How to add value to your car in seven easy steps - SUV VEHICLE

How to add value to your car in seven easy steps

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If you’re thinking of selling or trading in your car, here are some tips from dealers on increasing your vehicle’s resale value.

The best way to safeguard your vehicle’s worth on the used-car market is to have resale value in mind when you buy it.

“Maximising value as a seller starts with buying the right car in the first place,” a Tony White Group spokesperson told Drive.

RELATED: Australia’s best-selling used cars in 2023

Dealerships usually assess a vehicle on a range of different factors which include, but are not limited to, the make and model, odometer reading, general condition, car specifications, and maintenance history.

To lend a helping hand in navigating the complexity of used car pricing, Drive spoke to a few dealership networks and motoring organisations to find out the other ways you can add value to your car.

1. Be boring

While it might be tempting to purchase a new car in a fun colour, or with funky interior finishes, proceed with caution because this might decrease your car’s resale value in the future.

“Most used car buyers don’t want weird and wonderful factory options like red leather seats, or unique car models – fewer buyers want these things and so these cars are harder to sell,” a spokesperson for Tony White Group told Drive.

Mitch Thompson, a product manager at AutoGrab – an Australian automotive intelligence firm – previously told Drive, “Basic colours such as silver, white and black tend to have faster days to sell, fewer price drops and a higher final sale”.

“Individual colours such as bright yellows, greens and reds that statistically have longer average days to sell, more price drops and lower the price,” he added.

2. Be aware of the climate (literally)

A dealer’s used-car inventory is generally dictated by the region where the cars are sold – and the associated demographics.

“Dealers try and tailor [their stock] to their locations and regions to suit their customer preference,” a spokesperson for the Australian Automotive Dealer Association (AADA) told Drive.

“For example, dark colours with dark interiors tend to be less popular in the warmer parts of northern Australia, so dealers in these areas will tend to favour cars that don’t get as hot in the sun,” they added.

MORE: The most (and least) trusted car brands in Australia for 2023

3. Drive a Toyota, an SUV or a ute

According to data from Autograb, Australia’s continued love affair with utes extends to used cars – with the Ford Ranger and Toyota HiLux rating as the first and second most popular second-hand models sold in February 2024.

The Autograb figures (gathered from both dealers and private sales) indicated a Ford Ranger and its rival the Toyota HiLux sell around the same time, at around 44 days.

A spokesperson for Tony White Group told Drive, “Dealers are very mindful of their stock mix – they want to hold cars that are easy to sell and don’t cause problems for them. They like stock cars that are highly sought after by a large number of people but may have stock limitations”.

Popular passenger variants like the Toyota Corolla and Toyota Camry are regularly among the most frequently sold second-hand cars each month.

These models from the Japanese auto giant are also among the quickest cars to be sold in the used car market at approximately 30 to 35 days.

SUVs such as the Toyota RAV4 and Mazda CX-5 are also quick to sell, generally snapped up within 35 to 41 days.

Autograb’s monthly data highlighted passenger and SUV variants are still the most desired among second-hand car buyers by volume.

4. Sell your car within four years of buying it

Unsurprisingly, Autograb data shows resale value declines steeply for models over the five-year mark.

For example, a Toyota Yaris – one of Australia’s most popular hatchbacks – retains 107.4 per cent of its value on average when between two and four years old, meaning it’s often worth more used than it cost to purchase new. However, this value retention falls to 91.5 per cent for the same vehicle when it’s aged between five to seven years old.

From an SUV perspective, a two- to four-year-old Toyota LandCruiser retains 106.5 per cent of its value, but this falls to 92.4 per cent for a five- to seven-year-old LandCruiser.

Of course, selling your car while it’s still under warranty is always a good call.

“Warranty is certainly of value to dealers, as it is for car buyers, and as many of the cars sold by dealers also include [a] statutory warranty,” an AADA spokesperson told Drive.

“Trading [your vehicle] while it still has some factory warranty is a good idea, and it’s a bit easier these days with some makes and models offering very long warranties out to seven years,” they added.

RELATED: Odometer tampering is on the rise – here’s how to check for it

5. Don’t go over the 100,000km mark

“Most dealers don’t want cars that are more than five years old, or with more than 100,000km on the odometer,” a Tony White Group spokesperson said to Drive.

“Less than 100,000km is certainly important for some buyers, especially in city areas, but in the country where people tend to do more miles, this figure could be higher,” an AADA spokesperson said.

According to dealership Perth City Subaru, “Once you go over the 100,000 mark your asking price will be pushed down considerably”.

6. Forget a bullbar… add Apple CarPlay or Android Auto instead

“Lots of sellers think their aftermarket wheels or bullbar or lift kits add to the value – it doesn’t usually. These can sometimes make the car harder to sell, as fewer people are looking for that specific look or the buyer wants to customise exactly to their [seller] tastes,” a Tony White Group spokesperson told Drive.

However, some modifications could increase the resale value of a used vehicle.

“One large attraction in the used car market is an aftermarket head unit that can use Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as this modification brings your vehicle in line with modern amenities,” Mr Thompson told Drive.

7. Patch every scratch

“Dealers don’t want damaged or worn cars on their yards, so the more the dealer has to spend to get the car up to scratch, the less they will offer the seller,” a Tony White Group spokesperson advised.

“It can pay to check with a dealer before getting a scrape or scratch fixed – the dealer can probably get it fixed cheaper than most sellers can.”

Similarly, an AADA spokesperson told Drive, “Regular servicing and maintaining all service records is a good start for boosting the value of your second-hand vehicle”.

Additionally, keeping hold of the vehicle’s original documents and service logbooks from a manufacturer-certified service centre or mechanic can prevent its resale price from depreciating.

“Small details all help, such as holding onto all keys that the vehicle was delivered with, making sure all services have taken place at the manufacturer’s service centres, holding onto all documentation, and longevity maintenance such as paint-protection films,” Mr Thompson told Drive.

The post How to add value to your car in seven easy steps appeared first on Drive.

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