There comes a time in every driver’s life when he or she must upgrade to a new ride. Sadly, that means saying goodbye to a car that could have seen you through some major life events. If you can’t sell or trade your car for what you expect, the process of getting a new ride can be extra stressful.
Luckily, if you take good care of your car throughout its life with you, you can expect to see a decent return on investment when it’s time to part ways.
Factors that determine your car’s resale value
According to Allison Martin of CBS, three of the most important determining factors of a car’s resale value are year, make and model. Newer vehicles and certain models are in higher demand, which translates to a higher value.
Vijaianand Thirnageswaram of Investopedia notes that mileage also contributes to a car’s trade-in value. While you may not be able to control how much you have to travel in your car, you’ll see a stronger return on investment if you can limit its mileage.
Keep up with proper maintenance
Keeping your car properly maintained can also impact its resale value, explains Kirsten Rincon of the Department of Motor Vehicles. Thirnageswaram writes that bringing your car in for its routine service is essential to increasing its value. Something as simple as an oil change every 3,000 to 5,000 miles will make the car more appealing to dealerships and future buyers.
To prove that you’ve kept up-to-date with your vehicle’s routine maintenance, Peter Valdes-Dapena of CNN suggest keeping a copy of all maintenance records. The more the dealership knows about your vehicle, the more confident it will be while acquiring the vehicle from you.
Fix any dents or scratches
Take care of any cosmetic alterations prior to trading in your car. According to Kelley Blue Book, this includes any dents and dings your vehicle has suffered over the years.
Thirnageswaram recommends getting these minor blemishes be taken care of as soon as possible, before they have a chance to worsen.
If the repairs in question go beyond simple scratches and dents, Valdes-Dapena advises bringing your vehicle to a professional repair shop or dealership. While said repairs will cost a pretty penny at first, they can help increase your car’s resale value down the road.
Negotiate at multiple dealerships
When it comes to trading in a vehicle, many drivers settle for the first offer they get. Margarette Burnette of Bankrate warns that this is a mistake. The vehicle is yours to trade in, so if you feel the dealership is not offering enough money, consider negotiating at another dealership instead.
Martin notes that you shouldn’t negotiate the selling price of your old car until after you negotiated a purchase price for your new vehicle. Aim to get a new vehicle offer that is separate from your trade-in negotiations, or the dealership might make up for your trade-in amount by raising the purchase price.
You’ll never recoup all the money you initially paid for a vehicle, but these tips could help you get a better return on investment.