Once you’ve found the car of your dreams and made it yours, it can be easy to start thinking about all the aftermarket modifications you want to make to it to truly call it your own. After all, your car is a small extension of who you are so why not add tweaks to more accurately reflect your personality. Not to mention modifications can be a fun and rewarding project.
But, how will those changes affect the value of your car when you go to trade it in or sell it later? Well, it depends. While you may think the changes are fantastic and anyone who owns the car after you would be lucky to have them, the truth is, other people may not be big fans of your alterations. They may not care for your ear-piercing exhaust or black aftermarket wheels and dealers know that. If you go to trade in or sell a used car that has too many modifications, it will significantly lower the resell value of the car.
The following are modifications to avoid if you plan on selling or trading in a typical car down the road. These examples do not apply for rare sports cars or other vehicles that people are known to modify. Those are usually in a league of their own and will need to be discussed with your seller or dealer on an individual basis. But if you have an average car and choose to make these tweaks, it means you’ll be damaging the value of your car.
From the bumper and paint job to side skirts, spoilers and roof modifications any collection of exterior modifications made to a car are called Body Kits. These alterations are made purely for aesthetic purposes as most of these tweaks do not actually do anything to improve the performance of your vehicle at all – despite the fact that they look like they do.
Despite the fact that most of these aftermarket parts are added to match the car’s original paint job, it is usually pretty obvious that the modifications are not original equipment. Typically the add-ons are not usually of high quality either. Most buyers prefer the original look of a car which means installing body kits (rather a lot or a little) can quickly decrease the resale value of the car.
Racing enthusiasts and auto tuners alike enjoy a good aftermarket muffler. The real purpose of a muffler is to reduce how loud the exhaust comes out, but in doing so it obstructs the flow of gasses from the engine to the atmosphere creating a negative impact on the engine’s power output.
This popular modification helps to improve a car’s power and fuel economy, not to mention making the vehicle much louder and noticeable – a feature some people really enjoy. However, altering the muffler in any capacity can hurt the resale value of your car, after all, most people prefer to commute with a nice, quiet ride. Additionally, exhaust noise is highly regulated and varies by region. All of these reasons can make it very difficult to sell a car with a noisy muffler.
Aftermarket Modifications to the Engine
Some people have a need for speed and the average engine just won’t do. Some auto enthusiasts love to tinker with their cars’ engines, adding more power or improving fuel-efficiency. Generally, an engine handles air intake in the following way: a piston moves down, creating a vacuum, allowing air at atmospheric pressure to be drawn into the combustion chamber. Combined with fuel, it forms a unit of energy, which is turned into kinetic energy (or horsepower) via combustion, thanks to an ignition from the spark plug. So to make a car have more power, go faster and to increase the engine’s performance a modification is needed. More fuel alone simply won’t do anything more for performance because of the delicate relationship between the oxygen in the air and the fuel required for the combustion. Instead, modifying your car’s engine to accept more air and fuel is the key and that’s just what people do. While it’s not generally a bad thing for a car to have more power, the modification to an engine can still be an issue for resale or trade in.
There’s no denying that aftermarket cars look amazing, plus they help to improve your car’s performance and give it a unique look, however even they can hurt the resale value of your car. The problem with aftermarket wheels is that they are typically just a fad, and fads come and go. Just as “spinners” were popular in the early 2000s, all-white and all-black wheels are all the rage right now. But you don’t see many “spinners” anymore in a few years the wheels that are popular now won’t be around either. So if you have your heart set on putting aftermarket rims on your vehicle and you do not want the value of your car to go down, then do your best to look for premium factory replacements.
It’s not unusual for car manufacturers to put chrome accents on areas in the interior of the vehicle such as on the air vents, shifter and dashboards to add a sophisticated, premium look and feel to the car. Inexpensive sticker options are available to stick-on to various car parts to make them look shiny and expensive. Unfortunately, these cheap aftermarket accents don’t look good for long and they end up looking awkward after a short time. Additionally, they can damage the paint on the car when they are removed. So, even though they are inexpensive in the beginning, they can end up costing you a lot as a huge liability when you attempt to sell or trade in your car.
Aftermarket headlights and taillights are available for nearly every type of car available on the market. They offer your car a unique look that, unfortunately, can instantly drop your car’s resale value. Things such as shoddy installation and inexpensive lights with low quality can end up giving you problems such as water leaking into your car’s chassis. These problems can lead to huge repairs down the road, not to mention completely costing you the resale value of your car. The minute you install these aftermarket lights, the value of your car drops. Additionally, it’s important to know that some of those alternations may be against DOT regulations and dealers will have to replace before selling. Before you install aftermarket lights, be sure to check that they are within the standards of DOT regulations.
Despite many aftermarket modifications and features bringing down the overall value of your vehicle, there are some features that actually make your car more marketable. The following are a few examples of aftermarket modifications and alterations that can actually increase the value of your used car.
A Good Audio System
Great speakers are something that everyone looks for in a vehicle. We aren’t talking the type of audio system that goes overboard with a huge subwoofer in the trunk. Not everyone needs that much base! But when it comes to a premium sound system, that’s something that can increase the value of a car. People use their speakers for more than just music these days. With updated “hands-free” technology, many people make calls in their car and use their speakers to hear the person on the other end. A good audio system can enhance that experience.
Alarm and Anti-Theft System
Not all cars come with an alarm or anti-theft system, so adding one to your vehicle can enhance the value of your car. An anti-theft system is something that all car owners can appreciate. A new owner would probably find it an attractive feature and a dealer would not have to remove the system to re-sell the used car.
So car owners, remember, aftermarket modifications, for the most part, will not get you extra money when it’s time to sell or trade in your vehicle. Essentially the alterations you made were for your own benefit, not the next owner’s, so enjoy your car while you have it but don’t expect to get anything more for it when it’s time to trade it in or sell. In fact, chances are, if you don’t return the car to its original look, then you may actually end up getting less for your car.
If your car is located in or near San Diego County and you are thinking of selling or trading it in and have little or no aftermarket modifications, Driveo is a great way to sell your car. Get a great price for your car without the hassle and stress of selling it yourself. Get a quote for your car in minutes online; or lean more why Driveo is a great way to sell your car!