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Home > Sell my car > Factors which can reduce the sale value of your car

There are many things a car owner can do that will affect a car's resale value. Sadly, most people tend to do things that reduce, rather than increase, its value.

Expensive modifications, paint jobs and stereo systems will often have a negative rather than positive effect. So will failing to properly maintain your car. If you're hoping to get the most out of your car second-hand, the key is to do nothing other than regular, basic maintenance.

Changing the tyres regularly is a little thing that will save you money as you drive, and when you come to sell. Changing tyres regularly means probably using less petrol because the friction on the road surface is drastically reduced. Moreover, when you come to sell your vehicle you'll likely find that there's been less wear and tear on your brakes and your gearbox.

Other things, likely to reduce your car's sale value are listed below. All of these are avoidable at some point in your car's lifespan
- and some of them can be addressed before selling


Modern cars can rack up well over 100,000 without any particularly worrisome levels of wear and tear and yet when most people are buying a used car, mileage is usually at the forefront of their thoughts.

The rule of thumb with mileage is that a car should travel around 10,000 miles for every year since its manufacture. If it's done much more than this then you can expect hundreds of pounds to be knocked off the price. In theory, this is because the high mileage implies extra wear and tear, although in practice it's more about the worries that the buyer starts to have.


There are a few modifications you can make that will increase your car's resale value but, by and large, people do not want to purchase cars that have been modified. When people are shopping for a second-hand car they're generally looking for something that looks as close to a brand new car as possible but without the cost. As such, all but the most inoffensive modifications are likely to put you out-of-pocket when you come to sell.

In particular, anything that your buyer might feel is likely to make them look like a boy racer is going to decrease the value of your car. Alloy wheels and spoilers, for instance. If you want to preserve your car's value these things should be avoided.

Other modifications that can either reduce the value include expensive re-spray paint jobs in unusual colours. No matter how much the paint costs, the value of the car is unlikely to go up. The most popular colours for used cars are the standard black, blue and red. Anything too adventurous is likely to reduce your car's value when you come to sell.

Similarly, custom stereo systems often cause a car to lose money when selling as most people only want a very basic set up. So, if you're thinking of buying an expensive car stereo, remember you won't necessarily get any of the money back when selling your car.


It may surprise you to hear that one of the most important factors determining a car's second-hand value is whether or not it is Japanese-made. Part of the reason for this is that, in the past, Japanese cars were known for having been built with superior quality parts that lasted much longer, making cars worth more second-hand. Although this situation is now beginning to change, Japanese cars nevertheless continue to have an established reputation for running well for longer than their American counterparts and this has a direct effect on their value as used vehicles.

Furthermore, many companies (i.e. rental fleets) buy large numbers of cars brand new, only to release them to the second-hand market within a few years. These tend to buy American-made cars for various reasons, resulting in American vehicles having a lower second-hand value.

Certain German manufacturers such as Mercedes and BMW have a good reputation for maintaining their value, partly again because of a reputation for having used superior parts in the past.


Maintaining your car prevents the wear and tear that can become quite obvious by the time you come to want to sell it. Doing simple things such as regularly changing the oil, checking and replacing tyres and engine coolant can all contribute to making sure that your car has no obvious flaws when you come to sell it.

Even if your car has suffered years of neglect, there can still be a few things you can do to improve its value, some of which will more than pay for themselves. The most basic thing you can do is give your car a thorough clean, inside and out. Some estimates say that this alone can add up to ten percent to its value.

Repair any minor dents or scratches as a dealer or buyer is going to be judging your car's value mostly on the basis of a superficial inspection. Waxing your car and using a clay bar are all good ways of improving a vehicle's finish.


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