How to Maximise the Resale Value of your Car

Over the first 5 years of ownership, a new car will lose around 40% of its value. It’s fair to say that car depreciation is unrelenting and if you’re looking at selling your car, you’re likely to be considering how you can maximise the resale value. 

While depreciation is a battle we’re not going to win, as car owners there are steps that we can take to maximise the resale value of our car. Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes but only long-term solutions, and the resale value is definitely something that you should consider from the minute you buy a car.

1 – Keep servicing your car

Apparently 40% of car buyers won’t buy a car that has an incomplete service history. A car’s service history is usually recorded in the vehicle’s logbook by the car service provider or some garages may add the service to digital records attached to your car.

An incomplete service history can throw red flags to potential buyers and will give dealerships reason to reduce their part exchange valuation. A full service history shows the car has been properly maintained and taken care of and this is especially important for newer cars as servicing is commonly required to maintain the validity of the manufacturer’s warranty. 

Get your car serviced every year and follow the recommended service schedule from your manufacturer. This is made easier with car service plans where the legwork of organising a service every year is done for you. Servicing will not only maximise the resale value of your car, but it will also make it safer to drive and reduce the likelihood of breakdown. It’s a win win!

2 – Clean Your Car

First impressions count when it comes to selling your car, so you must make sure your vehicle is looking its best. Doing so will help to sell your vehicle quickly and for the best price. As well as a good wash and polish to the exterior, you should ensure the interior is clean by removing any rubbish and giving it a good hoover.

It is also important to return any accessories to the car that you may have replaced or removed. For example, if you removed the parcel shelf, be sure to return it, as just because you didn’t use it doesn’t mean a new owner won’t.

To maximise resale value, you may also want to consider getting a professional valet. Although this may seem costly, the high-quality finish professionals achieve will help boost saleability and the attraction of your car to buyers in a crowded used car market.

3 – Get Minor Bodywork Issues Repaired

Scratches, scuffs and dents are another thing that can impact the all-important first impression. That is because buyers will use any damage to the bodywork to try and knock you on price.  

Not only will buyers consider the cost of getting repairs done, but they will also factor in the inconvenience and time they will have to set aside to get repairs completed. What’s more, multiple bodywork issues suggest that the car has been poorly maintained, which will put off some buyers altogether.

Many garages now offer small and medium area repair technology (SMART) repairs, which provide a cost-effective way to deal with minor bodywork problems. These types of repairs often cost less than your insurance excess so you won’t need to make a claim. While it is an expensive that will be deducted from how much you make on the car, unrepaired damage may prevent you from privately selling it all together and will dramatically reduce a part exchange valuation.

4 – Get Your Paperwork Together

The most effective way to improve the value and saleability of your vehicle is to have your car’s logbook and keep it up to date.

Buying a second-hand car can be a daunting process, and many buyers having worries about the quality of the model they are buying. Therefore, knowing the car’s history and having a record of its full-service history in the logbook can help appease people’s worries.

Generally speaking, cars maintained at a registered franchised garage are likely to hold their value better than those serviced at a non-franchised workshop. 

That being said, a record of regular maintenance will help improve saleability regardless of where it has taken place. Whereas cars without a full-service record may take longer to sell and are likely to sell for substantially less.

You must other paperwork in order like the V5C logbook that is a certification of valid ownership. You are able to sell a car without a V5C but it does spark warning signs and buyers may walk away.

5 – Research your options for selling

When it comes to actually trying to sell your car, there are a few options for you. You can either sell privately, part exchange or auction it off. Auctioning your car is very risky and research by Which? Found that sellers lost out on average £2000 when auctioning their car

Selling privately or part exchanging are probably your best options (without knowing your circumstances). You’ll typically get more for your car selling privately than part exchanging and many choose this option to get the best price for their car. Selling privately can at times be a drawn-out promise, made easier by online car selling and buying sites, but you’ll still need to SORN your car and MOT it every year if its parked on the road.

With a part exchange you’re guaranteed to sell your car and the valuation can be contributed towards the cost of a new model. Although, you can still part exchange even if you aren’t buying. You’ll need to do the leg work with a part exchange and get your car prepared for valuation. It can be hard to hide the defects of your car from someone who works in the trade – It’s likely they’ve seen it all before. But that being said, they are keen to sell you a knew one so do your research and know what your car is worth for the condition it’s in.


Photo credits: Car wash by Erik Mclean on Unsplash