How pimping your ride can destroy its value

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modified miniMICHAEL PROBST/AP/Press Association Images

People are very particular about their car. Often it's not enough to drive out of the showroom with a bog standard model: they need to either pay for extras then and there, or add their own modifications as they go along. But whether you're painting on go-faster stripes, adding a tail fin, or getting tinted windows, it's worth knowing just what you could be doing to the value of your car.

Glass's Guide has revealed the five modifications most likely to add value to your car - and the five which could make reselling it a complete nightmare.

Experts

As a general rule, they warn that doing-it-yourself tends to be a false economy. In much the same way that botched DIY can knock thousands of the value of your home, a dodgy respray or welded-on extras are not going to make your car appeal to buyers further down the line.

However, even expensive extras paid for in the showroom and installed by the experts often make no difference to the resale value, and in some cases could even damage it.

The five most detrimental mods:

1. Unusual car colours. Naturally if you opt for lime green or neon yellow you are going to restrict the number of people who want to buy it when you have finished with it. However, colours don't have to be completely bizarre to damage values. Even basic yellows, oranges and greens mean a car is less desirable than its black, silver, red and blue counterparts.

2. Alloy wheels. Oversized or unusual alloy wheels tend to be seen as brash and cheapen an expensive car. Glass's calls them the "worst pimping offenders". Adding twenty-one inch wheels on the Audi A8, for example, will set you back a huge £3,500 a and offer little-to-no resale upside. Once they are in place, they are tricky to replace with something more modest.

3. High-end stereo. This is one of the changes that's not going to hurt the value of your car - unless you go for something really over-the-top. However, standard stereos are perfectly serviceable, so spending more on a high-end one will never be reflected in the resale.

4. Leather trims and fancy interiors. Without exception these do not improve the resale value, despite the fact they can cost an arm and a leg in the showroom. If you go for a personalised colour combination you may even end up damaging the value of your car.

5. Fancy climate control. If you have a prestige car, a buyer is going to expect air conditioning when you sell it on. However, paying extra for things like zone control will make no difference.

The five mods that add value on resale

1. By far the biggest boon is the sat nav - which could cost £500 on a prestige car, but will make it worth roughly £500 more on resale, because many drivers cannot cope without it.

2. Black or white paint for the sports model. These don't cost any more than other colours, but resell far better - and consequently fetch higher values.

3. Park distance control (particularly for 4x4s). These will recoup their value on resale, and you can enjoy them in the interim. However, it's worth bearing in mind that fancier parking options won't make their money back.

4. Bluetooth. Drivers increasingly demand these systems, which enable them to connect their mobile phone wirelessly. They won't make all their money back on resale, but will hold 50% of it over three years.

5. Seven seat options on 4x4. These are very appealing to people looking for an alternative to a people carrier, and are rare in the second-hand market so sell well.

Richard Crosthwaite, Glass's prestige car editor, says: "It is so easy to get carried away, ticking the extras boxes when buying a car, but you really need to do some research. Tick the right boxes and the extras will pay for themselves – pick the wrong ones and you could be paying for it in the long run.

"Knowing your extras is just as important when it comes to selling your car or buying second hand – you can point out to the buyer which ones add real value to help justify a car's asking price or know if someone is fibbing about how much a particular extra is worth if you are buying."

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