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.

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 neglect 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.

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 13,500. If you drive significantly more than this, your car will worth less than the average market price.

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 and keep 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 work and the right cleaning products, your car should come out presentable after a few hours of cleaning sessions.

4. Pick a Sheltered Parking

When your car is out, it is exposed to the elements. Extreme weather conditions can wear out the paint, making the vehicle color look faded. Hot weather conditions can fade out the color of your vehicle, while cold weather can cause disruptions to the engine.

Park the car in the garage or covered carport to protect it from the harsh elements. You might consider parking it in the shade, but that won’t be such a good idea though. Bird droppings are acidic and can cause damage to the car paint. Also, you run the risk of a branch falling & damaging your car.

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.

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.

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, manual 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 easily reachable 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.

8. Inspect, Clean and Replace Tires

Of all the car’s components, the wheels take on the most beating. Over the years, the wheels 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.

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 put you one step forward towards a potential road 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 did.

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.


Your car is an asset because it gets you from A to B, but because it depreciates over time, you need to plan ahead. If you put yourself in the shoes of a car buyer, you would want to buy a used car that looks new and well-cared for. You don’t want to deal with every little issue like those dents and scratches and simply drive off a car that looks good and works well.

With this perspective, you should try to meet what the buyer needs from a used car to get the best asking price. 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 keep the price reasonably higher if you cared for the car and you have the proof to show for it.