In the past decade, the average length of car ownership is the U.S. has climbed to six and a half years. Whether you keep your car that long or for only a couple of years, you’ll want to get the highest possible price when the time comes to sell your car. Whether your old car is a sedan, an SUV, a truck, or another type of vehicle, and whether you want to sell your car privately or are planning a trade-in at a local dealership, you will still want the best return on your investment.
A lot of variables factor into your car’s resale value. Of course, after years of use, wear and tear, mileage accumulation and repairs, the value of your car will never be the same as when you bought it (except, of course, for those rare models that become classics, but they require a lot of upkeep). The good news is that there are a few simple steps you can take to significantly increase your car’s resale value.
Here’s our take on what you can do to add value to your car:
1. Ensure Proper Maintenance and Upkeep
It’s no secret that car buyers want a well-maintained car that retains its original appearance. The only way to achieve this is by ensuring that your car undergoes regular maintenance and upkeep. Besides taking your car to the mechanic for repairs and maintenance, it’s crucial to keep up with those small problems that come up, before they accumulate. When you see something amiss, make sure to mention it to your mechanic during your next scheduled maintenance visit.
Things like a rock chip in the windscreen, a burned out window regulator, broken trim, or a missing hubcap can easily be ignored, but potential buyers will notice such flaws and see your car as neglected, despite its smooth running condition. First impressions always go a long way for buyers, so fix up those small issues as they come up in order to avoid the costly last-minute fix rush.
2. Invest in New Tires and Wheels
Before you sell your car, inspect your tires. Have you replaced them since you bought the car or are they the factory originals? Are they holding air and how is the tread wear? Before putting your car on sale, it’s wise to invest in new tires. This will not only improve its curb appeal but also show potential buyers that you took good care of the car. With new tires, you can confidently ask more for your car.
In addition to new tires, swap those old factory wheels for some quality and stylish after-market wheels with a PVD chrome finish. This is one of the best ways to add significant value to your car, especially if your wheels are bent, scratched or dented. If you can find new original wheels for your car, so much the better. Most car buyers are impressed by new wheels and tires and will be willing to pay a good price for that as long as the car is in great mechanical condition.
3. Spend Some Money on Improving the Interior and Exterior
We’re not talking of car modifications, performance overhauls or some slick paint job here. Simple improvements and repairs are what we want to focus on. Stick to what is most important. Spend some time and money on the interior. If you have faded seats or holes and tears on the seats, consider getting some period-correct seat covers. You don’t need to replace the entire seat unless it’s broken or the springs are destroyed. The same applies for headliners and car carpets—replace them if cleaning them is not improving their bad condition.
You should also invest in repairing those dents and scratches. Minor bodywork on your car’s exterior is not expensive. If you have broken lights, signal lights, or mirrors, replace them early. With your effort and a small investment, your car’s attractive appearance will go a long way toward a higher asking price. Maintaining your car in perfect condition is a basic step when it comes to adding value to your ride. Your interior and exterior look should be perfect.
4. Take Care of Those Squeaks, Creaks, Moans, and Rattles
While taking your car to the mechanic is the norm, you are the one who has the best knowledge about your car’s performance. If your car has braking issues, water pump issues, oil leaks, overheating issues, rattling timing chains, water leaks, suspension issues, steering issues, you need to let your mechanic know so you can have the issues fixed. Just make sure to get the right parts for your car model and make. Additionally, you need to change the oil regularly, change the transmission fluid according to the schedule and check that other fluids are topped off. Buyers will check your fluid levels and can tell how well you’ve been taking care of the car.
5. Keep All Your Car-Related Paperwork
Keep all your car documents safe and well-organized. These include title, finance contract, purchase receipts, complete service records, window stickers, owner’s manual, as well as a full stack of receipts for parts and maintenance work. Why does this matter? Your attention to detail shows prospective buyers that you cared about your car and also gives them a full view of what has been repaired, replaced, and maintained. This record definitely adds value to the car.
No matter what steps you take to add value to your car, what matters most is maintaining a balance between appeal and functionality. You don’t want to spend too much on costly repairs that will not add value to your car, but instead focus on curb appeal, like adding some new wheels and tires, making sure that your interiors and exteriors look great, and, most importantly, ensure that your car’s engine is in proper running condition.
Author Bio: Jordan McDowell is a car enthusiast who loves sharing industry-related news, trends, and tips for both new car owners and experienced drivers. He regularly contributes quality content for leading brands like Wheel Creations PVD.