Aaron Widmar
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Why You Should Consider Resale Value When Buying a Car

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Person holding car keys to a new car when considering resale value
Photo: The News Wheel

You have many factors to consider when choosing your next car: interior space, safety features, fuel efficiency, infotainment technology, and — of course — price.

But here’s one factor you may never have considered: resale value. Why does this matter?  Because unless you intend to drive your car until it collapses, you’ll be trading it in or selling it in the future.

When you purchase a vehicle, you have to think of it as a long-term investment — and that includes how much money you’ll get back when you eventually sell it.

Is It a Good Investment to Buy a Used Luxury Vehicle? Here’s what the experts think…

Reasons why your next vehicle’s resale value matters

Whether you buy a new or a used vehicle, you should consider its future resale value.

If you plan to buy a brand-new vehicle, make sure it’s one that won’t rapidly depreciate in value upon purchase. Most vehicles lose a third of their value in the first few years of ownership. That’s why buying a used car can be a better financial investment in the long run.

Consider a brand that has the most stable long-term resale value. Vehicle valuation guide Kelley Blue Book publishes awards every year recognizing the models with the best-projected resale value. Such lists are often dominated by trucks and utility vehicles like the Toyota Tundra and Ford Bronco, as well as specialty models like the Chevrolet Corvette. In general, pickup trucks retain their value much better than family SUVs and economy sedans do.

Depending on the market, buyer demand, and rarity, some used cars can actually remain steady or even increase in value over time — if you take great care of them. Look to luxury brands and unique editions with limited releases, like the Last Call Dodge Challenger special edition. Think ahead by considering hybrid and electric models as the industry plans to move away from gasoline fuel.

Thinking about the future owner of your car can also help you stick to a regular maintenance schedule. A properly maintained, problem-free car will more likely warrant your selling price than a car that’s damaged or riddled with issues.

Easy ways to help your car retain its value include:

  • Keeping up with regular maintenance like oil changes and air filter replacements
  • Washing it often and shielding it from rust and fading
  • Parking it in a garage and in the shade away from the elements
  • Keeping the interior clean
  • Keeping aftermarket customization to a minimum, sticking to professionally done jobs with broad appeal
  • Not misusing the vehicle such as straining its towing limit or taking it off-road if it’s not made to be

If you invest in a quality ride, you’re more likely you can score a great selling price or trade-in value when the next owner takes it off your hands.