11 Important Factors That Affect Your Car’s Resale Value

What are the factors that affect your car’s resale value?

Selling your car isn’t as easy as you think. Just like selling a house, or a good old PS4, there are things that you need to consider. These things, in particular, have affected the value of your car and thus will determine how much you can actually get from the sale.

Look, one Metallica sticker on your car may not hurt its value. Your buyer can brush it off. But if you have basically turned your car into a sticker sheet, don’t expect a lot.

In selling your car or trading it in, you will encounter buyers with different ideas of how much your car is worth. We got the generic factors in place, such as the car’s mileage, the year it was released and bought, the current year and the economy. But the nitpicky buyer will look at your car with eagle eyes, and consider other things that will surely affect your car’s price tag.

factors that affect your car's resale value

Some of these factors may not be as serious as the rest and can be fixed in your own garage while the others—you’ll have to accept. They’re not without use though, as you can take note of them for the next time you get your hands on a new car. Let’s take a look at the 11 factors that affect your car’s resale value.

Aftermarket Parts and Modifications

This is probably the most important factor buyers look at when buying a secondhand car. Buyers take modifications seriously.

While modifications are inevitable especially with anything in its late years, still, modifications that use original equipment manufacturer parts are much preferred. It’s because they’re guaranteed to at least have the premium feel of the factory-original car. You can also make sure they won’t wear out faster.

Unless your target buyers are gearheads who know and appreciate custom work, it’s best not to do a lot of changes under the hood.

Keep reading to know the next one on our list of factors that affect your car’s resale value.

A manual transmission

Automatic transmission brings comforts that the opposite can’t. That might be why manual transmission cars are not as popular. A lot of people don’t know how to drive stick, have mobility issues that make shifting difficult, or just don’t like having their hands and feet constantly moving.

No matter how popular your car may be, as long as it has manual transmission, you’ll find yourself alone in the crowd. Unless your car is a sports car, you may have lower value than what you expect.

According to Car and Driver, popular features add value or at least retain it. Optional features that more than 50% of buyers have chosen to add to their new vehicle adds value. So when you’re buying a new car, you can get whatever you want but it pays to ask what some of the popular features are to secure better value in the future.

Third one on our list of factors that affect your car’s resale value is very important, whether you’re buying a used car or not.

Fuel Prices

This is a factor that even new car buyers should watch out for.

When gas prices are high, efficient vehicles tend to hold their value better, whereas less efficient vehicles (which typically have more cargo space and higher safety ratings) do better when gas prices are low.

If the value of your vehicle is heavily influenced by fuel prices, but you’re eager to sell, you’ll have to accept whatever the market will bear. If you have some leeway in timing, pay attention to news reports, keep an eye out for spikes or drops in oil prices, and try to time your sale when it is most advantageous to you. You have no control over gas prices, but if your schedule is flexible, you can try to take advantage of certain market conditions.

Bumper Stickers

Although experts are divided on the issue of whether bumper stickers detract from the value of your car, why take the chance? The stickers reinforce to potential buyers that the car has been used and can make it difficult for buyers to see the car as a blank slate. So, carefully peel off any stickers. However, even if they come off with no damage to the car (such as scratches or nicks), the paint underneath may have already faded.

A Cracked Windshield

These days, replacing a windshield is relatively cheap, and in some states, your insurance will pay for it completely. If your windshield needs to be replaced, get it done before you put your car on the market. Some buyers may think it’s too expensive to replace a cracked one.

Keep reading to know the next one on our list of factors that affect your car’s resale value.

Mismatched Tires

Whether you’re selling your car or trading it in, you’ll have an advantage if your tires are in good condition and, more importantly, if they all match. A mishmash of tire brands or tires of different ages could suggest to some buyers that you cared for the car haphazardly, even if you replaced a tire quickly after a blowout. If you’re serious about getting top dollar for your car, consider buying four new tires when they’re on sale. If you’re trading your car in rather than selling it outright, the dealership may just deduct the cost of four new tires from your estimated trade-in value.

The next on our list of factors that affect your car’s resale value might seem unimportant but keep reading!


Yes, that bright gold car may not do so well in the car market. According to market studies by iSeeCars, orange and yellow tend to do better than most bright colors. If you are looking for a new car with plans of selling in the future, neutral painted cars like black or white are the safest bet.

Damaged Lights

Nobody wants damaged goods, no matter what it is. Like replacing cracked windshields, you’ll do well repairing damaged lenses or burned-out bulbs. They’re inexpensive and easy to get, not to mention the minimal effort you need to swap them out.

Buyers value safety and defective headlights and brake lights make a car dangerous to drive.

Hold on tight, we’re almost there. Keep reading for the next on our list of factors that affect your car’s resale value.

Secondhand Smoke

Do you smoke? Because here’s bad news if you do: Nobody wants a car that smells like an ashtray. This diminishes the value of your car by a certain degree.

Where You Live

Where you live can affect the resale value of your car.

When the snow starts to fall, a rear-wheel-drive convertible that can be driven all year long on the West Coast becomes a burden in New England. Some common car models (like the Mini Cooper and Volkswagen Golf) are only available as electric variants in California. Potential buyers may not be interested if you move across the country to a place with inadequate electric charging infrastructure. You may have to wait a while for the right buyer to come along in some cases.

Keep reading to know the last one on our list of factors that affect your car’s resale value.

 The Car’s Reputation

You have no say in what an automaker does, but their decisions may have an impact on the future value of your car… Take the Volkswagen Dieselgate scandal, which tarnished VW’s image and lowered the market value of all diesel vehicles. Consider the Ford Pinto from the 1970s if you want to go even further back in the automobile timeline. The Pinto’s propensity for exploding on command would make it difficult to give away to a prospective buyer. The bottom line is that if the automaker is being dishonest or if there is a major problem with the car itself, the value of your car could be impacted.

Discontinuation of a car model or a brand usually occurs because of low initial demand, which has a knock-on effect on used car sales. However after they’ve been removed from stores, some products actually gain in popularity and value. One well-known example of this is Toyota’s FJ Cruiser, which was discontinued in 2014.


Some factors that affect a car’s resale value may be out of your control but it pays a lot to exert some effort to fix the factors that are fixable. Basically, trying to make your car look as decent as you can without breaking the bank will always benefit you.

Do you have something to add to our list?

You may also be interested in 10 Unexpected Everyday Car Technologies That Came From Racing.

Interested in car racing? Visit  F1 ChronicleIndy Chronicle or NASCAR Chronicle.

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