Colour can affect resale value with gold being the most rapid depreciator. Picture: SUPPLIED
Colour can affect resale value with gold being the most rapid depreciator. Picture: SUPPLIED

Resale value is one of the most important factors anyone should take into consideration before buying a car, says Nunben Dixon, head of Gumtree Autos.

“Unfortunately many of us are still in the dark about pricing our car. We take recommendations at face value or simply pick a car that suits our pocket and taste without thinking about selling it.

“Although a car is rarely an investment that you will gain a return on, the reality is that you are likely to get rid of your car in a matter of years and should plan to recoup as much as possible when that happens.”

According to Dixon, there are a number of factors that will influence how much you can sell your car for, including:

Mass appeal

The popularity and reputation of a car brand is the biggest determining factor when selling your car.  Toyotas and Volkswagens are extremely popular in the secondhand market because they offer value for money and have a reputation as being reliable. 

“Popularity also means that parts are more readily available and consequently cheaper to source, which is very important to a secondhand car buyer.”


Colour can affect resale value. White and black tend to depreciate slower than unusual colours and metallic colours, with gold being the most rapid depreciator. Yellow has been found to depreciate the least – “possibly because that’s a popular performance car colour … it won’t necessarily look great on a hatchback”, says Dixon. 

The market

The car market fluctuates constantly but one of the biggest factors affecting depreciation and demand is the petrol price, which makes petrol guzzlers a touch more risky purchase.

“In the US, Ford had to cancel the Excursion model following a massive 2005 petrol price hike. At more than 3,000kg, the car was extremely heavy on fuel and sales died out.”

Emissions taxes and urbanisation will also play a part.


The average driver racks up about 20,000km per year — the distance manufacturers will use to determine standard warranty coverage. “If you own a five-year-old car with less than 100,000km on the clock, you will probably be able to ask for more than book retail price, depending on the condition,” says Dixon.


All of the points above are moot if the car is in poor condition, says Dixon. “Proper maintenance throughout your ownership is critically important. Rust, scratches, worn tyres, repairs that have been neglected and a dirty interior will all affect your sales price. Make sure that you stay on top of the work that needs to be done, including cleaning, to get the maximum price for your car.”

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