If you’re in the market for a car, there are a few tips to think about before you hand over your hard earned cash. Tips that could help you further down the line when it comes time to sell. Even if you plan to keep your car for a long time, it’s still worth taking a look at what helps sell a used car in the market today.
1. Buy Used
This seems like the obvious first choice as every car that drives off the new-car dealership loses value, especially over the first three years of its life. I recently purchased a nine year old Ford worth $45,000 new for just $9,000 in pretty much new condition with all the bells and whistles, and less than 57,000 miles on the clock. It drives like a new car (tight and responsive), it’s so quiet in the cabin and even has the new car smell! Just imagine what the finance would be on a $45,000 vehicle compared to a $9,000 car.
Honestly, stay with what most people know – the essentials to get them from ‘a’ to ‘b’ comfortably and reliably. These will include power steering, power windows, air conditioning, tinted windows and cruise control. Automatic transmission cars hold their value more than manual cars as there are less manual cars on the road and far more people with an automatic license. Avoid the temptation to splash the cash on flashy extras such as DVD players, bad-ass steering wheels and skull-faced gear knobs, tinted headlights, or led-lighting throughout, or even spending money on lowering the car. These are likely to go out of date or out of style like Psy’s ‘Gangham Style’ and add no value to your car when it comes to selling. In fact, they tend to cheapen a car and put buyers off who think the car has been treated like a race-track rally car that has done ‘donuts’ and pushed the suspension to the limit.
Most of us just want to get in the car and drive everywhere. However, you can quickly clock up the miles and this only ends up decreasing the value over time. If you don’t need to drive down to the local shops or into the city if you can take the train, bus or tram, then opt for public transport as it will save not only mileage as well as wear and tear, but also money for parking and time to find a park. Carpooling is another good option if you drive to work regularly.
The way you drive your car can impact the ride, the suspension, and responsive nature expected of a well-looked after vehicle. Revving your car unnecessarily, lots of stopping and starting, using the brakes harshly, doing burn-outs, and treating a road car like an off-road utility will take its toll and not only cost you a lot to fix, but also show when it comes to selling with worn pedals, increased cabin noise, rattling noises, or wheel alignment being out-of-sync.
Regular scheduled servicing is essential to keep your car in tip-top condition as well as provide you with the necessary receipts and service history a potential buyer is looking for in a reliable vehicle. It doesn’t stop there though. You also need to regularly wash, wax, and vacuum your car keeping the paintwork clean and protected, and the interior free from bad odors and waste. If you own a dog that travels in the car, then make sure the car is kept free of fur and smells on a regular basis. Car buyers get put off dirty, clutter-filled cars as I was once when I inspected a SAAB back in 2015. The owner hadn’t bothered to take out any of the rubbish or other stuff crammed into the trunk or the back seats, and seemed to be put out at having to show the car to me – even with a days notice. Toggles were missing off certain instruments on the dashboard, and the bonnet latch didn’t work probably – none of which were listed in the advertisement as being problems. I decided not to take it for a test drive as I could see clearly how she cared for the car – or not. I’m not sure she understood what to do to sell the car, and having wasted my time and the distance I had to travel to see the car, I thought she won’t get a buyer in any hurry – and I was right. I kept an eye on that car, and it was still on the marketplace a year later – of course with more mileage and in worse condition no doubt.
If you don’t have access to a garage or covered carport, try to keep your car off the street, or if that isn’t an option either, then at least buy a good waterproof car cover to protect your car against weather conditions, falling branches, tree sap and leaves, and most of all bird poop. Protecting the exterior of the car will help greatly when it comes time to sell.
Slowing the depreciation process by following these simple tips will ensure you get the most back for your investment in the future – something to think about before you inspect your next ‘potential’ purchase.