How to Get the Highest Resale Value for Your Car

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When it’s time to turn in the old reliable runner you’ve driven for years in exchange for a nice, shiny new car, you’re going to want to get the best possible return on your investment. However, this return can’t be done retroactively. You really need to start thinking about the eventual resale value of your car before you buy it.

Buy a well-known make

First off, you need a car with recognizable marketability. If you’re looking at two similar vehicles from two different manufacturers and one is cheaper than the other, it might be a good idea to compare the resale values of the two makes. If you save something now, you might lose it all plus some more when it comes time to dispose of the car.

Don't wait too long to sell

Just about everyone knows that mileage is an important differentiator in the market, so try not to keep a vehicle too long unless you plan to run it into the ground. There are a few exceptions to this rule. Check out Toyotas and Hondas in the used car ads. They still command respectable prices even when flaunting large odometer numbers. This is perhaps less true of their upscale brethren in the Acura and Lexus camps (though they aren’t bad either), because luxury vehicles are more expensive to repair.

Check under the hood

Then there’s mechanical condition. A car that’s been serviced regularly and can demonstrate that it’s technically sound when test driven will be given priority over some rattly old wreck. In the same vein, a comprehensive record of maintenance and repair work is a great way to prove the careful and regular attention the car has enjoyed while in your possession.

Keep it clean

Never underestimate the effect of appearance. The first thing used-car lots do is spruce up the vehicle. They steam clean the engine bay, shampoo the carpets, wash and polish the paintwork, clean the seats and controls, and deodorize the interior. Nobody wants to buy a dirty, beaten up old hack, so try to keep the car’s appearance clean and shiny from the start. It’s easier than the remedial stuff you’ll need to do if it’s ratty looking at the end.

The interior is critical. Scuffed and dirty upholstery, stained carpets, sticky controls—these are a big turn off. A well maintained vehicle speaks for itself, and it helps suggest that the owner was a mature and responsible vehicle operator. The kind of person you would like to do business with.

Don't over-personalize it

There are other considerations for resale in the public marketplace. Pick a popular color. A purple car doesn’t appeal to many people. Avoid lurid aftermarket add-ons like louvers and sills and spoilers. Even aftermarket wheels can be a turnoff to someone for whom they suggest a boyracer former owner; a hooligan who liked to tear up the roads.

Finally, try to balance the deal you’re looking for. A sale to a private party is likely to net more money than you’ll get as a trade in. But the dealer may be keen to get the sale, and might throw in some options that make the deal comparable. You never know.

Bottom line: Look after your car and it will look after you (and your money).


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Arturo

25 years of experience
42 reviews
Arturo
25 years of experience
Volkswagen Tiguan - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - La Jolla, California
Arturo was efficient and extremely professional. I'll refer him to friends and family and call him for any issues related to my car. I am very happy with the service!
Kia Forte - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - San Diego, California
ARTURO is great! very professional , fast, replaced my front brake pads and oil an filter change. everything now works and works well. Brakes have much improved stopping power and engine is smooth and quiet.Arturo is also kind and thoughtful. "Your mechanic" is very fortunate to have Arturo Lopez represent your company. I enthusiastically recommend him and "Your mechanic> as a fine operation Best regards to the Team Peter Marto

Travis

11 years of experience
312 reviews
Travis
11 years of experience
Ford Explorer Sport Trac - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Minneapolis, Minnesota
Travis is great! This is the second time he has come and serviced our truck. I recommend Travis for any service ned you may have!
Subaru Forester - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Rosemount, Minnesota
Thank you Travis for your fast, easy, honest work on my vehicle today!! The first thing you did upon arrival to my home was find me a discount coupon for $50 off my service estimate. You did only what needed to be done in record time. You not only saved me lots of money, but did things in a profession manner. I've been looking for an honest auto mechanic for my whole life and would love for you to be it!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!! You're the best!!!

Scott

32 years of experience
346 reviews
Scott
32 years of experience
Hyundai Sonata - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Denver, Colorado
Arrived on time and worked quickly. Gave me detailed information on his completed work and the details of my car. Answered all of my questions thoroughly.
Lexus IS250 - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Denver, Colorado
Always on time, speedy, professional, and pleasant to interact with. The work is always consistent and we'll done. I can't reccomend Scott highly enough!

Nicholas

9 years of experience
251 reviews
Nicholas
9 years of experience
Lexus GX470 - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Clayton, North Carolina
Nicholas texted me 30 minutes prior to arrival. Showed up on time as scheduled. He confirmed the work that I requested be performed. He completed the work, performed the road tested, and delivered my keys along with recommendations of other work that might be in my best interest. Was very pleasant, professional, and cleaned up after he was done. I was so impressed with the service he performed and the speed at which the services were completed. I have already scheduled a future service with Nicholas and will schedule any and all future repairs with him if he is available.

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