Oh, that new car smell. For some, it’s one of the best parts of buying a car.
Oh no, that old car smell. You’re ready to sell, and you’re afraid the years of use will have buyers turning up their noses, and not just because of the price. So how can you maximize your car’s appeal?
The spring car buying season is actually two seasons, for at the same time as you are shopping for a car, you may also be looking to get the most value when selling your own vehicle. Two experts from AAA Northeast have some suggestions on both ends of the process: Vice President of Financial Services Shaun McGee, and Senior Manager of Traffic Safety and AAA Car Doctor John Paul.
Sell, Trade or Donate: Which Route is Best for Your Car?
McGee: Before you choose that new car, think about how to get the most money from your current vehicle. If your vehicle is a top seller and in excellent condition, you may get the highest price through a private party sale. A vehicle in less than perfect condition may be easier to sell directly to a dealer or use as a trade-in. The best bet for a clunker? Donate it to an official charity and earn a tax deduction.
Five Auto Features that Fail the Resale Test.
Paul: You’ll drive your new car for many years to come, so selecting features that you’ll enjoy is your main concern. Not all options, however, improve the resale value of your vehicle. Options that will not have a positive impact on resale value include appearance packages like pinstripes, special paint or unique graphics; custom wheels and tires; satellite radio; vehicle telematics devices such as factory-installed navigation systems, and auto-dimming mirrors.
Buy with Resale Value in Mind
McGee: If you keep your vehicle for less than five years, the resale value should be an important consideration. To get the maximum value when you sell or trade, start with a resale-worthy purchase. Research used car prices in your area to determine the best selling vehicle. Focus on features that positively impact resale value, like air conditioning, automatic transmission, leather seats, and rear-entertainment systems. Buy the vehicle that everyone will want to own as a used car!
Low Mileage Top Priority for Used-Car Buyers
Paul: Mileage, accident history and overall vehicle condition matter far more to used-car shoppers than options and add-ons. High mileage will hurt trade-in values and low-mileage cars will sell for a premium. Keep mileage in check – consolidate errands and consider a rental car for long trips.
You’re Not just a Seller, but also a Buyer
McGee: Shopping for financing can be just as important as looking for a car. Loan rates are incredibly low (at AAA some under 2 percent). Consumers aren’t always aware that the same low rates can apply to models as far back as 2009, and that refinancing an existing loan may be a great way to lower monthly payments.
Paul: If it’s a good time to sell a car, it’s a good time to buy. If you’re looking used, a vehicle in excellent condition has no defects and passes inspections, at most has minor surface scratches on the outside and a clean interior with all equipment in complete working order. Looking new? Programs such as the AAA Car Buying Service take the hassle of the process and gets you a great new car at a fair price.
AAA Northeast is a not-for-profit auto club with 60 offices in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York providing more than 5.2 million local AAA members with travel, insurance, finance, and auto-related services.