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how to maximize your used car price

Selling a car can be a frustrating experience since with tools like Kelly Blue Book value publicly accessible you already know about what you're going to get. However, within those range numbers provided there is still room for you to negotiate. That's what we're going to look at today and help you achieve the top of those suggested prices.

Unfortunately, if you are a car owner, it is likely that you already know that the value of your car will depreciate quickly. It may even be worth calculating how much your car has depreciated if you are currently thinking about selling.

 Generally, during the first year of your car's life, its value will decline by 15-35%. After only three years, your vehicle will usually be worth around 40 to 65% of its original value. Since 2021 due to new car shortages, vehicles have been holding their value better. Now is a better time than ever to put some time into maintaining your car and try to up its resale value. 

Whether you're driving a sports car or a family SUV, it is worth considering what you can do to maintain your car's resale value and slow down the depreciation rate. Although the rate at which the value of your car will depreciate is dependent on a number of factors, such as the make and model, there are still plenty of things you can do to maximize your car's resale value. 

Maintaining Service Records

One of the simplest things you can do to maintain your car's value is to keep accurate service records. When potential buyers are considering purchasing a used car, they want to know that the vehicle has been well-maintained and that any necessary repairs have been made. 

Service records can be recorded electronically but are most commonly found on paper. A well-maintained service record will include everything, including receipts of tire changes, MOTs, and any damages repaired from crashes or replaced parts. When continuing or starting a new service record, document any repairs or adjustments made on the car and the time and place they were made. 

Maintaining a service record will make your car more attractive to any potential buyer. They are also great when you make insurance or warranty claims.

Protecting Your Paintjob

Not only does the condition of the color of your car matter, but it is also worth considering that in certain models, some colors are more desirable than others. In either case, a paint job is often a major part of a car's value.

Maintaining a paint job is time-consuming but relatively simple. You can do many things to preserve your car’s paint job. They include but are not limited to:

  • Limit exposure to the sun: Try to park your car in a shaded spot wherever possible. Consistent exposure to the sun will quickly fade a paint job.
  • Wash your car regularly and thoroughly: Clean your car regularly and only use products formulated for use on cars to avoid damaging your car’s color.
  • Polish your car with wax: Applying wax to your car’s exterior will give your vehicle a nice shine while protecting the paint from the elements.
  • Invest in a good quality car cover: If you can’t find a parking spot away from the sun, you could invest in a car cover. Just make sure to invest in a high-quality cover that will not scratch or damage your paint job. 

Professional Detailing 

Auto Detailing is another great way to maintain your car's resale value. A professional detailer can deep-clean your car's interior, removing any dirt, grime, and stains that might otherwise reduce the value. They can also address any cosmetic issues, such as scratches or dings, that can detract from your car's appearance. 

The best auto detailers are also interested in increasing a car's cosmetic longevity. Applying things like clear bras, paint protection films and ceramic coating to your car will ensure your car looks better for longer. Professional detailers also have a trained eye for identifying and addressing issues that may go unnoticed by others, such as minor scratches, dents, and other imperfections that could impact your car's resale value. Finally, of course, the better your car looks, the more likely you will find a buyer if you ever come to sell. 

Regular Inspections

Regular inspections are another key component in preserving your car's value. By having your vehicle inspected regularly, you can catch minor issues before they become significant problems. It is crucial to check parts that are susceptible to wear and tear through use. Examples of these include:

  • Brake Pads
  • Tires
  • Batteries
  • Engine mounts

When taking your garage for regular inspections, use a reputable garage. Although a good mechanic can sometimes be expensive, spending the extra money will always be worthwhile.

Upgrades and Modifications

If you're considering making upgrades or modifications to your car, it's important to make smart choices that will help boost your resale value. Upgrades that improve your car's performance are a good idea, including upgrades that will increase horsepower. Safety upgrades such as new tires or reversing cameras will also increase the value of a car. 

If you want to make any performance upgrades, ensure they conform to government guidelines. Fitting your car with any illegal aftermarket parts will render the vehicle unsellable. Removing the parts and returning the car to its original condition is often expensive also. 

However, it's important to be cautious when making cosmetic upgrades, as not all promotions will appeal to potential buyers. Before making any modifications to your car, do some research to determine whether they're likely to add value or detract from your car's resale price. In most cases, buyers look for cars as close to their original condition as possible, particularly in the case of classic and vintage cars. If your car has, for example, aftermarket floor mats, it may be worth replacing them with the ones which came with the car. Sometimes the little details make all the difference.

Final Thoughts

Maintaining your car's resale will require a combination of regular maintenance, professional detailing, and smart upgrades. Though the value of your car will almost certainly depreciate if you do not maintain the vehicle properly, its value will only plummet faster. 


In addition to preserving your car's resale value, these tips can also help you enjoy your car more while you own it. A well-maintained car looks and feels better to drive, making it a more enjoyable experience every time you get behind the wheel.

Written by:
#MenWhoBlog MemberBlogging GuruThought Leader

James' passion for exploration and sense of duty to his community extends beyond himself. This means he is dedicated to providing a positive role model for other men and especially younger guys that need support so that they can thrive and be future positive contributors to society. This includes sharing wisdom, ideas, tips, and advice on subjects that all men should be familiar with, including: family travel, men's health, relationships, DIY advice for home and yard, car care, food, drinks, and technology. Additionally, he's a travel advisor and a leading men's travel influencer who has been featured in media ranging from New York Times to the Chicago Tribune, and LA Times. He's also been cited by LA Weekly "Top Travel Bloggers To Watch 2023" and featured by Muck Rack: "Top 10 Outdoor Journalists for 2022".

He and his wife Heather live in St Joseph, Michigan - across the lake from Chicago.