Funky colours on VW Beetle

8 Ways to Get The Most Money For A Car

THE sheer rush of buying a new car can lead to costly mistakes for motorists who let emotions drive their decisions.

Negotiating a good price is one thing, but how does a novice know what to look for to ensure they don’t get stuck with a lemon they can’t sell down the track?

Yes, every car has a use-by date. Circumstances change, they can become too costly to maintain, unreliable or it’s just time for an upgrade.

With cars – as with life in general – we reap what we sew. Are You Selling’s key advice on how to get the most money for the car you’re about to sell, starts with the car you decided to buy in the first place and how you look after it while it’s in your possession.

Buy Popular Colours

Pink Hummer
Mixed message. Custom colours can backfire. Art Konovalov /

White, black, grey and silver make up 70% of world car production? Why? Because they are the most popular colours. If you can’t bring yourself to own one of these, choose red, blue or brown/beige. The rest make up less than 5% of cars sold around the world. If re-sale value is important to you, never re-spray your car in a funky colour. It will put most other people off when it’s time to sell.

Buy Popular Models

Again, they’re popular for a reason – people want to buy them. Some cars hold their value better than others, but unless you own a collectible vehicle, unusual makes, models and styles of cars will always be harder to sell. If you need to sell in a hurry, or are not looking to trade-in to another vehicle, you could be stuck with something you can’t shift.

Unmaintained Car
One careful owner? Perhaps not.

Keep Maintenance Records

This shows you care about maintaining your car and tells buyers it has been looked after from the start.

Matching Tyres

Make sure all four tyres are the same and in similar condition. Mismatching tyres is dangerous and potentially reduces the value of your car by hundreds of dollars at trade time. Poor tyres are another sure sign the car hasn’t been properly maintained and cared for.

Professional Clean

Dirty car
Clean and go: Show buyers you care about your car.


A high quality clean not only shows you care about your car, steam cleaning the seats and carpets removes odours and stains that can be a turn-off to potential buyers. First impressions count when selling your car. If it looks good and smells clean, you’re already one step ahead.

Keep The Outside cleaned and waxed

This can save the cost of an extensive detail when you’re ready to sell and it protects the outside of the car from surface scratches and stains from bird droppings, sap and leaves.

Mechanically Checked

Have your car checked by a mechanic prior to selling. You can then decide if you want to fix any problems or sell the car as is. Sometimes, simple, inexpensive repairs add more value to the car than the cost of getting it fixed. Most used car buyers stay clear of cars with obvious mechanical problems because they’re generally not well versed in how much it could cost to get them fixed. If you can’t afford the repairs yourself, provide the buyer with quotes that give them an idea of what it will cost.

Custom car
Green machine: Personalised cars are hard to shift. Bocman1973 /

Avoid Custom Additions

Generally speaking, any modifications will decrease your car’s resale value. This is because a customised car is a niche vehicle – not everyone wants that special suspension system you installed and it could increase the cost of insurance.

MORE: Buying A Car That Will Re-Sell Well

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