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Six Ways to Boost Your Used Car Resale Value

When you buy a used car, chances are you don’t plan to keep it forever. There are things you can do during the car shopping process and while you own the vehicle that can help improve the resale value of your used car down the road. That means getting more money for it when the time comes to sell! Here are six ways to boost your resale value:

1. Choose your vehicle wisely

Most used car shoppers start their search online, checking out popular listing sites and dealership websites to see what’s available in their area. Another thing to research that can impact the resale value of cars is the average depreciation rate of particular models. Do some reading online to get an idea of how certain year/make/models tend to hold their value, and remember what you’ve learned when it’s time to decide which vehicle you want to buy.

Many people don’t know that colour can impact the resale value of cars, so keep this in mind when you’re looking around as well. Sometimes you can get a better deal on a car that’s a less desirable colour, but keep it in mind that you’ll have to resell it at some point. Here’s some more information on how colour can impact car resale value in Canada.

2. Location impacts car resale value in Canada

Canada has many different climates which means different ways to maintain the road, as well as different wear-and-tear. For example, icy winter roads in Alberta are treated with sand to de-ice, but most other parts of Canada use salt instead – and there are pros and cons to both. Salt can corrode metal parts, but sand can chip paint and windshields, and there are buyers out there that have strong feelings about which agent the vehicle they’re buying has been exposed to. It’s also important to consider how the industry and climate in certain areas can impact the demand for particular vehicles. Before buying, check out CARFAX Canada True Value™ – it adjusts appraisals to consider where the car was driven.

Learn more about location and resale value

3. Mileage impacts the resale value of cars

The average Canadian drives 20,000 km per year, and while this average accounts for both urban dwellers who may only drive on the weekends as well as suburban commuters driving 45 minutes to work every day, it’s important to keep an eye on your vehicle’s odometer reading to make sure you’re not blowing that average out of the water. If you do drive way above the average number of annual Kilometres, don’t panic! Just be aware that a higher odometer reading can decrease the resale value of your car.

4. Used car maintenance – good condition means better resale value

One of the easiest, most straight-forward ways to increase your car’s resale value is to keep it properly maintained during the time that you own it. There are recommended service intervals that can differ between year/make/models of used cars, so make sure you ask for them when you close the deal with the seller. If you buy the vehicle privately and the seller doesn’t know how often the vehicle should be serviced, consider this a yellow flag – if they’re not aware, then it’s possible that the vehicle wasn’t serviced as per the manufacturer’s recommendation.

Not only should you maintain your vehicle regularly, but keep records of all service done on the car and make them available to the buyer. People are usually willing to pay a little more for a vehicle when they know it’s been well cared-for. And if you’re a car-person and like to change the oil and brake pads on your own – kudos to you – just keep detailed notes of the work you’ve been doing.

CARFAX Canada Vehicle History Reports now include detailed records of services performed over a vehicle’s lifetime. Make sure you purchase a report, attach it to your online listings and make it clear to potential buyers that you have proof that you’ve taken great care of the car.

5. Don’t just say it’s in good shape – prove it

Be upfront with your customers about everything that’s happened in the vehicle’s past, and back up what you tell them with a CARFAX Canada Vehicle History Report. This will prove that the vehicle is damage free, and if there is damage, that it’s been fixed properly. CARFAX Canada VHRs also provide insight into the vehicle’s service history, how many Kilometres are on it, where the vehicle has been registered and (depending on which report you buy) if the vehicle has any registered liens in the Canadian province or territory where the vehicle was registered or had its registration renewed within the past year.

Wondering what a lien is? Find out here.

Plus, every CARFAX Canada VHR now comes with the CARFAX Canada True Value™, an online used car value calculator that considers what similar cars have sold for nearby, and takes into account the unique history of that specific car. It starts with a free True Value range, so be sure to check it out before setting your asking price!

Get the True Value range

6. Keep it looking its best

Used car value calculators will not consider the physical appearance of your car, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. The photos you take of your car are the second thing prospective buyers see (after its year/make/model/odometer) so make sure it looks its best.

The easiest way to do this is to take good care of your vehicle while you own it. Don’t leave little dings and scratches to get worse or to rust – get them fixed right away – many can be buffed or polished out anyway. Protect your paint job by waxing your car regularly and parking in places that are less likely to damage your exterior. Think shady spots that are not directly under trees (think dripping sap) or overhead wires that make comfortable resting spots for birds (think falling poop).

Headlight not working? This is something that’s easy (and inexpensive) for you to fix before you list the car, but it’s a big turn-off for a potential customer. They won’t know if it’s something simple like a burnt-out bulb, or something potentially more serious like an electronic malfunction. Save yourself the questions and price negotiations this will cause and get it fixed before you post the car for sale.

Clean your headlights – dingy headlights make any car look a little bit older and a little bit cheaper. Watch a YouTube video that teaches you how to properly clean your headlights, and make sure the products you use are specially formulated for the job (put your dish detergent away).

Extra things you can do to boost used car resale value:

  1. Never smoke in a vehicle – it is very difficult to fully eliminate the smell, and this is a non-negotiable deal-breaker for many used car shoppers.
  2. If your fur-baby is a common travel companion, make sure their seat is covered in a rubber mat or towel – animal fur is difficult to get rid of, and just because you love Rex doesn’t mean your car’s future owner isn’t seriously allergic to him.
  3. Clean all your interior mats, and if they look grungy, just replace them. The first impression really matters and you want your car to look (and smell) clean and fresh.
  4. Highlight the positives in your listings – is the vehicle accident-free? Has it only had one owner? Celebrate the car’s highlights.
  5. Make sure there are no dashboard warning lights on – fix any of the little issues, because when a potential buyer sees a warning light they can assume the problem is bigger than it really is.
  6. Make sure there’s no money owing on the car – here’s how