Top ways to a get a great resale value on your car

Time to sell your faithful vehicle!

Looking for tricks to get top prices on your pre-loved auto? We’ve unearthed some great ways to get the best bang for your bakkie (or sedan) – and you’ll find them all right here.

Before we begin, it’s vital to understand the different price categories:

Retail Value: This refers to the value of the car when it’s brand-spanking-new with 0km on the clock and filled with the fresh smell of new leather. Fun fact: If you insure your car at its retail value, you’ll receive the closest replacement in make and model if anything ever happens to your car!

Book Price: These prices are set by a literal book – kind of. The Transunion Auto Dealers’ Guide is a guide used by buyers, sellers, financers, and insurers to arrive at a price estimation on vehicles. It indicates the average amount a dealer would be willing to buy your used car for.

Market Price: Market price is a variable open to interpretation, and will depend on your car’s mileage, wear and tear, and demand for the vehicle (among other factors). This is where you’ll negotiate with a potential buyer to try get a highest price for your car. This amount will usually end up somewhere between the retail value and book price.

It goes without saying that it’s almost impossible to sell a used car at retail value – unless you’re a skilled car reseller who trades in classic or rare cars, your car will begin to depreciate the second you drive it out of the dealership.

Here’s how to limit that loss.

Keep mileage low

This applies throughout the time you drive your current car, because all those kilometres add up. Mileage is the number one deciding factor when buying used cars, so skipping the trip to the shops that you can walk to, or car-pooling to work and back, helps maintain a good resale value. On average, an ordinary road user clocks 20 000km per annum. “If you own a five-year-old car with less than 100 000 km on the clock you will probably be able to ask for more than book retail price, depending on the condition, “ Nunben Dixon, Business Consultant at Gumtree Automotive, tells Business Live.

Keep an eye on the market

Your car may be enjoying its time in the sun, with everybody wanting one like yours – or it may have been shelved as the must-have of the pre-loved options out there.  But some cars are always in fashion. Brand reputation and buyer preference affect resale value the most, reports Business Day, giving the example of Toyotas and Volkswagens, which are “extremely popular in the second-hand market because they offer value for money and have a reputation as being reliable.” Whether you’re selling a solid favourite or a trending model, timing is key to your resale.

It’s important for you to try put your car on the market when your vehicle make, model (and even colour) are in favour – and it helps to do so when there aren’t many of the same out there for sale as well. If you aren’t sure where how to assess whether it’s the right time, Business Tech advises checking out listings of pre-owned vehicles to help you gauge car popularity.

Keep it in perfect condition (or as close as you can)

You’re competing with other sellers for the same model and make, so if yours looks and performs better than the others, you’re more likely to get price you want. Here are some tips for keeping your car in tip-top shape:

  • Fix scratches/dents promptly so that they don’t develop rust or ruin your paint job
  • Have all repairs carried out by a reputable mechanic
  • Cover car seats if they’re going to hold goods or people regularly
  • Regularly check (and change!) your oil and water
  • Ensure oil filters, air filters, and brakes are renewed

Keep relatively in mind

Business Tech points out that the resale factors are relative to each other and to the interested party: Hot red might look eye-catching on a sports car but sad on a sedan, while white seats are perfect for a man-about-town but not so great for a mom-of-three.

That said, it doesn’t mean you can’t sell your second-hand, souped-up, hand-painted-daisy-covered Golf GTI, but it may take a little longer to find the perfect person to take it over. Whether it’s a buyers’ market or a sellers’ one, you’re now armed with more ways to get a better price when you sell your car.