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How to Increase The Resale Value of Your Car

With fuel prices rising, many car owners have begun considering whether it's time to upgrade to a newer, more fuel-efficient model. Whether you want to upgrade or your current car is not worth fixing, you may be thinking that it's time to sell your current vehicle as soon as possible.

But when looking for potential buyers, the sale price you can get will depend not just on the market condition but also on you maximizing the car's resale value before making it available.

Whether you want to sell luxury cars or a more affordable model, discover all you need to know about what car has the best resale value and how to increase it.

What is the Resale Value of a Car?

A car's resale value is the price you can get when you sell your vehicle through private party transactions. This amount is impacted by a range of factors, such as the current conditions in the market, your car's state, the make, model, and year, as well as your willingness to wait for a buyer that's willing to pay a fair price.

Certain models of cars tend to retain their values better because of their reliability and strong reputation. For example, the Honda Civic is one of the best resale value cars, which means its value can be higher than some of the other models. Meanwhile, car makers like Lincoln or Jeep might have a worse car resale value because they are less reliable, according to some reports. Of course, all of this is very subjective, and the sales price will depend on the type of seller you end up working with.

What's more, no two cars are the same, even if they share the make, model, and year. That's because even though the average asking price might be similar, the car's condition, accessories, and other variables can impact its private party value.

How to Increase Your Car's Resale Value

If you're considering selling your vehicle, you want to ensure that the car resale value is as high as it can be in your situation. And while some of the factors that impact the depreciation rate, such as the car's model and mileage, are out of your hands, you can still take certain steps to maximize your car's fair market price in relation to market trends at the time of sale.

Let's look at some of the most effective steps you can take to reduce the depreciation curve and leverage the various market factors in your favor.

Have All the Necessary Documents

A big part of selling your car quickly and without issues is having all the proper documents that are needed to finalize the sale.

Legally, you need to be the car owner and have its title to make a sale. There are ways you can resolve this in case the paperwork is simply not correctly established, but you will need to address this if you want to sell your car for a fair price.

At the same time, you should keep documentation showing how your car was maintained, which greatly impacts the car's resale value. If you keep the receipts and maintenance records throughout your ownership period, you can show what was done and give more confidence to the private buyer, increasing the purchase price.

Don't Skip Maintenance

Another crucial part of maximizing your car resale value over the long term is ensuring you treat the car with care. Even if you know you will sell it eventually, you should not skip essential maintenance tasks if you want the sale price to remain high even after extended mileage.

The most common routine maintenance services you should stay on top of are oil changes, filter changes, timing belt replacement, and anti-corrosion measures in colder climates. If you keep the oil, filters, and timing belt changed when necessary, your engine will thank you for it, withstanding even higher mileage.

At the same time, you should have a repair shop regularly inspect your suspension, brakes, transmission, and other vital components. Catching issues early will usually help keep repair costs much lower.

Keep It Clean

Sometimes something as seemingly simple as the car being clean can have a dramatic impact on its average asking price. That's because when people see a clean and well-maintained exterior and interior, they are likely to assume that you took care of everything else as well.

Keeping your car clean will also help prevent corrosion. Going to the car wash every couple of weeks is a small commitment considering that it will increase the private party value of your vehicle while also making it more enjoyable to drive.

It goes without saying that you should also have the car thoroughly cleaned before showing it to prospective buyers. Seeing a clean and shiny vehicle increases the buyer's willingness to commit, and by extension, how much you can get.

Promptly Deal with Breakdowns

No matter how well you take care of your vehicle, chances are something will go wrong eventually. But the way you deal with situations when that happens will ultimately determine not only how much you end up spending on repairs but also how much your car's resale value will eventually be.

When your mechanic says there's an issue with your car, it's probably a good idea to have them replace the worn-down parts sooner rather than later. Even if the vehicle is still drivable, bad components are likely to strain the entire vehicle and increase the risk of more serious breakdowns in the near future.

At the same time, when you decide to list your car for sale, the sales price will also be impacted by whether it has any faults or issues that will have to be fixed by the new owner.

Remove Any Odors

One of the worst things that can happen during a live viewing of your car is the buyer noticing unpleasant odors or lingering smells in the car's interior. Whether it's the smell of cigarette smoke, mold, or sweat, these smells will put off almost any buyer and make your job of maintaining the original transaction price much harder.

The good news is there's a relatively simple way to remove almost any odor from a car. There are many deodorizing services for vehicles that can help eliminate almost any smell in just an hour or two.

When your buyer gets in the car and smells nothing but the air freshener, combined with the clean car, it plays a huge part in making a strong first impression and helping them fall in love with the car you're selling.

Fix Dents or Scratches

No matter how well you take care of your car, chances are it will accumulate at least a few scratches or dents over the years.

And while that might not be a big deal to you, maximizing the car resale value requires the car to look as well as possible, and that may require you to eliminate the dents and scratches entirely.

Of course, when doing this, consider whether it's worth it. For an older car, it might be a better idea to save money because it won't result in a significant price increase. And if you sell to a reputable junk car buyer like Orthodox Auto, you don't have to worry about these types of details and can get an instant cash offer instead.

3 Things That Can Decrease the Resale Value

As discussed in the previous section, there are many things you can do to instantly boost your car resale value and make your vehicle more appealing to buyers. However, if you want to have plenty of interest in your car and avoid having to deal with offers that are scams, you also need to be aware of things you should avoid, which could make the sale much more difficult or even impossible.

Here are a few things that will decrease the private party value of your vehicle:

  • Aftermarket mods. Now, this one isn't as clear-cut as it may seem, since a well-executed mod can actually increase the car's value by quite a bit. However, in most cases, cheap or unprofessional mods that include spoilers, special lights, or paint jobs will hurt your car's value by reducing the number of people that would be interested.

  • Stickers. Many drivers like to put up stickers to showcase their political affiliation, beliefs, or even their sense of humor. But while they might be fun to have on the car while you're the owner, they can be a hassle to remove and put off prospective buyers.

  • Your location. Unfortunately, living in a remote location can make selling a car to private buyers much more difficult. The good news is that when you work with a reputable junk car buyer, they will offer a fair market price and come pick up the car wherever you might be.

Bottom Line

Countless factors can have an impact on your car's resale value. But the good news is that, in most cases, you can take proactive steps that will help maximize the amount you can sell for and the interest you can generate.

However, if you want to avoid the hassle of preparing your car and fielding offers, your best bet is to sell to a reputable junk car buyer like Orthodox Auto, which will provide you with an instant cash offer and pick up the car from you in any location.


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