Ina Opperman

By Ina Opperman

Business Journalist

How to ensure you can resell your car for a good price

Buying a car requires thought and consideration as it is probably one of your biggest purchases apart from buying a house.

Unless you are really adamant to keep your car for ever and never resell it, you have to start ensuring that you can resell your car for a good price as soon as you buy it.

“We all want to like the car we drive in terms of aesthetics as well as performance which is where the emotion can sometimes overrule the rational,” Keletso Mpisane, head of digitally based insurer MiWay Blink, says.

“With some exceptions, a car is not a lifelong commitment. Most people will have a number of cars in their lifetime, as we choose to upgrade, sometimes downgrade, or because our needs change and a myriad of reasons in between. Therefore, it is important to always consider the resale value of your car right from the start.”

Beginning with the end in mind can also help you to determine which vehicle to choose and what features and specifications you need.

“For example, if you plan a family and intend driving the car for the next five to eight years, you may want to opt for something quite spacious like an SUV, while if you plan more offroad adventures, a 4×4 may be more appropriate,” Mpisane says.

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How much can you pay?

Money also matters. Mpisane says so many of your choices in life come down to money. “It is about what you can afford and what you consider to be of value. When it comes to buying a car, it is not simply about the money you will pay for it now but also about what you are likely to get for it when you sell it again.”

Some car makes and brands are known for retaining their value quite well, while others lose significant value. If you already have a clear idea of how long you will keep the car when you look for one to buy, it may be more sensible to opt for something that is known for having a good trade-in value and a reputation for being popular on the second-hand market, Mpisane says.

Insurance is also an important factor. “Car insurance may be a grudge purchase, but it is an important way to also safeguard the resale value of the vehicle – and yourself. It is reassuring to know that should something happen on the road you are covered financially.

“Whether it is a small dent in the bumper that needs to be repaired or a windscreen that suffered hail damage, it is important to have it seen too and fixed – both in terms of the vehicle’s ability to function but also because nobody wants to buy a car with a cracked window.”  

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Remember that looks count too

And as with everything else, looks count. “They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder and this is certainly true in modifications made to cars. Some modifications must be universally acceptable, for example anything that improves the vehicle’s safety, or a sophisticated infotainment system, while others, such as a modified exhaust system or tinted window, simply do not do the same.”

The mileage is also important. Mpisane says consumers must remember it plays a key role in the resale value of a car. “Quite understandably, the more a vehicle has travelled the more its value depreciates. However, that is not to say that you should not drive your car as that is what it is there for after all – but rather to be conscious of how much you drive it if you have a specific resale price range in mind.”

 You also have to care for and protect your car. “Whether the plan is to sell the vehicle in one year, five years or 10 years, it always pays to look after it. This includes the way you drive but also ensuring the car is serviced by a professional at regular intervals and that the necessary maintenance is done.”

Mpisane says for resale vale it is highly advisable to have your car serviced by either the manufacturer or an approved third party. And make sure the services are logged so that the vehicle eventually has a clear service history, which will stand you in good stead when it comes to selling,.

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