The resale value of a car is made up of many factors, some of which are within a seller’s control and others, such as the economy and current market value, are not. While factors such as the make and model of a vehicle and it’s fuel efficiency have their effects, it’s more important to focus on factors that can be controlled or changed. The biggest factor when it comes to resale value is the condition of the vehicle, followed by the mileage. Condition is classified into four categories: excellent, good, fair, and poor.
For a used vehicle to be considered in excellent condition, the vehicle should appear new, having no bodywork and in flawless mechanical condition. This vehicle should require no repairs, lack rust, have a clean interior, and have no visible flaws or leaks. The engine should be without wear and tear, and the vehicle should have a full service record, along with a clean title history. A vehicle in excellent condition will be at the highest valuation, although Kelley Blue Book states that less than 5% of used vehicles fall into the excellent category.
A used vehicle in good condition should have no significant body damage, minor wear and tear to the engine, and a clean title history. The vehicle should have little to no mechanical problems, with any issues being easy to repair. There should be very minimal, if any, visible defects or damages, interior or exterior. The paint should be in good condition, and the vehicle should lack rust or have very little. All four tires should match and have substantial life left. Kelley Blue Book states that the largest percentage of used cars fall into this category, and these vehicles should still have a high valuation.
A used vehicle is considered to be in fair condition when it has engine flaws or other mechanical issues, the tires need to be replaced, or it has numerous visible damages, interior or exterior. If the vehicle has any rust, it must be repairable in order to still be considered in fair condition. Any damages or defects must be serviceable and the vehicle must be in decent running condition. Vehicles in this category will have a much lower valuation.
A vehicle is deemed in poor condition if there are unrepairable mechanical issues, engine damage, or severe rust. Unconfirmed mileage, an unclean or salvaged title, or faulty running condition will also qualify a vehicle as being in poor condition. A vehicle considered to be in poor condition may require an additional appraisal to calculate it’s value, as it varies significantly.
If you wish to sell your vehicle in the future, keeping it clean, in good condition, and following routine maintenance is key. Mileage is another factor that’s crucial to determining a vehicle’s value. Mileage can be a good indication of how much wear and tear the vehicle has been through. While a higher mileage vehicle in good to excellent condition will still have a good resale value, a car with low mileage will be closer to top dollar.