When you buy a car, whether it’s new or used, you want to preserve as much of its market value as possible. Not only will you trade in that car someday for another, but you also want the car to give you years of dependable service.
To achieve those goals, there’s some special factors to take care of that can adversely affect your used car’s value.
Follow these tips from used car experts, to learn which factors affect a vehicle’s value—and how to use them to increase yours.
1. Don’t Let Dings ‘Ding’ Your Car Value
The used car professional evaluators at Kelley Blue Book recommend that owners fix visible dings, dents, and scratches. Unless the dent or scratch is a major one, these repairs are usually fairly cheap. When buyers see these cosmetic defects on a car, they wonder if the vehicle has more than cosmetic wear and tear under the hood.
There are more reasons why you don’t want to ignore these blemishes. Number one—rust. In metal parts—or parts with metal components, even a small scratch or ding can expose the metal to the elements, leading to rust if the problem isn’t nipped in the bud.
Also, even minor fender-benders can throw your car’s internal systems off. Savvy buyers and used car dealers know that. So, your car’s value will take a nosedive unless you have the cosmetic and any underlying mechanical problems fixed.
2. Keep Your Kilometres To A Minimum If You Can
Image source: Gumtree
Not only will you decrease your carbon footprint and boost fitness levels when walking to the corner shop, you’ll also increase the value of your car.
The fewer kilometres on the odometer, the better your car’s value, says CompareTheMarket. In general, the more kilometres driven, the more wear and tear on your car.
Instead of driving your car to work every day, see if you can carpool instead. Find ways to combine several trips into one. You’ll save on your petrol spending—and get more for your car when you trade it in.
3. Care For Your Car’s Interior
When buyers look over your car, they notice every little thing, inside and out. Used car dealers are even more tuned in to minor details.
You have to ride inside the car—so you want as pleasant a ride as possible.
Seats with gaping holes from your dog’s untrimmed nails, grimy floor mats, upholstery that smells like cigarette smoke or stale takeaway food all are big turn offs for potential buyers, says CNN Money senior writer Peter Valdes-Dapena.
Keep your removable floor mats clean. Clean underneath them too. Dirt can work its way into the fibres, making it difficult to remove. Keep seats clean. If possible, don’t eat and drink in your car.
If you need to haul your pets around, keep them clean—and protect your seats with seat covers or sheets. Keep your pets’ nails trimmed so they don’t scratch leather upholstery or cloth.
Protect your car’s floors with cargo mats or floor liners when you’re hauling pets or other cargo that might scratch or stain your car’s interior. Many of these are customisable—and will increase your car’s value when you’re ready to sell.
Treat leather seats with solutions designed to keep the leather clean and supple. Leather can become brittle with neglect and age. Keeping your leather upholstery well cared for can increase its longevity—and your car’s overall value.
When you clean your car, says Valdes-Dapena, use products meant for car care. Materials used in a car’s interior aren’t the same as those in your home.
4. Maintain Detailed Records Of Repairs And Maintenance
CBS MoneyWatch writer Allison Martin advises car owners to maintain extensive records of everything you do to your car. Even minor routine maintenance tasks, like tire rotation and fluid changes, she says, go to the issue of demonstrating that you have taken excellent care of your vehicle.
If you do the maintenance yourself, document the work. As well as the receipts for the materials you used. If you haven’t kept good records in the past, see if you can track down at some of the records from the repair shop that did the work.
Keep a neat file folder for each vehicle. Again, the neater your records, the more the buyer will trust that you took equally meticulous care of your car.
5. Stage Your Vehicle For Sale
Just like real estate agents do when they sell a home, ‘stage’ your car for sale.
- If your tyres are threadbare, spend a little money to equip with quality used tyres in good condition. Make sure that all tyres match. Details matter when you want to get the best price for your used car.
- If a light or globe is burnt out, replace it. It’s fast and cheap. Buyers expect it.
After you take care of the obvious, look over your car as a buyer would. See what you can do to camouflage its trouble spots and highlight good points.
- Clean your car’s engine. One of the first places a knowledgeable buyer will look. If it’s dirty and dusty, it will look like you haven’t cared well for your vehicle.
- Worn brakes? Spend a little to get them fixed, says Kelley Blue Book staff. Brakes are a safety issue. If a buyer thinks they’re not getting a safe car, they won’t pay nearly as much for it.
- Fix cracks or chips in your windshield. Many insurance companies will cover that cost. If they don’t, it’s an eyesore, as well as a safety risk.
The best advice for increasing the value of your used car? Take good care of it from the day you drive it home until the day you let it go.