The moment you drive away in your brand-new automobile, it is no longer new and will gradually lose its value. However, there are a few things that might raise or lower your vehicle's worth in the market, besides the gradual depreciation that all models go through. Let's take a look at several factors that may increase or decrease the value of your used vehicle, to help sell or trade it for as much as you can.

Make and Model Demand

One of the chief factors in a used model's value is the reputation and status of said model and its manufacturer. Luxury makes will carry more prestige in general, and models that have a particularly limited supply in an area might also be more desirable than usual.


Driving takes its toll on a car, and nothing lasts forever. Mileage is a reliable gauge of a vehicle's condition, so long as it has been relatively well maintained during its ownership. However, an even more important measurement is a car's miles per year.

If a car has a total mileage that breaks down to over 15,000 miles driven per year, that is considered high mileage and could indicate a higher chance of service issues. For a flat total number of miles driven, 100,000 miles is a common cutoff point for a car to be considered thoroughly driven. Others may consider a car in ideal condition for 150,000 miles or longer, but with higher maintenance standards.


Location is another factor that can surprise consumers trying to sell or trade a used car. They might get an offer or look up their vehicle on Kelly Blue Book and find that it is not worth as much in their local area as they thought. No local market is quite the same, and a vehicle that might be less common and therefore more unique could gain more value in certain areas. On the same side, if a car is overabundant in a certain area, that could reduce its used sale value for local drivers.

It's also wise to consider if a vehicle is compatible with the local climate. In a sunny and upper-crust part of town, it'd likely be easier to sell a convertible for cruising on weekends. Try selling it in a snowy mountain town, and suddenly everyone wants practicality, traction, and interior comfort. Also, if a car is from a place with extreme weather, the more extreme temperatures or unusual issues like road salt may have affected its condition. This could worsen such a car's value compared to a similar model driven in a temperate climate.

Aftermarket Modifications

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Image via Unsplash by detroitmetro

If you've installed any aftermarket parts, these may affect the value of your vehicle. Because most buyers prefer cars that haven't been changed, the value of your vehicle may fall if the changes you applied are too niche. Some modifications will be liked by most drivers, especially practical features, but it's also worth considering that aftermarket parts usually require separate insurance, or they might cause complications with general auto insurance.

Body Color

People are picky about what colors they want on a vehicle, so less-desired colors might make it harder to get a good price. However, this also depends on the buyer. One person might consider a more conspicuous color like yellow undesirable, while others might intend to stand out.

Between light and black, generally the lighter the tone, the less it shows dirt and flaws. This is why many commercial or premium vehicles have bright or pure white tones. Keeping an all-black car looking great, however, is all-the-more impressive. The value of a specific body color option also depends on the model. For instance, some vehicles offer special all-black or all-white body colors that cost extra or appear on pricier editions. Some special models have an exclusive color or two-tone configuration that isn't available on the rest of the lineup.

Fuel Efficiency

In addition to being environmentally friendly, efficient vehicles are considered more cost-effective and thus more valuable. Smart drivers will spend a little extra on a vehicle that saves them money at the pump. Buyers who are concerned about pollution may want to avoid purchasing a fossil-fuel vehicle and opt for an all-electric model.

Alternative fuel sources for vehicles will continue to develop and produce even faster, more efficient vehicles, as the past few decades have shown. It's fair to say that barring a few exceptions, less-efficient gasoline vehicles may not retain their value as well in the coming years.


The interior and exterior condition will greatly influence the value of a used vehicle. If the exterior has scratches or faded paint, or the interior smells from cigarette smoke, those factors will make the car less appealing and cut into your potential sale value. Before trying to sell a vehicle, it's common to take it in for a detailing at a trusted dealership service center. You can ensure any major components are running just fine and keep the overall condition fresh.

Service Records

It's one thing to say that your vehicle has been serviced and maintained regularly, but having documents that prove it is even better. Detailed reports will offer more information and corroborate the condition you say the car is in, helping potential buyers feel confident.

How to Get the Most for Your Used Vehicle

Whether you're selling your car to a dealer or negotiating with a private party, here are our four tips to get the most money out of the vehicle.

  • Maintain a reasonable or below-average mileage every year.
  • Clean the car thoroughly and give it a detailing for little imperfections, especially right before selling.
  • Keep up with maintenance and service.
  • Choose a buyer who fairly evaluates the vehicle and how much it is worth.

If you choose to buy from the same dealership you trade your vehicle to, make sure you are doing business with someone you can trust. Check out our Tameron CDJR Fiat instant cash offer using Kelley Blue Book. Our website and team members are at your service to help you sell or trade your used car. Before you sell your car in Daphne, Alabama, why not see see if the dealership with the best resources and reputation can get you a better price?

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