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How to increase your car’s resale value

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At some point, you might decide to sell your car; maybe you’re ready to trade in for a newer model, or you’re looking to make some extra cash. If you’ve kept your car in good condition over time, you will probably get a decent resale valuation. 

But before you trade in your car, consider the ways that you can increase the resale value. There are some easy things you can do to get more money for your vehicle, which we’ll talk about in this article.

What is the resale value of a car?

The resale value of a car is the amount of money it’s worth when sold in its current condition. There are a number of factors that can affect a car’s resale value in both a positive and negative way. Certain car makes and models also have an inherently higher resale value than others. Luxury vehicles, trucks, and SUVs usually have the highest resale value. Cars that have a great reputation also have higher resale values, such as Honda or Subaru vehicles.

Most people don’t consider the resale value of their car until they’re ready to sell it. However, there are a few good reasons to know a car’s resale value before you even buy it. If you’re thinking about buying a car with a very low resale value, consider the impact that will have down the road when it comes time to sell. 

Another factor is your auto insurance coverage, which will go farther if you have a car that holds its value well. If you get into an accident, your car insurance company will use your car’s resale value to determine your payout. The higher the resale value, the more money you’ll get to fix your car or replace it with a new one.

Increasing your car’s resale value

Cars start to depreciate in value the minute you drive them off the lot, particularly with brand new cars. There are certain parts of your car’s resale value like that that are out of your control. However, there are also some ways that you can improve the value of your payout.

Having proper documentation

First, make sure you have proper documentation for the car. Keep service records for maintenance and receipts for upgrades or repairs. Save any paperwork from when you first bought the car, especially because this will verify the purchase price, and information about the car’s history if you bought it used. Gather documents from your car insurance company, including any paperwork related to insurance claims. 

Keep up with maintenance

It’s easy to skip routine service checks and oil changes. But if you want to increase the resale value of your car, keeping up with regular maintenance will make a big difference. The better condition your car is in, the more money you can sell it for. It’s typically worth replacing the tires, changing the brake pads, and getting the transmission serviced before you sell it or trade it in. That way, it’s one less thing that the new owner will have to spend money on.

Make repairs

Taking care of outstanding repairs is another way that you can increase your car’s resale value. If you’ve been driving around with a broken taillight, or your automatic windows stopped working, consider making those repairs prior to selling. 

Small issues can quickly add up and cause your car’s resale value to drop. Things that might not be a big deal to you could be a dealbreaker to a buyer. Taking your car to a local mechanic and have it repaired before you find a potential buyer is a simple way to increase its value. 

Install upgrades

Certain upgrades can raise your car’s resale value. But do your research before you invest, as not all upgrades will have an impact. For instance, infotainment systems that are Bluetooth-enabled and can connect to a smartphone are a good choice that drive up value. The same goes for safety features, like lane departure alerts and a backup camera. However, features like tinted windows, flashy rims, and GPS devices generally do more harm than good for your car’s resale value.

Have the car appraised

Chances are likely that a dealership or private buyer will start by giving you a low offer for your car, leaving room to negotiate. Even then, you might not agree with their price. One way around this is to have your car appraised by a car expert or mechanic. 

Have someone look at the car in-person, rather than solely relying on a site like Kelley Blue Book to price it. Have the appraiser give you an estimate based on the condition, age, maintenance and upgrades on the car, and provide that information when you sell it.

What can negatively affect my car’s resale value?

Now that you’re aware of a few ways to increase your car’s value, it’s important to note the things that can negatively affect your car’s resale value. Here are a few factors that can work against you: 

  • Smoking in your vehicle
  • The car’s mileage
  • The car’s age
  • The color of the car
  • Certain aftermarket modifications
  • Window tinting
  • Neglecting maintenance 
  • Exterior damages
  • Bumper stickers

The takeaway 

  • Your car’s resale value is the amount of money it’s worth in its current condition
  • Before you sell or trade-in your car, it’s important to know the resale value
  • There are ways to increase the resale value and raise the sale price
  • Maintenance, repairs, upgrades and keeping documentation can all contribute to a higher sale price

Selling your car isn’t always simple, but for the right price, it can be very worth the effort. Your car will inevitably lose value overtime, but there are some ways that you can increase the resale value with a dealership or buyer. 

Keeping up with regular maintenance, making repairs, upgrading the features, having the right documentation and getting your car appraised by a professional can all help raise the value of your vehicle when you sell it.

Elizabeth Rivelli

Elizabeth is an insurance writer for coverage.com, where she covers insurance providers and reviews policies to help consumers find comprehensive and affordable coverage for every area of their life. She has more than three years of writing experience for top online insurance and finance publications.

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