You might think that keeping your car clean and in great condition is the key to getting a good resale price. But there are several other factors that play into how much your car is worth when you want to sell it. Most of them are purely pragmatic, but some of them may surprise you—and they might even make the difference between getting a good price or being stuck with an undervalued vehicle.
Your car is a big investment, and you want to get the most out of it when the time comes to sell it. Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do to make sure your car holds its resale value as long as possible. This article looks at 8 factors that can affect your car’s resale value.
Here are 8 factors that can affect your car’s resale value:
The more bumper stickers on your car, the fewer people will be willing to pay for it. While bumper stickers might seem like a fun way to express yourself, a vehicle with a bunch of bumper stickers can turn off potential buyers because some people think that if a person puts something on their car, they probably won’t take care of it any better.
So if you want top dollar for your vehicle, peel off those bumper stickers. However, keep in mind that removing bumper stickers can damage your paint—so ensure that you peel them off carefully.
No matter what kind of condition your car is in, if you have damaged lights—whether it’s a broken headlight or a burnt-out turn signal—it will lower the amount of money people will pay for it. That’s because it makes your car look less attractive and less safe. And when potential buyers see damaged lights, they might assume other parts of the vehicle have been neglected as well. If you want to get full value for your vehicle, make sure all the lights work properly.
Where You Live
Your location plays a big role in determining your car’s resale value. If you live in a mountainous area where roads are tough to drive and snow is common, your car will probably have some extra wear-and-tear that makes it harder to sell. The same goes for areas like the Deep South where roads are salted every time there’s even a threat of ice.
It may also be helpful to know that people who live in the Midwest tend to drive their cars more than people who live on the coasts, which means cars out West will wear down faster than cars out East.
A Cracked Windshield
A cracked windshield can also lower the resale value of your vehicle. It’s not just about the cosmetic factor—cracked windshields can impair visibility, which is a major safety concern for drivers. If your windshield has a crack in it, get it fixed before selling your car.
Fixing a cracked windshield typically costs between $200 and $300. Even if you don’t plan on selling your vehicle soon, taking care of your windshield and fixing any cracks right away before they spread is also important for ensuring the best possible price in the event of a resale.
You might love smoking in your car and think that it freshens up the place with its smoky smell, but not everyone feels the same way. In fact, many people are turned off by secondhand smoke and will pay less for a car with smoke damage. The smell of cigarettes will not only turn off potential buyers, but it can also make them wonder about the condition of the air filters in their future vehicle.
No one wants to buy a car that smells like an ashtray—it’s just not good for their health or the longevity of their vehicle. So if you’re looking for top dollar for your vehicle, quit smoking in it—or at least stop lighting up before selling it.
As much as you might love the look of mismatched tires—maybe you think it gives your vehicle a cool, rugged vibe—the truth is when it comes time to sell your vehicle, this can really affect its value. In the eyes of many prospective buyers, mismatched tires show a lack of care on the part of the seller, and this is not a good look.
People notice mismatched tires even if they’re not consciously looking for them. So if you have an old tire that’s worn down and needs to be replaced soon or a new one that looks different from its counterparts, replace all four tires so everything matches visually and functionally!
A Manual Transmission
Another thing that affects resale value is a manual transmission. If your car has a manual transmission, it’s going to be harder to sell than if it’s automatic; this is because there aren’t as many people who know how to drive a manual anymore. It’s easier for buyers if they don’t have to learn how to drive something new when they’re buying a used vehicle. Most drivers prefer an automatic transmission because they’re simpler, more convenient, and require less maintenance overall.
Last, color affects resale value. A car with a flashy or unusual color will more likely have a lower resale value than one with a more standard hue, such as white, silver, or black. The reason is simple: with cars, most people want to blend in. They want their ride to be comfortable and useful rather than eye-catching and attention-grabbing. If your car is painted a shade of yellow normally seen on school buses, a buyer who wants to be seen cruising down the boulevard may love it—but those who want to look like they’ve got their life together may turn up their noses.
It’s always a good idea to think about how your car will depreciate over time and what you can do to make sure that it keeps as much of its resale value as possible. After all, you want to get a solid return on your investment when you sell it or trade it in, so you want to make sure that the vehicle’s condition and features align with what buyers are looking for.