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How to increase your car’s resale value. Expert tips



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It goes without saying that cars in Singapore are mega expensive investments. The moment you buy a car and drive it home, its value has already dropped significantly, with car value depreciation increasing every year. 

However, while selling your car won't get back 100% of its original price, there are still things you can do to get the best resale value.

Keeping your car in good condition can increase its resale value by up to 20%

Due to the high volume of used cars for sale in Singapore, it is up to you to prove to potential consumers why your car deserves to be priced at what it is—especially if you decide to charge a few thousand dollars above the average asking price for your model. Routine maintenance and paying attention to small details can mean the difference between barely selling a car for a lower than average price and negotiating a price that is several thousand dollars higher. On a market where the same used model's price can range between S$67,800 and S$73,800, this means your couple hundred dollars investment in keeping your car in top condition can easily lead to a price increase of 15-20%. 

Here’s some top tips on how to maximise the resale value of your car: 

Drive with care

Any history of collision damage can hurt your car's resale value. While it may be hard for any car to avoid the occasional dent or scratch, best to keep these down to a minimum.

Take it easy behind the wheel and don’t smash brakes or take hard turns, these can lead to long-term damage and accidents. You should be practicing careful driving as soon as you leave the dealership and consider breaking in your vehicle by being consistent with your gas pedal and fully breaking in your engine. Get more tips on looking after your new car here.

In the meantime, see this handy guide from consumer researchers, ValueChampion, on acceleration and braking distances for new cars.  

Car Model

Min. Distance Before Sudden Acceleration

Min. Distance Before Hand Breaking

Honda Civic (Sedan)

1,000 km

300 km

Mazda 3 (Sedan)

1,000 km

1,000 km

Mercedes E-Class (Sedan)

1,500 km

N/A

Toyota Corolla

1000 km

300 km

Keep a logbook

A documented service history is a healthy sign for new car buyers showing that you are a careful owner. And that means they will be willing to pay extra for some reassurance. 

Keep to the car’s maintenance schedule

Your prospective buyer wants to know that the car was properly looked after. Make sure you adhere to the maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual. 

Ensure you clock low mileage

Price will mostly be determined by how many miles your car has travelled. There are also some psychological barriers too. For instance, the gap between 98,000 and 100,000 is wider than it looks. If you're about to sell and are approaching a big rounded number then try to keep mileage below it.

Patch it up immediately

Whenever there's a mechanical problem or a cosmetic issue, don't put it off, make repairs straight away. Buyers will be picky and a little dent or engine anomaly will mean a lower selling price.

Keep it clean

The cleaner your car appears to be, the more it will be worth: people will associate cleanliness with care. No smells, please. Don’t be tempted to use any household products either except on your windows. Use car products for best results.  Goes without saying, wash it and polish it with wax. This will bring the colour back to its showroom condition. It might well be worth getting the car cleaning professionals to give it a good going over. Get some expert car cleaning tips here.

Put it back to its original specs

Get rid of those add-ons or modifications that didn’t come with the car. Buyers want a car model that they like, not a display of your personalised ride.

Replace those worn parts

While bigger repairs are best left to car mechanics, you can easily increase the value of your car by swapping out simple parts such as the brake pads, engine air filters and car mats. Not only will this make the car feel newer and better to prospective buyers, but it will also benefit you for the rest of the time you own your car. For instance, replacing your brake pads can prevent accidents and damage. Additionally, replacing an engine air filter can increase fuel efficiency and prolong your engine's life. These small changes can really add to the resale value of your car in the long run, especially since many dealerships will deduct any fees incurred for any repairs they have to do on their own.

See below the average cost of spare parts in Singapore.

Car Part

Average Price

Brake Pads

S$58

Xenon Car Lights

S$15

Car Battery

S$210

Cabin Air Filter

S$10

Engine Air Filter

S$10

Car Mat

S$35

Source ValueChampion. 

Choose the right avenue to sell

In Singapore, you can sell your car via a few different channels. The first way is to simply post an ad on a website like SGcarmart or Carro and hope for the best. The second way is to go through a used car dealership. The third way is a hybrid of the first two and involves using an agent (selling through consignment). All three channels have their benefits and drawbacks. Selling directly will give you greater control over the final sale price; but it may take a long time for you to actually find a buyer. A consignment sell will result in more money for you and is cheaper than a dealer (usually a flat fee of around S$500 or 1% of the sale price), but an inexperienced agent can make selling your car much more difficult. Used car dealerships guarantee some form of payment if they accept your car, although you will sell it for less than if you sold it directly.

Regardless of the channel you choose, you should conduct a thorough research of the market. For instance, if you want to maximise resale value, you should get a few quotes from accredited dealers first, calculate what their final price would be and go via the direct selling or consignment route. Those who are adamant about using a dealer should negotiate their price, since dealers usually take a healthy profit margin of S$2,000 or more. While you may not get the exact price you initially ask for (hence you should consider initially highballing your sale price), you may end up settling on a happy medium that is still a few hundred dollars more than what you were initially quoted. 

Want more good reads? You'll love these too:
How to get your online driving licence
How much does it cost to own a car in Singapore in 2019?
Car warning lights. Guide for Singapore motorists

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