In most cases, selling your car is a natural part of its life cycle. But whether you’re doing it for the first or fifth time, there’s still a lot to learn in the process. Finding the best deal in itself is a big part of maximizing the car’s value. But it’s not the only thing you can do. In fact, there are many ways you can increase the value of your car even before you seek out a buyer.
A Lesson in Depreciation
According to Finder, driving a new car off the lot automatically takes off 10 percent of its value. Another 10 percent is shaved off after its first year. From then on, decreases of 15 to 25 percent happen every year. By the time your car reaches its fifth year, more than half of its initial value has depreciated.
Before You Buy
- New vs. Old. If you’re reading this before buying a car, note that depreciation affects new cars worse than used ones. This is because the worst part of depreciation happens in the first few years of a car’s life. After that, the rate of depreciation often decreases. You can even save up to 30 percent of the price for a car, if you look for one that’s at least one year old. It’s virtually the same car but with some miles behind it. If you choose a used car, it can also have a higher resale value down the road.
- Make and Model. The resale value of a car also depends on its make and model. Some designs have a higher price tag when used because of their higher general reliability and dependability. There’s also the issue of parts’ availability and popularity. If you eventually plan to resell a car you’re about to buy, do your research before making a decision.
- Features. The trim of the car also affects its value. Investing in these features when you buy can help sustain a higher value in the future.
Preparing for a Sale
- Deep Cleaning. Thoroughly cleaning your car can add an extra $300 to $500 to its value, according to CNN. Forget your regular car wash; go for special treatment. A new paint job may not be necessary after you’ve added a coat of wax. Pay special attention to the headlights and taillights. Bright, clear lights are among the first things people perceive as representative of the car’s state. Don’t forget to clean the wheels, too. The interior of the car is especially important. Replace the mats if you have to. Make sure that the car looks and smells clean as well.
- Easy Fixes. A busted taillight is easily fixable—just buy a new one. It’s cheap, but it will go a long way in adding value to your car. Other easy fixes may require you to seek professionals, such as repairing hail damage to your car. The Internet is your friend here. If the job looks a little too complicated for you or your toolbox, have the pros fix them.
- Fluid Levels. Ideally, your oil, brake fluid, and coolant are still in peak condition (this is usually the case for newer and well-maintained cars), but if they’re not, you should replace them. It’s among the first things people check under the hood.
Doing these simple things is guaranteed to bring up the value of your car before you sell them.