How to Increase the Value of Old Cars: 5 Simple Ways

April 23rd, 2020 by


Would it surprise you to learn that in 2018, there were some 40 million sales of used cars? We all know that brand new cars begin to depreciate the moment they are driven off the lot. As a result, there are always plenty of folks who are looking for a good deal on a vehicle that has been previously enjoyed.

If you are trying to sell your car, it makes sense that you want to recoup as much money as possible. The value of old cars depends on many factors: its age, its overall condition, and how popular its make and model are, for starters.

You can’t change how old the car is, nor its popularity, but you can take steps to improve its condition. With a little effort, you can, therefore, improve its value! Read on to learn how.


1. Make Sure It Looks As Good As Possible

When it comes to a car’s perceived worth, appearances do matter. Just as with humans, overall care and regular maintenance can help prevent a car from showing its age. Hopefully, you have taken good care of your vehicle over the years, so that it won’t take too much effort to get it looking great now.

A thorough cleaning inside and out is likely to be necessary, no matter what. Have your car professionally detailed or DIY it; just make sure that every surface, nook, and cranny sparkles. Vacuum the upholstery, the floor mats, and the floorboards. If your car is plagued by odours of meals eaten on-the-go, cigarette smoke, or pets, use an enzymatic air purifier to freshen things up.

The vehicle’s exterior may require some TLC, too. Even a few minor dings and scratches may make potential buyers leery. Take the car to a body shop and have its flaws fixed. It’s not an expensive proposition, and it will reap the rewards when it comes to your asking price.


2. Make the Easy Fixes

Does your car need new parts? A new battery, a brake job, or brand-new tires might or might not be worth the investment (more on that later). But there are some small repairs and replacements that are no brainers. That includes any trouble that is cosmetic as well as functional.

You should definitely fix minor issues such as:

  • a burned-out headlight or taillight
  • broken or worn-out windshield wipers
  • a busted side mirror or rearview mirror
  • a battery that’s nearing the end of its life cycle
  • door latches or handles that are malfunctioning

You might want to set yourself a limit and make any repairs that cost less than, say, $50 to fix. While you’re at it, have the oil changed if it’s nearing that time, and top off all fluids.


3. Check the Warning Lights

You may be used to ignoring the “check engine” light, putting off changing your oil, or taking your sweet time checking your tire pressure. But now is the time to make certain all of these issues are resolved. The last thing you want is for a would-be buyer to take your car for a spin and see the dashboard lighting up with potential problems. After all, they are likely to interpret those as potential expenses!

A big-box auto store will loan you their diagnostic tool so that you can find out what malfunctions have trigged the check engine light. In many cases, it’s a very small and inexpensive fix.

Another wise investment is having your car serviced by the pros. It’s an easy way to get an overall picture of the car’s current condition.


4. Tread Carefully When It Comes to the Big Stuff

On the other end of the spectrum, your car might very well need some serious work. Concerns about the transmission, head gaskets, suspension, tie rod ends, brake pads, fuel pump, timing belt, AC compressor, etc. should be handled carefully. This is tricky territory.

It can be difficult to decide which fixes are worth making before you put your wheels up for sale. Unfortunately, there’s no guide as to which repairs are worth it. You’ll have to use your best judgment.

It is essential, however, to disclose any current or upcoming mechanical issue to buyers. Don’t try to sugarcoat or hide a major issue in the hopes of making it “someone else’s problem.”

You always have the option of selling a less-than-perfect vehicle as a “fixer-upper” — and there is definitely a market for those cars. Plenty of people are happy to save money by buying an auto that needs some TLC and doing the work themselves. Others simply enjoy tinkering around under the hood.


5. Use Recent Repairs as a Selling Point

Unless you are marketing the car as a fixer-upper, it is always easier to sell a vehicle that is in great shape. Most folks want to be able to drive away without impending repairs raining on their parade. If you can play this up to your advantage, do!

When you list the car, or when someone comes to check it out, mention that the tires are only six months old, that you just had the brakes replaced, that the battery is new and will likely last a while — whatever the case may be. You will need to provide documentation, of course. But pointing out these perks will make a slightly-higher asking price seem more palatable.

Of course, an overall record of timely repairs and good maintenance goes a long way in this regard, as well. Hand over the folder with all receipts for repairs and proof of your service, and chances are your buyer will be very pleased indeed.


You Can Boost the Value of Old Cars!

As you are preparing your trusty old ride to put it on the market, try to look at it with fresh eyes. Or ask a friend to look it over and tell you the honest truth about what kind of first impression the car makes. It can be tough to objectively view the value of old cars when you’ve been driving them day in and day out. Let that fresh look determine the amount of your investment and the extent of your sprucing-up.

Once you have sold your old car, come visit us to check out the options for your brand-new ride!