Whether you’re selling your car privately or trading it in at a dealership, you’ll want to know how much it’s worth. Ask too much and you’ll never sell it. Ask too little and you’re leaving money on the table. Although you’ll always get more if you sell it privately vs. what a dealer will pay on a trade-in (retail vs. wholesale value), the following factors will generally affect the resale value.
Age & Mileage
Unless you’re selling a classic or collectible car, the older your car, the less it’s worth. Vehicles depreciate over time, so the older the vehicle, the lower its value. With age comes mileage, and one of the first things a buyer will ask is how many kilometres your car has on the odometer. The larger the odometer reading, the less the vehicle is worth.
If you have taken good care of your vehicle, you’ll be able to get more for it than if the vehicle looks worn out and unkept. For example, if the seats are dirty or torn, if the paint is dull, the finish is scratched, the windows are chipped, and/or the carpet is caked with salt stains or dirt, you can expect the vehicle to be less appealing, and therefore less valuable.
The same applies to the mechanical condition of the vehicle. Things like rust, scratched rims, and worn tires will bring down the value of your vehicle. You might also be asked to prove that you maintained your vehicle properly. Did you change the oil on time, and are all the preventive maintenance items the manufacturer recommends taken care of? If your vehicle was not well maintained, it will be worth less.
Finally, if your car has ever been in an accident, expect buyers to have reservations, which will drive down the value. Even if everything was fixed properly and the car looks brand new, buyers will still be cautious because they will have a lingering doubt about how the vehicle was repaired, and what kind of parts were used to put it back together after a collision.
Everyone wants the latest gadgets and gizmos. If your car lacks niceties like Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, it won’t appeal to today’s tech-savvy consumers, which will impact its overall value. Same goes for creature comforts, like heated seats or air conditioning. People like these features, and may not be willing to pay top dollar for a vehicle that doesn’t have them.
Supply & Demand
Some vehicles are more in demand than others, which makes them more valuable. If you’re trying to sell a popular make and model, and competing with many other sellers with that same vehicle, then that’s going to drive down the price because anyone looking to buy that vehicle will have many options. On the other hand, if you’re selling a vehicle that’s rare or that everyone wants, but no one is willing to sell, then that automatically drives up the price.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen vehicle values spike as the availability of both new and used vehicles plummeted, due to global supply chain issues. This is a perfect example of how supply and demand impacts vehicle values. The supply and demand situation is getting better now, but we’re not back to where we were before the pandemic.
Fuel Type & Fuel Prices
When global fuel prices rise, demand for compact, fuel-efficient vehicles with smaller engines (as well as hybrids and electric vehicles), goes up. This, in turn, affects the value of these vehicles. Since more people want them, prices go up. On the other hand, when global fuel prices drop, consumers are willing and eager to spend money on bigger vehicles with larger engines, more horsepower, and more passenger room and cargo space.