Regular cleaning protocols must include more specialized services like cleaning of the upholstery. Picture: SUPPLIED
Regular cleaning protocols must include more specialized services like cleaning of the upholstery. Picture: SUPPLIED

Many cars owners, more so first-time buyers, become aware that cars depreciate a lot when it’s already too late.

This usually unfolds as a nasty surprise come sell off time, and those who have been bitten are now twice shy. For the uninitiated, here are some pointers in how to ensure your vehicle retains a good resale value while in your possession.

Starting with the basics, a vehicle decreases in value the older it gets and your ownership style eventually has a hand in the ultimate price it will fetch when you sell it.


Any item of value will fetch a good price if a previous owner took great care of it and avoiding dents or crashes to your car while in your possession is highly recommended as a basic.

Maintenance of mechanicals is also important. Don’t overrev the engine, slide the car about or do anything that will be detrimental to the efficiency of its engine, gearbox, suspension or any other aspect like electrical components.

Taking your swanky and new 4x4 bakkie or SUV for some deep river fording will quicken your experience of electrical gremlins.

A vehicle with a timeous and manufacturer-approved service history is also highly sought after by pre-owned buyers so ensure to take it to an accredited workshop for all scheduled service intervals. Also be mindful of kilometres racked up. Vehicles with high mileage repel potential owners.  


Keeping a car in good condition also means to maintain the cabin. Regular cleaning protocols must include more specialised services like cleaning of the upholstery.

If fitted with leather seats then a good polishing ointment should be applied regularly, and give attention to scuff marks, loose seat piping, holes in seats and change the internal sponge material if it starts to sag.

Carpets should also be tight fitting with no holes and no funny smells. Fix any loose or damaged items like speedometers, air conditioning, backlights and even the radio/disc/USB/Aux ports.

If fitted with convenience items like Bluetooth, head-up display or gesture controls, ensure they are still in working condition.   

Brand Power

As car fanatics we don’t like to discriminate but the fact is some brands are stronger, more reputable and ultimately more sought after than others. If you intend to resell your car later it is a good idea to invest in good selling brands with fuss-free ownership experience reviews.


You may be after a sedan or MPV but find that buyer trends are shifting towards SUVs and crossovers, just as is currently happening. If you can buy according to the latest buyer preferences you will avoid a hard sell later on.   


Paint is a personal choice but most buyers in SA are drawn to certain colours and put off by others. White and light shades of grey are the most popular when it comes to your typical segments. More garish colours seemingly get popular the higher you go up the pricing spectrum.

An orange Porsche 911 would likely sell well but a tangerine VW Polo is a hard swallow for many. Also, according to a few police officers I interviewed, if you want to be constantly pulled over at road blocks then buy a red car.


Ticking off the options boxes with not a care in the world is fine if you intend to keep your vehicle forever. Certain specs present a nightmare for would-be owners of your used car.

People generally don’t want to buy vehicles with expensive items to maintain so perhaps forego that head-up display and low-profile wheels. A bright red interior maybe a novelty for you but not everyone wants Moulin Rouge recreated in their cars.  

Aftermarket modifications

A good-looking set of aftermarket wheels may be enticing and wily owners will know to keep the original set in the garage to fit when they sell the vehicle. Wide body kits, side skirts and biplane inspired rear spoilers are not going to do your resale values any favour when dealers evaluate your car.

A booming sound system is a gamble. A small hatchback with a cracking music system can attract younger buyers but consider that family types seek usable boot space instead.

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