What to do to ensure your car keeps its value
Buying a car with strong resale means, all things being equal, you get more of your investment back when you sell it, over a car with weaker credentials.
Whatever the numbers say, however, somebody has to want to buy it first. And just like the belle of the ball, it’s the nicest looking, best-credentialled ones that snare the suitors with the biggest pockets.
“There are a lot of used vehicles out there and a lot of opportunities for buyers,” says Glass’s Guide Marketing and Sales Manager Nick Adamidis. “If it’s obvious a vehicle hasn’t been taken care of, the buyer will want to get it for a bargain.”
Here are the big things you need to keep on top of to maximise your returns.
Paint, bodywork and cabin
First impressions count – and chipped, dented or faded bodywork doesn’t create the right one.
“Overall condition is important to its resale but especially the paint and bodywork,” says Adamidis.
Preventative maintenance is the key here. We can’t all garage our cars but we can wash them regularly. Being vigilant with tree sap, bug stains, bird poo and other contaminants that can damage the paint is also vital – all should be cleaned off as soon as possible.
A scrappy cabin is another aspect that can bring the whole tone of a car down. Most plastics are pretty durable but carpet and fabrics should be vacuumed regularly to stop dirt from being ground into the fabric and ageing it before its time.
The biggest fear for any used-car buyer is a money pit – and a car that hasn’t been serviced in accordance with original equipment manufacturer (OEM) requirements is going to be seen as a huge risk.
“One of the biggest reasons people will expect a discount is fear of repairs,” says Adamidis. “So one of the biggest things you can do is stick to the OEM servicing schedule and keep a record of it. It says I’ve spent the money on my car, I haven’t let it go.”
Religious servicing is even more vital if you’re planning to sell within the lifetime of a factory or extended warranty, which requires correct servicing to remain valid.
“If a buyer knows there are a couple more years left on the warranty they tend to disregard any issues and don’t request as much of a discount,” says Adamidis. “It’s especially so with prestige vehicles because buyers are scared that minor faults might cost them thousands.”
In short, don’t do it. And if you must, ensure it can be ‘undone’ later on.
“For most vehicles it’s better to keep them standard,” says Adamidis. “Otherwise buyers start to think, ‘They’ve tinkered with it, what can go wrong and how much is it going to cost me?’”
There are exceptions. A used 4WD with desirable off-road modifications can often fetch a higher price than one without.
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