What Extras Add Value To Your Car When You Sell It?

Monday, 16. May 2011

Hi, Graham Hill here, thank you so much for visiting my blog, I hope you learn a lot and as a result end up driving a great car. In order to do so you can get all the information you need by buying my book, An Insider Guide To Car Finance or use me to finance your next car. Happy driving.

When choosing a new car there are a few things you should take into account when deciding upon the spec. of the car. As What Car ran a feature this month on this subject I thought I’d give my own twist on this hairy subject. Obviously if you are going to own the car it becomes more critical because if you choose badly it can be an expensive mistake albeit the items added may add to the enjoyment of your new car. The first rule, and one least understood, is that financially it is better to go for model rather than spec.

This means that if you like the spec of an S model car that has steel wheels, manual air con and electric front windows but you prefer a car with alloys, automatic climate control and electric rear windows, rather than simply add the items to your more basic S it may be better to take a higher SE spec car that includes these items plus a few more.

It may be worth paying a little more and ending up with a couple of additional options on the higher spec that you didn’t need as the higher spec car may be worth considerably more when you resell it compared to the S version that will be worth marginally more because of the options fitted. I’ll now deal with a few of the choices that you must make when selecting the car:

Engine: A diesel car will generally still cost more to buy than a petrol car but when re-sold will return more. In terms of leasing we have seen a bit of a shift back towards petrol as drivers travel fewer miles making the lower fuel consumption of diesels less attractive, especially if most of the miles are driven around town, potentially clogging up the particulate filters of diesels.

Also the latest petrol engines are much more fuel efficient with VW fitting 1.4 petrol engines even into their 7Seat Sharans. However, if you are buying your car and you’re covering high mileage used car buyers prefer the engine to be diesel if the car has over average mileage on the clock

Transmission: In executive cars automatic is a must, in fact many manufacturers have stopped producing executive cars with a manual gearbox. On the other hand smaller and family cars are more popular with a manual gearbox.

In some cases the car with a manual gearbox could fetch more than a car with an auto box even though it was an extra £1,500 when new. So if you are buying a smaller car and you aren’t fussed about manual or auto – go for a manual it will be cheaper. Fuel consumption is pretty similar for both these days.

Beware of certain types of auto, not all are the same, some have a sort of twin clutch system whilst others seem to work with cones, the point is that you should always test drive the car before you buy after all you will be driving it, it’s not all down to the resale value.

Body: Hatchbacks are still popular up to family size but executive cars tend to fare better as either 4 door saloons or estates, think 5 Series BMW and E Class Mercedes. In order to maximise seating most small and city cars come as hatch backs.

These are really down to personal choice as resale values don’t vary much. However, unless you need the extra space in an E Class I would opt for a saloon as the estate can cost a couple of grand more but will only be worth about the same as a saloon after 3 years.

Alloys: Essential on sporty cars as they not only look better, they add to the performance and are lighter than steel wheels. If you opt for big wheels they may give a harder, less comfortable ride, unless you race everywhere.

Some alloys can make the car look great whilst others make them look like they are standing on stilts – not attractive. Alloys can scuff easily so whilst they may add value to the car you may have to spend the extra value having scuffs repaired before you sell the car.

Trim: Not so much about what you have as what you don’t have. Basic trim may suit the company when taking on fleet cars but used car buyers look for a little more.

Remote central locking, electric front windows, air con are all desirable and your car will be worth less without them. Things like iPod connectivity, Bluetooth and parking sensors are being looked on by some as ‘essential’ when selecting a used car so even if you don’t want to play an iPod through your stereo it’s better to have than not. Parking sensors are essential on larger cars, executive cars and large people carriers.

Leather: Essential on prestige cars, desirable on executives and a nice touch on smaller but won’t make much difference to the resale values. If you are going for leather it would help if you had heated seats as well. Leather adds more value than the man made leather – better known as plastic!

SatNav: I’m amazed that as cost of technology drops that the cost of sat nav has either stayed the same or even increased. The in car systems don’t work particularly well and aren’t as practical as the mobile devices that you can walk away with when you park your car in the station and get on a train to your destination. Frankly they aren’t worth the extra cost unless the car manufacturer has it as a special offer.

Paint: Metallic, whilst costing virtually the same as solid paint to buy and apply, will cost you from £250 to around £800 as an option on an average car. However it adds a great deal of value to the used car so reduces the effective cost. Stick to standard colours and avoid over the top bright oranges, yellows and greens unless the car itself is outrageous! Silver and black are favourites with white increasing in popularity.

Radio: In 2015 analogue radio is switched off and replaced by digital (DAB) so think ahead and look for a car with a DAB radio fitted. Most cars will now come with a single CD and iPod connection, if the car you are considering doesn’t have either it could put future drivers off.

Safety: The majority of new cars are sold to those looking to use them for business and in order to meet basic employer responsibilities the car has to meet minimum safety requirements so things like, air bags, brake assist, cruise control, ESP are essential but not so much for used car buyers. Paying out for more safety features may give you peace of mind but don’t expect your car to be worth a lot more.

Crossovers: There has been an upsurge in cars known as ‘crossovers’, cars like the Nissan Qashqai and Juke, Ford Kuga etc. These cars look like 4WD but there are generally much better performing 4WD cars so its not worth spending a fortune on a 4WD version when they will be worth a little more than the 2WD version. Lease rates are much better on 2WD models.

Climate Control: I’ve mentioned air con but climate control enables you to set the temperature and the gadgetry does the work to keep the car at that temperature. Whilst a well known comedian makes a joke out of two people sitting two feet away from each other in a car setting totally different temperatures and expecting to have different air temperature around them. However, used car drivers like this, called two zone. If you can set the temperature separately in the back of the car this is four zone. I wouldn’t pay to upgrade but it certainly seems to be desirable.

Packages: Sometimes sold as a separate package and sometimes shown as a special edition (Executive SE with Mercedes and Business Edition with BMW) these can often represent great value for money. For a little more you could end up with a major improvement in spec. and a more desirable used car.

Service packs can be great value for money but make sure you know what is included, some only include the cost of service labour, you have to pay for parts, some include the cost of a basic service, if, for example you need replacement disc pads you will pay extra for the parts and labour.

Most exclude tyres, batteries and exhausts (unlike a full maintenance agreement). You need to also know if the service can be transferred to a new owner if you sell the car before the end of the service agreement. Can add value but check the terms and conditions. By Graham Hill

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