long term hire for three or four years. It can work out cheaper than buying. Just glance at Listers VW for a quick overview of lease prices. After the lease term ends, simply hand the car back and start a new lease. That way, you don’t have to worry about depreciation or resale value.

Regular maintenance

We cannot stress enough the importance of carrying out regular maintenance. There is nothing more important to a potential used car buyer than reliability. When someone shows up to buy your car, they need confidence in its condition. That is the one thing that will push them over the line and agreeing the sale. That means you need to avoid major services and large repairs. The best way to do this is keep on top of the small things that keep the engine running.

Check your oil every couple of weeks and change it every 3,000 miles. Note this down in the service history as you go. Check each of the other fluids that keep the engine working efficiently. Check brake pads every month and replace when they are getting worn. Do the same with tyres and ensure you are running on the correct tyre pressure. That way your tyres will last longer and your engine doesn’t have to push itself too hard.

Keep records of everything

There is nothing more scary to a car buyer than a vehicle with no written history. A buyer wants to see every detail of the service history. They need to know that it was well looked after. That means you should keep a record of every oil change and every tyre check. Keep receipts for car washes and wiper blades. The more detail you save, the more faith your buyer will have. They are looking to see how well kept the car is.

Keep mileage low

There is no better phrase on a used car advert than ‘below average mileage’. Of course, this can’t always be helped, but try to limit the miles you put on your car. The difference of below average and above average mileage can be hundreds of dollars. Never tamper with the mileage. Any dealer will know the signs of tampering and run a mile.

Keep it clean

First impressions are vitally important when it comes to selling. New buyers are easily swayed by their heart and their emotions. The final decision will be made with logic and their head. However, win over their emotion and you’ll have a much easier job. One sure fire way to do this is make the car look beautiful. Make it look brand new. This gives an impression of car younger than its actual years. It also shows that you have taken care of the car throughout its life. A clean car suggests an owner who is conscious of good care. They will assume this extends throughout the car.

This is something that you should be doing throughout the life of the car. Don’t wait until a week before you sell to clean it up. Give the vehicle a thorough hand wash every couple of weeks. Then get a full wax and buff every three months. Keep the interior looking pristine with a small car hoover too. It’s easy when you just do little bits at a time.

Follow all of these tricks and you could increase the resale price by thousands. Buyers will pay top dollar for a reliable and well kept used car. Put some thought into resale values before you even buy the car and keep it maintained throughout its life. Keep a record of every little thing and be honest. You’ll soon have a quick sale and a new car on the way.


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Auto Upkeep 4th Edition

Michael Gray

Mike has roots in the automotive service industry. He began diagnosing and fixing cars at a young age in his family’s service station. He has worked in automotive parts supply stores, towing companies, and service facilities. After graduating from St. Cloud State University (MN) with a Bachelor’s degree, he implemented and taught a basic car care program at the high school level. During work on his Master’s degree at Illinois State University (IL), he was a curriculum specialist on a National Science Foundation project where he co-authored ten integrated mathematics, science, and technology books designed for team teaching. Mike has also supervised teachers in Career and Technology Education as a school system administrator.

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