When buying a vehicle, it’s a good idea to spare a thought for the car’s resale value. After all, cars cost quite a bit of money, tens of thousands in fact. You’ve probably even heard that a car is not an investment, so expecting a higher return is hardly possible (unless you buy a collector’s car).
What do you need to know about your car resale value?
Over the years, you’ll spend even more money paying down instalments (on a hire purchase if you’ve taken one out), maintenance, insurance and taxes. It’s understandable to want to get the highest resale price possible and essentially, ‘get back’ some of what you’ve spent on your car.
But, as you’ll soon find out, getting the best resale price for your car in the market is not just about negotiating the sale and researching market values when you do sell; it starts way before that.
You can help your pocket out by making smart decisions when you buy a car and as you use it. Here’s what you can do, early on, to ensure that you recoup as much money as possible when selling your car:
1. Maintain your car
While this might seem like an obvious piece of advice, it still needs to be said. This is because simply maintaining your car can mean a lot when it comes time to sell. A well-maintained car has a longer life span (unless it’s been in a major accident or was poorly assembled).
In addition to maintaining your car, do keep a record of its regular service as proof for potential buyers; it’s not enough to just say that it’s been serviced!
If you service your car with a dealership, you’ll often be given a pretty record book that’ll be updated by the dealer. However, if you’ve chosen to service at an outside mechanic, be sure to file and date the service receipts.
2. Fix it, fast
‘Don’t put off to tomorrow what you can do today’ – that’s the saying and it’s especially true for car repairs. Minor dents and dings that you don’t think much of can severely dent and ding your resale value, even if the damage is just cosmetic.
Small marks or imperfections can get worse and start to rust when exposed to the elements. As you wait to fix it, it’s possible the damage gets worse and will cost more.
To potential buyers, even minor body damage gives the impression that the owner (that’s you) didn’t care well enough for the car or perhaps even drove it recklessly. So naturally, expect resale value to be affected as a result.
3. Clean your car regularly
Keeping your car tidy can do wonders for your resale value as proper cleaning will help to ‘de-cage’ your car. A little extra TLC every now and again like a wax or polish, cushion cleaning, etc. will have your car looking newer to net a better price.
Moreover, regular cleaning can be worth your while, money-wise. For instance, vacuuming the interiors (with a HEPA vacuum) will help prolong the lifespan of your car’s air conditioning. Also, careful cleaning under the hood of your car can eliminate the potential for trapped dust and dirt clogging your system.
4. Consider the mileage
A car with more mileage might fetch a lower resale value and expectedly so. This is because; a car with high mileage could indicate more wear and tear when compared to a barely driven car with low mileage.
However, it is impractical to stop using your car just for the sake of mileage. What you can do is limit unnecessary trips. For instance, avoid making excessive rounds to find the closest parking spot; it will add to your mileage over the years, believe it or not. Also, if you are someone who often lends your car to friends or family, you might want to reconsider doing so and save the miles to help the sale in the future.
5. Choose the right colour
You may be tempted to look for a car with the most stylish, unique and flashy colours. But do note that these descriptions could translate into a lower resale value. Not everyone will be as taken with a shimmery lime green as you are.
According to paint supplier PPG, some hues are less popular than others and these tend to differ with regions. In Asia and around the globe for that matter, white is a top seller along with black, grey and silver. For some reason, colours like maroon and green have poor resale values.
As you think about car colours, it might also be a good idea to skip racing stripes and leopard prints – you’ll thank us later.
6. Modify sparingly
Feel like maximising your car’s fanciness by modifying the exhaust pipes to make it blare as loudly as possible or affixing extended spoilers and racing wings to give it a sporty look? You may have opted for a car insurance add-on that would’ve covered your modifications, but you might want to reconsider, as this could negatively affect the resale price.
However, bear in mind that not everyone appreciates major modifications like these. Unless you find a buyer that also happens to be your ‘auto soulmate’, such additions could hurt your resale price.
There are certain modifications that can be good for its resale like upgrading security, installing tinting as well as adding quality speakers and modern tech for better utility (e.g. Bluetooth receivers and a reverse camera)
Don’t just focus on car resale value
Shopping for a car with only its resale value on your mind could limit you to certain models of cars that may not be right for you. Money is important – we get that – but your safety is worth much, much more. So as you shop for a car, don’t be swayed by the ‘resale value’ sales pitch and forgo other, more important factors.
Salespeople may try to appeal to your “financially prudent” side but there are more ways to save money on a car than by simply focusing on the resale value. For instance, choosing a car with fuel efficient mileage or free servicing and upfront discounts can be a money-smart
When you do shop for a car, focus on the whole package.
Think about the safety features, the handling, the efficiency, the price and affordability, the after-sales service quality and finally, the resale value.
Never underestimate the importance of taking care of your car; you’ll be glad you did one day down the road!
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