The moment you buy a car it will start to depreciate. There’s not much you can do about that. But that doesn’t mean you can’t try to maximise your vehicle’s resale value when you do decide to sell.
Once you reach selling time, however, there is only so much you can do to increase the value of your car. If you’re really serious about getting the best possible resale value, then you need to start thinking about it from the moment you buy.
Consider Resale when you Buy
If you’re not planning on holding on to your car for a long period of time, it might be worth thinking about the potential resale when you buy. Some cars will hold their value much better than others. That means you could stand to recoup thousands of extra dollars by doing a little extra research at the buying stage.
Reliable economy brands like Toyota, Subaru or Mazda tend to hold their resale value, especially if you go for the rugged SUV options like a Toyota Landcruiser. If you have a little more money to throw around, luxury brands like Land Rover, BMW and Porsche always have a strong used car market and lead the way in terms of resale value.
If buying a new car, consider how the vehicle options may affect resale. An unusual or flashy paint colour could make your car less desirable when it comes time to sell. Black and white tend to be the safest options in terms of resale desirability. More outlandish colours like purple, pink and orange may give your car a bit more personality, but they will also put people off come resale time.
The relative value of petrol vs diesel engines and manual vs automatic transmission can also change from vehicle to vehicle, so do your homework before you buy.
Maintenance and Repairs
The best way to ensure that your car holds maximum value is to take proper care of it. Make sure it’s regularly serviced according to manufacturer specifications by a qualified and reputable mechanic. Dealership servicing may be more expensive, but it can be looked on more favourably by prospective buyers come sale time.
You should be able to provide a detailed service history when you go to sell your car. It should include when and where all servicing was carried out, what work has been done on the vehicle and what parts have been used. Logbook servicing is the best option for maintenance documentation. It ensures that all servicing is fully documented and that all maintenance is carried out according to the manufacturer’s recommended schedule.
“The previous owner was an old lady who only drove to church on Sundays.” There’s a reason used car sales cliches like this exist. If you thrash your car it’s going to be subject to more wear and tear and will likely require more repairs and maintenance. Driving your car sensibly will ensure that it remains in the best possible condition and that the vehicle isn’t subject to unnecessary damage or wear and tear.
If you’re really serious about getting the best possible price for your car, you should ask yourself: “Would I buy my car?”
Take Care of the Paint Work
Minor cosmetic damages to the paintwork — like chips, scuffs and small scratches — are a fact of life for any vehicle owner. A certain amount of this kind of damage is to be expected when buying a used car. And while minor cosmetic damage won’t affect the resale value all that much, it can affect the purchase decision. If a buyer is looking at two similar vehicles at similar prices, the presence of minor external damage could be enough to swing the decision away from your car.
Protecting the paintwork is also helpful to keep the vehicle looking its best. You should regularly wash your car to help protect the paintwork. Getting it waxed and polished every couple of months will also help to retain that showroom shine. Whenever possible, try to park the car undercover to prevent UV damage and other forms of damage to the paintwork.
Before trying to sell your car, you should get your car professionally detailed to remove any minor cosmetic damage to the paintwork.
Take Care of the Interior
As with the exterior, the interior condition of the vehicle won’t affect the resale value all that much. But a poorly looked after vehicle interior can be quite off-putting to a potential buyer. And the fewer interested buyers you have, the less chance you have of getting a good price.
While owning the vehicle, avoid smoking inside. Tobacco smoke will get into everything, from the upholstery to the air conditioning. And it’s impossible to remove.
Professional upholstery steam cleaning from time to time will keep the interior in great condition and stop bad smells from getting a foothold inside the car.
Again, interior detailing is a good idea before trying to sell your car. Remember that the interior and exterior presentation of the vehicle is important for creating the perception that the vehicle has been well looked after.
Consider the Kilometres
This one’s obvious: higher kilometres means a lower price. While there isn’t much you can do about the number of kilometres your car has done, you can be strategic about when you decide to sell.
A car that has just turned over 100,000km will be less appealing than a vehicle still in the 90s. You should also bear in mind that certain mileage points mean major services and most buyers will know this. Selling the car before these major service points can save you money on repairs, but could also reduce the resale value if buyers know they will have to pay for these repairs themselves.
Consider Who you Sell to
There are a number of ways to sell a used car. Selling it privately can get you a good price for a fairly new or sought-after model in good condition.
For common or older cars, or vehicles that need some mechanical work, trading in with a dealer may be the best way to maximise the value.
It’s worth doing some research to find out what is the best sale method to get you the best sale price.
From the moment you buy a car, it will start to lose value. That’s simply a fact of life. However, with a little care and maintenance, you can get the maximum back later on down the road when you decide to sell.