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Tips to Help Maximize Your Ride’s Resale Value

Today’s smart shopper knows that a good deal on a vehicle extends far beyond getting free floor mats and cruise control. For more shoppers than ever, a good deal on a new ride extends far into the long term -- and more often than not, today’s shoppers are seeking out a new ride that offers top-notch resale value.

A few tips can help maximize your investment and maintain your ride’s resale value for the long haul, ensuring your ride is worth more of your hard-earned money when it’s time to trade it in.

Here’s a look at a few tips to ensure your ride holds on to as much of its value as possible for as long as possible.

Pick the Right Ride: Some vehicles have better resale value than others, and there are many reasons why. Our first tip is fairly obvious: If you want a ride that holds onto its resale value well, pick a ride known to hold onto said value. Numerous websites, publications, and industry authorities evaluate and predict resale values, announcing yearly winners and the best brands when it comes to retained value today via articles, awards and lists. Search some of these online, look into how the vehicles listed are rated, and where feasible, shop out a ride that’s predicted to hold onto its resale value well from an authority you trust.

Protection: A little protection when your ride is new can do big things for its overall condition down the line. While your ride is brand new, consider protecting its exterior and underside with corrosion-fighting treatments, paint and finish treatments, and accessories designed to fend off the damaging effects of sand, salt and road debris. Clear protective films can be applied to vulnerable areas, like your vehicles front hood edge to protect from chipping, and your dealer or local detail shop can wax, polish and seal your ride’s paint job against environmental contaminants while it’s still brand new.

Splash-flaps, deflectors, and door scuff plates all help to keep wear to a minimum in vulnerable areas. Whether from your dealer or otherwise, protective accessories and treatments that keep your ride in tip-top shape can more than pay for themselves when it comes time to sell.

Add all-weather rubber mats to fully protect your ride’s carpeting from salt and sand, and consider a set of seat covers for added protection. Door sill plates, cargo area mats and numerous other accessories are available to help keep your ride’s interior looking tip-top. A well cared for ride will tend to look that way to a shopper -- so in much the same way you can protect your ride’s body and underside, consider protecting its interior, too.

Keep Everything: Get a folder or envelope to store every receipt, work-order and bill for maintenance and repairs on your ride, in and out of warranty. Create a filing system, commit to it, and keep your documentation for all fluid changes, warranty and recall work, tire changes, brake jobs, tune-ups, and more. Offering a shopper your full service records shows a commitment to keeping your ride in good shape, and many shoppers today are keen to find a used vehicle with full servicing history available. Having service records for all work performed, no matter how minor, can make it easier to sell your ride for what it’s worth.
 
Keep it Original: Resist the urge to modify your ride, if you’re so inclined. To maximize your ride’s resale value, forget installing a giant custom stereo system, custom engine or suspension parts, custom body add-ons and the like. These may suit your tastes, but can make it harder to sell your ride at a good price when the time comes. Some alterations, like wheels, can be removed before you sell your ride, putting it back to stock. Further, note that modifying your ride’s wiring, lighting system or stereo can be a strike against you when it comes time to sell.  Ditto for a modified exhaust system, which may make it harder or even impossible for the vehicle to pass emissions testing.

Fix that Problem: Has your ride got a clunk? Is it idling poorly? Is there a check-engine light on? Before putting it up for sale, make a quick visit to your mechanic to identify or fix any issues. You’re best to sell your ride in 100% tip-top working condition for maximum resale value or (at the very least) with an explanation for that unwanted sound or check-engine light for the seller.