• top tips

How can I boost my car's resale value?

avatar image

Updated 11 Oct 2019

Michael Jacobson

Article Image

When selling a car, there are some simple ways to help optimise its price potential.

After all, a car’s resale value is not just a matter of what the buyer is prepared to pay; it's also influenced by the amount of effort you’re prepared to put in to seal the best deal.

At AutoGuru, we’ve come up with a Top 5 list of points and processes to enhance your chances of a more satisfying resale result.

Car condition

Look after your car from the day you buy it, and it should look after you on the day you sell it.

Vehicle condition is a no-brainer for resale value, and that means everything from the aesthetic to the mechanical.

Aesthetically, a car without dents, dings, prominent scratches, rust and other signs of damage will always appeal to a prospective buyer much more than one where clearly no remedial effort has been expended.

Also, remove any stickers you may have added – especially those of a more questionable nature – and give the car a good wash, polish and interior clean-up.

Remember, the car you're selling may not be new, but it should look as good as new or as close to it as possible.

Mechanically, a car that has been driven sensibly, serviced regularly and had any maintenance issues addressed along the way – including as a precedent to being advertised for sale – is a far more appealing prospect than a grotty, grubby old tank that can't get out of first gear on the test drive.

Fewer miles, more smiles

That pesky odometer doesn't lie and is a major factor affecting the resale value of any vehicle.

The more clicks you've clocked, the more that plays on the mind of a potential buyer, no matter how scrupulously you've maintained the vehicle over time.

There are ways to alleviate this distance dilemma.

If you drive a lot, especially over long distances, it might be wiser to sell the car earlier than someone who sticks to the suburbs, the school runs and Saturday sport.

The write stuff

Car ownership comes with lots of written documentation, all of which can be a hassle to keep in order, but which is also an asset when an interested buyer comes a-calling.

Where applicable, make sure to have up to date registration, insurance, warranty, finance and ownership documents close to hand.

Most importantly, your car's service and repair records are key to resale value, because they show whether the car has been properly cared for and thus represents a good buy.

Tired tyres and wonky wheels

Scan our AutoGuru articles and you'll find plenty that discuss the importance of wheels and tyres when it comes to vehicle performance and driver and passenger safety.

The condition of the tyres and wheels is an immediately visible and tangible clue to the overall state of a car.

If you need to replace the tyres, do so, knowing that the financial outlay may be recovered or even surpassed in the ensuing sale.

If the tyres are OK, it still doesn't take much effort to spruce them up for greater aesthetic appeal.

The same goes for the wheels – replace if necessary; clean and polish regardless.

The name of the game

Car buyers want reassurance, so it's no surprise that the more reputed brands carry a stronger resale value.

If people know that the car you're selling is from a manufacturer that has a good reputation for mechanical reliability, on-road performance, safety, fuel economy and parts availability, then there's every chance you'll secure a sale price that reflects reassurance and leaves you more than happy.

In closing, there's a famous Latin term – caveat emptor – which translates to "buyer beware".

There's another term just as fitting in the resale game – para venditor – which means "seller prepare".

That's good advice, and you'll find plenty more at AutoGuru as we help you on all aspects of motoring, including access to 1600+ qualified workshops or fully certified mobile mechanics.

The following articles might also be useful if you're thinking about selling your car.

Why is my car's paintwork getting patchy

Tyre inspection and replacement

What's the difference between a safety inspection and a pre-purchase inspection

avatar image

Written By

Michael Jacobson

Michael Jacobson is an award-winning Queensland-based writer.

His appreciation for motoring began as a young journalist covering racing from Simmons Plains in Tasmania.

Over the years he has interviewed many Australian and international motoring greats.

He has also been driven around Lakeside Raceway at ferocious speed, circumnavigated the Gold Coast Indy circuit at more than 200kmh and managed to squeeze 365,000 kilometres out of a Toyota Starlet.