It’s a common misconception that the more loaded a vehicle is with options, the more it’s worth. For a true look into that theory, talk to an automotive technician. The most common phrase you’ll hear is, “The more stuff it has, the more it has that’ll break.” While all the little gadgets, gizmos, and doohickeys that come with your new-car purchase are certainly fun to play with, and even more fun to show off to your friends, they don’t always add to the overall value of your vehicle. In some cases, they can actually send the value in the opposite direction. Knowing the value of amenities before you purchase them can actually help you max out the resale value of your vehicle, making it a much better long-term investment.
Best Amenities to Have
1) Power Everything
Nobody likes crank windows or having to reach into the back seat to unlock a door for a passenger to get in. Power seats are a dream for people who don’t enjoy fighting with that pain-in-the-neck under-seat release handle. If you really want to up your resale value, keep the power.
2) Powertrain Upgrades
Unless you’re talking about an engine/transmission that has a track record for difficulties, then an engine/transmission upgrade is one of the best things you can do for the resale value of your vehicle. Having AWD or 4WD will up your value no matter what model you own.
3) Air Conditioning/Cruise Control
These two are lumped together because you won’t find too many models left that don’t come standard with both. However, they are out there. If you want to increase the value of your vehicle, and your comfort driving it as well, you’ll keep a model that has these standard features.
4) CD Player/Changer/Bluetooth
People love their music, and rightly so. Music can soothe the savage beast in all of us. Not being able to play the particular type of music we like while driving our automobiles can be like poking that savage beast repeatedly with a sharp stick. Consumers have actually gone from vehicle to vehicle on used car lots cancelling out all the vehicles that didn’t come equipped with CD players.
5) The Right Color
Laugh if you will, but young people are one of the top consumers of used vehicles, and most of them are very picky about the color of their new rides. Straying away from odd colors like lime green, neon yellow, and fuchsia could be the difference between reselling your vehicle or watching it sit and collect enough dust to cover its color.
They Can Come or They Can Go
These are the options that can go either way because they end up breaking even in the long run. Adding these options will cost you a pretty penny at purchase time, but they can also make up for it come resale or trade-in time. It’s really up to how much you personally want them on your vehicle.
1) Rearview DVD/Entertainment Systems
For families, this is a dream. For everybody else, it’s more of a “well, it’s there, but we don’t really use it.” If you’re buying a family vehicle, go ahead and throw it in, knowing that it will help you resell the vehicle in the end. If not, skip it and get something you really want.
2) Sport-tuned Suspension
This is an option for driving enthusiasts that will indeed improve the handling and ride of your vehicle. When it comes to value, however, it’s break-even. Many people will love it and crave it, others will be unwilling to fork over the extra cash for something they can’t see and touch.
Known for as many problems as they are advantages, sunroofs are a personal preference. Don’t go overboard on them, but if you like them, they can’t hurt you.
4) Manual/Automatic Transmission
Even though manual transmissions may be more fun to drive, there are still a slew of drivers out there who don’t know how to drive them. As such, you may have an easier time reselling an automatic. However, you may lose a driving enthusiast who’s looking for stick. It could go either way; stick with what makes you comfortable.
Don’t Bother, It Won’t Help in the Long Run
1) Decals/Excessive Body Trim/Spoilers
These can actually turn a buyer away from a particular vehicle. The most common purchasers of these trim options are young drivers and racing enthusiasts. That’s not a huge demographic when it comes to resale value.
2) Bigger Rims/Tires
Both of these items equal more money come replacement time. Bigger rims can actually attribute to a much stiffer ride as well, hindering not only your value, but your own comfort.
3) Anti-Theft Alarm System
Bottom line: If somebody really wants to steal your car, they’re going to. Anti-theft can be a deterrent, yes, but it can be just as much a hindrance. When things go wrong with anti-theft, it can get very hairy very fast when it comes time to repair it.