By: Gov Auctions | 10 September 2016

How to Increase the Resale Value of Your Car


A car is a major purchase, so it’s worth putting extra effort into maintaining your car’s value from the very first day of ownership. While cars start depreciating in value from day one, there are definitely things car owners can do to maximise returns when the time comes to sell their vehicle. These tips for maintaining and raising the value of your car will allow you to obtain the best possible price for your vehicle whether you’re planning to sell now or a few years in the future.


Retain and collect all paperwork relating to ownership or title, insurance, servicing, and any repairs and modifications from the very start. If you’ve lost documentation, ask for copies from the dealership or service centre.

Having paperwork guides you on your car’s exact specifications, which can be invaluable when you’re selling your car and researching market pricing for different features. Service records, on the other hand, demonstrate to buyers that your car has been maintained as recommended by the manufacturer and that it’s in good condition.


Keeping your vehicle clean can be as simple as a thorough wash once a week or fortnight. Regular cleaning and vacuuming allows you to check for any stains or spots and address them sooner rather than later.

Regularly check your car for any stains that could otherwise become permanent. Bird droppings can stain paintwork, and brake dust could damage the lacquer on alloy wheels so you might need to use specialist wipes from your local auto centre.

A handwash is the best type of wash for your car. Make sure to use a car-wash solution though, as dishwashing detergent causes the protective wax coatings on your vehicle to be stripped away, leaving it exposed it to possible nicks, scratches and stains. And for your tires, always use non-acid-based cleaners. Acid-based cleaners can cause bare alloy wheels to oxidise and pit which can damage wheels painted with colour or clear coatings.

For the interiors, make sure to remove the mats and give them a good shake first, then vacuum them, as well as the seats and the carpet. It’s best to use an attachment to reach the areas around the pedals and between the front seats and centre console. And don’t forget about the smell. It is best to completely avoid smoking within a car as the smell sticks to everything and can really hurt the resale value of your car. However, there are commercially available cleaners that can be used to get rid of any unwanted smells your car may have.


Missing just one recommended service can affect your car’s resale value. The service centre’s stamp in your vehicle maintenance log book tells buyers that your car has been maintained as recommended by the manufacturer and as close to original condition as possible. It’s highly important for the oil in your car to be changed regularly as oil left unchanged coagulates, starving your engine of lubrication which can cause it to seize or degenerate prematurely.

Stay aware of the recommended service program of your model and make, and you’ll enjoy your deserved resale value along with a smoother driving and ownership experience.


Basic checks such as water, oil, coolant, and tire pressure keeps your vehicle in good working order between servicing.

Topping up oil, for example, can help you avoid expensive mechanical failures or even permanent engine damage. The best time to check the engine oil level is when the car is warm. Turn the car off and wait a few minutes for the oil to settle, remove the dipstick and wipe it clean. Then push the dipstick all the way in, pause for a moment then withdraw it and check the level. If it needs more oil, this can be done by adding it through the oil filler cap opening. Make sure to use the right oils and coolants to use for your car also. Your vehicle’s manufacturer will have recommendations to guide you.

Don’t forget to check the exterior of your car either. An easy way to check the headlights and brakelights on your car is when you come home at night - park in the garage and close the door, turn on the lights and press the brake pedal, you should see the reflection of the light on the walls.


Wheel rims can become damaged if you hit the curb while parking or turning, and damaged rims can affect your resale value if you leave them unrepaired. Most minor paint scratches and scuffs can be polished out, but it’s best to just avoid them altogether if possible. You can save on repair costs and realise a better resale value simply with careful parking and turning.


Address aesthetic damage as soon as you become aware of it, since they can worsen if left unaddressed. A small chip in your windshields could be repairable with a repair kit, but bigger issues like dents will need professional attention. For serious paint damage, you might need to invest more money in a new coat of paint or professional detailing. Consider the colour of paint too - white, silver and black are the most mainstream colours and therefore the safest, but it could depend on the type of car you have. Whatever you need to do to address aesthetic issues, aim to have these resolved before the problem worsens.


You probably wouldn’t consider modifying your car in the hopes of obtaining a good resale value, since the impact of modifications can vary. However, if you do decide to modify or change your car in any way, consider the possible impact on the eventual resale value. For example, tinted windows and alloy wheels are considered commonplace and will probably boost your resale price rather than negatively impact it. So too can additional functional features like Bluetooth.

There are other modifications that boost performance or aesthetics, and these can further enhance the resale value. For example, upgrades such as wider wheels, transmission or gearing changes, and LPG conversion can all increase your resale value.

The type of modifications to avoid includes anything that would be considered too over the top by most people. For example, altering your car’s suspension so that it is lower to the ground might look good to you, but for most people it is an inconvenience. Bad DIY jobs on stereos and speakers is another thing to try and avoid.


Once you are ready to sell, there are a few extra things you can do to ensure the best possible sale price for your pre-loved vehicle.


Have a pre-sale inspection conducted and provide potential buyers with a copy of the report. This will give them extra confidence that your vehicle is in mint condition. It will also alert you if you should undertake any repairs before selling.

Professional detailing

A professional car detailing will make the exterior and interior of your car immaculately clean. It can include everything from paint care, which protects the paint surface, to cleaning and polishing the chassis, wheels, lights, and trim. The detailing could also include interior detailing, which conditions and cleans your carpets and seats.

Consider different sales options

There are many ways to sell a car – private sale, online, and auction, for example – but the best method is often one that keeps the process simple for you and helps you reach many potential buyers. Car auctions, for example, can give your sale price an extra boost because they tend to reach more enthusiastic buyers and because the bidding or auctioning process generates extra interest.

Is your car ready

Obtaining a great price for your pre-loved car doesn’t have to be a major challenge. Try and follow these steps from the moment you first buy your car, but if it’s too late for that, regardless of your car’s condition, you can still have professional detailing done on your vehicle and undertake minor aesthetic repairs to ensure your car is in the best possible condition when the time comes to sell.