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Say you’re shopping for a new car but plan on trading your current vehicle in. Like most car shoppers, you probably want to get the most out of your trade-in. And why wouldn’t you? Fortunately, by increasing your car’s resale value, you can. Let’s talk about the best way to do it.

Pictured is a man cleaning his car, which can help increase the resale value.
A man cleaning the exterior of a car. | JOAQUIN SARMIENTO/AFP via Getty Images

What is the resale value of a car?

First things first, let’s talk about what the resale value of a car actually means. To put it simply, a car’s resale value is what the car is worth in its current condition. Coverage reports that while luxury vehicles, trucks, and SUVs tend to have the highest resale value, buying a vehicle from a reputable automaker such as Honda and Subaru could also result in your car having an increased resale value.

A couple sitting across from a car salesman while shopping for a car.
A couple shopping at a dealership. | Tim Boyle/Bloomberg News via Getty Images

What affects the resale value of a car?

According to Investopedia, one of the main factors used to determine a used car’s price is how many miles are on its odometer, along with what condition it’s in. That being said, Investopedia reports that the condition of your vehicle is more subjective than how many miles you’ve put on it. 

“Although condition is closely associated with mileage, the two are not directly correlated,” Gutierrez said. “Even a vehicle with low mileage can sustain more than its fair share of wear and tear, which negatively impacts the value,” Alec Gutierrez, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book explained to Investopedia.

Having certain options on your car can impact its resale value too. In fact, according to Gutierrez, having a car outfitted with a diesel engine or all-wheel drive could up a car’s resale value. Having a premium sound system or a panoramic moon roof can increase a car’s resale value too.

Can you increase the resale value of your car?

If you plan on selling or trading in your car in the near future, chances are you want to increase the resale value of your car. But is that actually possible? As it turns out, it is. In fact, according to Bankrate, there are several ways to increase the resale value of your car before trading it in.

First, you’re going to have to do some research. That means determining the current trade-in value of your car. Bankrate reports that websites like Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds can easily help you with finding this information. According to Bankrate, having this information will help you negotiate the best deal for your car.

You’re going to want to have any mechanical and cosmetic issues taken care of too. As Bankrate explains, “Remember, the mechanical and physical condition of your car are big drivers of value. As a result, you should take special care to resolve any issues you already know about, and especially ones that are easy to fix.”

Lifehack reports that bringing certain records to the dealership can help increase your car’s resale value too. Lifehack recommends having your vehicle’s registration documents on hand, along with your lender’s no-objection certificate, if you financed the car. Having maintenance records on hand can be especially helpful too if you want to increase the resale value of your car.