What Factors Affect Resale Value & Which Cars Fetch the Best Price in the Used Car Market


May 13th, 2020

What Factors Affect Resale Value & Which Cars Fetch the Best Price in the Used Car Market

People shopping for cars spend considerable time weighing many different factors. For many, it's not just about the look of the car or its performance. Some people even take into account the car's possible resale value in the future. That's right. For some people, their car-buying decisions depend on how much their car might fetch on the secondhand market five or ten years down the line.

When I decided on my car a few years back, it never occurred to me to think about its resale value. Looking at it now, I do see the merit of considering it in the purchase decision. 

With all of that said, it begs the question: "What factors actually affect a car's resale value?” We’ll look into that question in this article and a few specific car models that are most valuable on the Australian resale market.

Make and Model

For starters, the make and model of the car is probably the most fundamental thing to consider. Whether good or bad, car brands and specific models have reputations among car buyers. For example, German cars are renowned for their engineering and therefore are considered to be reliable. Japanese vehicles, on the other hand, are better known for their fuel efficiency, among other things.

When buyers look for a pre-owned vehicle, some may be willing to pay a little more for a German or Japanese model for the reasons mentioned.

Fuel Consumption

Some cars, like many Japanese models, are known for their fuel efficiency. In this day and age, a car's fuel consumption has become a critical factor in people's car-buying decision-making. Who wants to dig deep into his or her pocket for a gas-guzzler? Aside from the economic reason, fuel-efficient cars are also environmentally sound. Buyers who are concerned about the pollution they are contributing may not want to drive a vehicle that consumes fossil fuel. This opens the door to other types of vehicles, improving the uptake of electric models in the market.

It's safe to assume that further down the line, people will want to drive gas-guzzlers less and less. So if you're buying a car with the intention of selling it in the future, be sure to take this into account. 

Factors such as the make, model, and fuel consumption of a car are things that you can't change, so don’t count on them when it comes to preserving your car's resale value. However, there are a few other factors that are well within your control.


Mileage is a crucial factor in the resale value of a car. This is because mileage acts as a good indicator of the vehicle's wear and tear. A car with high mileage means that it has been used through and through. Buyers will typically be concerned that it has a higher likelihood of breaking down than cars with lower odometer readouts. For this reason, buyers would usually prefer to spend more money on a vehicle with lower mileage instead.

Interior and Exterior

To get a high price when reselling your car, you'll need to make sure that its interior and exterior are also well maintained. This is one reason why it’s critical to get your vehicle cleaned and polished regularly. On the outside, we're talking about maintaining the car's paint job and any attachments it might have. Inside, you'll want to consider the upholstery, the dashboard, its instrument panels and more.

Over the years, these things will experience a lot of wear and tear, no matter how well you take care of them. That's nothing to worry about though. This is why there are businesses devoted to detailing cars and supplying almost any aftermarket replacements you could ever need. If you're looking to maintain the resale value of the car over the long-term, getting these replacements may well be worth the investment.

After-Sales Maintenance

This one is a little obvious for many, but it's still worth mentioning. To maintain the resale value of a car, you have to make sure to get it serviced regularly. Cars typically have a maintenance schedule, usually every few months or every few thousand kilometres. So be sure to stick to that schedule and take your vehicle to authorised workshops for your particular make and model.

Aside from the wear and tear of car parts, it's also important to consider things like rust. Depending on how old the vehicle might be, its resale value could also be affected by how rusty it might be. Modern cars are usually treated with rustproofing when they're built. However, this too could wear off. Clean the vehicle regularly and invest some time and money for rust repair if its condition is terrible.

Remember: Nobody is going to pay top dollar for a used car with faulty or rusty parts.

Service Records

Keeping up-to-date with car maintenance and repairs is great, but it'll be even better if you had proof of it. By keeping all of your service records organised and in one place, you'll be able to show them off to potential buyers whenever necessary. 

Having a well-documented track record of your car's maintenance will help to maximise its resale value. This is because buyers will have more confidence in paying a higher price for a vehicle if they can see that it’s been well cared for.

Most Popular Resale Brands in Australia

With all of these factors to consider, what used cars fetch the best prices in Australia? Well, it seems that the popularity of specific used car models is closely related to whatever trends currently exist. In simple terms, brands and models that are popular as first-hand vehicles tend to also be sought-after in the secondhand car market. 

So, brands with strong reputations such as Volkswagen, Hyundai, Subaru and others are equally popular among buyers seeking pre-owned vehicles. Despite having been around for quite a while, well-renowned models like the Mazda CX-5, Toyota RAV4, Ford Ranger and more, are some of the most popular models on the Australian secondhand car market, thanks to their stellar reputations.

When replacing parts prior to reselling your car, make sure that you source them from reliable sellers. You don’t want to compromise your sale by using low-quality replacements. That’s how CarPart can help you – by assisting you in locating car parts and automotive professionals the easy way through our website tools. They’re free and easy to use, so don’t waste any more time! Try our parts request tool now

By Ray Hasbollah