Advice by Adam Taylor, Vehicle Buyer at Car Giant WA, Australia’s Market Leading, Fixed Price, Automotive Dealership.
We’re extremely fortunate to have Adams expertise onboard at Car Giant WA. Adam and the team behind the “Car Giant WA Buying Express” know their stuff when it comes to buying cars, we hope these tips to achieve better resale assist all motorists to get the most from their vehicle ownership experience, especially when it comes time to trade in or dispose of your vehicle.
1. SERVICE HISTORY.
If you’re buying a vehicle, you want to know its history. Has it been regularly serviced (and if not, walk away now) and looked after? Servicing is generally a regular oil change and oil and air filter replacement but quality technicians will quickly spot trouble and let the owner know the car needs other repair work. The technician will stamp the service book to show the car has been serviced while extra work should be validated by receipts. If these are in order, it shows some love has been sprinkled on the car and it deserves further consideration by a potential buyer. Some modern luxury brands have done away with the traditional service book and the record is kept within the car’s computer, leading some fastidious owners to buy an after-market service book that they fill in themselves. Mr Taylor says that’s a wise move and one that can add more value come sale time. OWNER’S TIP: Keep up the service records and retain any repair receipts.
2. FACT CHECK.
Make sure what you are selling (and what you’re buying) is correct. Some brands – Land Rover particularly -have an incredible model, grade, trim and accessory list so that it’s very hard to pin down the exact specification of the vehicle. Make sure the car has all its documents available for sighting. OWNER’S TIP: Keep all the vehicle documents in a secure place.
3. BUYING A CAR IS PRIMARILY A VISUAL EXPERIENCE.
Colour is very important as some colours are less enthusiastically received by the majority of buyers – mustard, some dark reds, some greens and often black. Buyers have their hit list of features, which are generally topped by wheels and sunroofs. Have these two and you’re already in front, Mr Taylor suggests. “There are other factors that count towards a better resale, such as the features of the infotainment unit. Generally, these outrank what perhaps should be seen as more important items such as the safety equipment,” he says. If your car has a nice set of alloy wheels and a sunroof and a modern infotainment centre, you’re closing in on the best price. But if you don’t have these, play on the car’s strengths. OWNER’S TIP: Be selective about the car modifications.
4. WALK AROUND THE CAR.
Is it clean and is there any panel damage? Dents will be costly for a private sale but less so if the car is being traded at a dealership. There are mobile repairers who can fix dents, usually without needing paint, that charge less than $200 a panel. It’s definitely worth considering. New number plates may mean the car is from another state or is back on the road for some reason. A wrinkled number plate is an indication of a collision that has been repaired. Was it a serious accident? Do the doors and bonnet and boot close neatly without excessive panel gaps? A seller should be able to explain any damage when asked and would have a receipt for the repairs. The buyer would be in a better position to judge if the damage was too serious to take a risk on buying the car. OWNER’S TIP: Keep records of any accidents.
5. THE BODYWORK
The bodywork may have some nicks and dents that may be caused by shopping car park kisses beyond the owner’s control. But if the interior is dirty and scratched, with broken switches and missing parts, it shows immediately the owner hasn’t cared for this car. Car detailing is more than just a clean and wipe. It’s now a big-dollar industry. If you’re not able or keen to painstakingly clean the car, get someone else to do it. Mr Taylor says a good detailing can “add thousands” to the price. “A dirty car shows it hasn’t been shown any love,” he says. Floor mats with holes, blue denim marks on light coloured seats, frayed seat belts and dry leather upholstery are an indication that it hasn’t been looked after, and that could spell even more trouble in other areas of the car, such as the engine and transmission.” OWNER’S TIP: Keep the car
6. KEEP IT COVERED.
A car that has lived most of its life in a garage or carport is more likely to get a higher resale price. The paintwork will be brighter, the interior will not be faded and the dashboard is less likely to crack – all things that detract from the appearance of the car and drive down the price come sale time. A proper cover can also avoid the threat of hail damage that can really plunge resale to new lows. OWNER’S TIP: Keep the car in a covered area when not in use.
7. SMOKING IS NOT COOL
“Smoke affects everything and is almost impossible to remove from a car upholstery,” Mr Taylor says. “Most people don’t smoke, so when they open the door of a car owned by a smoker, the smell really stands out. It’s a big factor in affecting the resale value.” Smoke not only gets into the cars interior fabric, seats and headliner, but goes through the vents to the filters in the ventilation system. OWNER’S TIP: Just don’t smoke in the car.
8. DOGS IN CARS.
“Getting the hair and smell out of a car is as difficult as removing cigarette odour, especially that wet-dog smell,” Mr Taylor says. “It’s a big – and expensive -job to clean a car of dog fur.” Owners who have a dog can either regularly clean their car or invest in protection mats for the back seat and floor area. Again, for buyers who don’t own a dog and are not used to the smell, it can be very off-putting and likely to either lose a sale or greatly depreciate the asking price.” OWNER’S TIP: Buy protection for the car’s interior and keep it clean.
9. THE BESTSELLING MODELS ON THE NEW-CAR SALES CHARTS ARE USUALLY THE ONES THAT HOLD THE BEST RESALE.
That’s a general rule as some models – Hyundai i30, Toyota Corolla and Camry, for example – are sold in big numbers to rental car companies and that can pull down the value of private cars. Brands that are less known are less likely to attract a large audience. Cars that are well looked after, with modest kilometres -10,000km-15,000km a year is the average – can make the difference.
OWNER’S TIP: Consider the make and model of the car you are buying and how it rates on the market. A discounted car of an obscure brand will save you money now but may also lose your money on resale.
10. ROAD TESTING THE CAR SHOULD SHOW UP ANY NIGGLES AND FAULTS.
Sellers should ensure the car drives well, the wheels are balanced and aligned, the brakes are not squeaky and are strong, the tyres are inflated correctly, and the engine is in tune. Basically, you want the prospective buyer to feel comfortable and safe in the car. OWNER’S TIP: Keep the car serviced and maintained throughout its life.