11 Tips to Maximize Your Car’s Resale Value

11 Tips to Maximize Your Car’s Resale Value

Most assets appreciate in value over time, but cars are the only one that drops in value the moment you take it off the lot. Most people believe that fueling your vehicle is the biggest expense to owning a car, but the truth is, it is depreciation. The rate of depreciation varies between makes and models but a car typically loses at least 30% of its value on the first three years of ownership and then drops to 50% of depreciation after the car hits its 3 year mark.

Unfortunately, you can’t avoid it. It’s an inevitability all car owners have to live with. According to US News, several factors affect a car’s depreciation rate.


There are several ways to increasing a car’s market value so you can claim for a higher asking price come selling time. Don’t forget that most of these things need to begin as soon as you bought the car, so don’t put them off even if selling is far from your mind right now.

observe regular car maintenance

1. Observe Proper Maintenance of the Car

If you want to keep most of the car’s value by the time you sell it, you should properly maintain the vehicle from day one. Without proper maintenance, you could miss the signs that your car needs repairs until the problem is way worse (and more expensive). However, with appropriate and regular maintenance, you’ll be able to spot issues early on before things get out of control.

Whether or not you’re a car expert, it is still best to take the car to regular services with a mechanic. You could point out potential issues during these visits so that the mechanic could check it out and make preventive measures.

track your car mileage

2. Mind Your Mileage

Driving long-distance across multiple states? You might want to reconsider. The more miles you put into the car, the faster it depreciates. The Department of Transportation states that the average annual mileage for a car is roughly 13,500 per year. This ranges from 7,000 to 15,000 depending on your age group, but if you drive significantly more than this, your car will worth less than the average market price when you try to sell it.

keep your car clean

3. Keep It Clean (Inside & Out)

Keeping the car clean before you sell it is one of the best ways to improve its market value. Clean the car in and out keeps it aesthetically and cosmetically-pleasing at every angle. Fortunately, you don’t even have to spend a lot to achieve a neat-looking vehicle. With some elbow grease and non-abrasive cleaning products, your car will look like it just came off the showroom floor after a few hours of work.

park in covered parking lots

4. Pick a Sheltered Parking

When your car is out, it is exposed to the elements. Even regular weather conditions, like being in direct sunlight, can wear out your paint, dry up your dashboard and tires, and make your weather seals and trim become brittle and prone to breaking easily. Detailing your car on the regular can help mitigate some of this damage, but keeping your vehicle in covered parking is guaranteed to keep your car in pristine condition.

Park the car in a garage or covered carport to protect it from the harsh elements. Parking it in the shade is a good compromise, but be sure to keep an eye on bird droppings. They are very acidic and can cause significant damage to your car’s paint job.

keep up with car maintenance

5. Keep Up With Maintenance

You don’t want to wait until there’s a problem to take your car to the mechanic. It’s called preventative maintenance for a reason.

How often should you take the car to the shop? Just stick to the maintenance schedule in the manual. Each vehicle is different, and their needs can vary. For instance, some make and model suggest oil change when you reach a certain mileage, while others recommend the use of specific oils.

If you do happen to need expensive car repairs, we offer a variety of installment loans that can be used to cover the bill and make them more affordable.

fix dents, dings, and damage to your car

6. Fix Those Dents & Dings

Your car is going to get dents, dings, and scratches. It’s unavoidable. Fortunately, most of these minor issues are easy and cheap to fix. You can hide those scratches with so paint and even polish those scuffs. Also, most dents are easy to correct through expert dent removal companies or by picking up a dent removal tool for a quick DIY fix.

keep notes on car maintenance

7. Take Detailed Notes And Keep Your Paperwork

Take note of every repair and maintenance work performed on your car since the first day you acquired it. You want to keep all service record, warranty, finance contract, manuals, and stickers. You need to show documentation for every little thing that you did for your car from oil changes to dent repairs to all the big stuff.

Keep all your paperwork in order so you can have something to show to the prospective buyer. Your papers on car history and ownership should be handy during the sale. But most of all, keep all your maintenance records to avoid any awkward questions. The papers will simply speak for themselves. Those documents are the perfect demonstration that you care for your car.

Not only that, they’ll be a major bargaining tool if your buyer tries to haggle you on the price for some bogus reason.

take care of your tires

8. Inspect, Clean and Replace Tires

Of all the car’s components, the wheels take the biggest beating. Over the years, the tires could sustain both cosmetic and functional issues that can bring down the car’s total selling value.

If you like to keep the car shiny, you should include the wheels in the game plan. Wheels that look dull and dirty are a reflection of you as a car owner. It’s easy for a potential buyer to assume that you’re probably not such a caring car owner and God knows what other issues this car has.

Keep your wheels shiny particularly before you put the car on the market. Remove dirt and grime and give them a good wipe of tire shine products. Regularly cleaning and polishing the wheels also keep them away from corrosion buildup and ugly stains.

drive safely buckle seat belt

9. Drive Safely

Your driving habits can significantly impact the condition of your vehicle. Speeding and aggressive driving will put a toll on your car’s engine and chassis, not to mention putting you at a higher risk of being in an accident.

Most buyers would also prefer cars that have never been involved in a collision, so the best thing that you can do is just to keep your cool and drive carefully. Also, vehicles that were never involved in accidents have better prices than those that were.

But if you’ve tried to drive safely as you can, other drivers on the road may not. If you ever get involved in a collision, you need to be mindful of how to carry out the bodywork. Make sure to turn to experts in having the car’s shape and performance restored and opt for Original Equipment Manufacturer or OEM parts for the replacements.

cars that retain their value toyota tundra-truck

10. Buy a Car That Retains its Value

A lot of how much you can sell your used car for depends on what type of car it is. Some cars can lose over 68% of their value in just 5 years! While most of these cars are luxury vehicles, there isn’t much you can do about that. Even following all of the tips we just mentioned will have little effect on what you’ll get out of it.

Take some extra time when you start looking for a new car to find one that retains its value. It may not be exactly what you want, but you’ll be able to recoup more of its original value compared to other vehicles.


Your car is more than just an asset because it gets you from A to B, but since it depreciates over time, you need to plan ahead. Think about it from your potential buyer’s perspective. You’d want to buy a used car that looks like new and has been well-cared for. You don’t want to deal with dents, dings, scratches, and mechanical issues. You just want a car that’s safe, looks good, and drives well.

You may have to expend effort for the vehicle’s cleaning, repair, and maintenance, but these are all investments in keeping your car with the highest possible value. You may not be able to redeem the original amount you spent for your vehicle when you bought it, but you can get more if you cared for the car and you have the proof to show for it.