Do Car Upgrades Increase Resale Value?

Posted on by Defensive Driving | in Defensive Driving Tips

Making modifications to our vehicles is a way to express ourselves and improve our quality of life when we’re behind the wheel. Whether that be custom audio systems, aftermarket rims or exhaust – all aftermarket parts are a way to customize the cars that we spend so much time sitting in. Some people seem to be under the impression that those modifications will increase their resale value. Today we’re taking a look at if your car mods will lead to increased resale value.

Do mods make a car more valuable?

It is unlikely that you will make your money back on any modifications you make to your vehicle. There are certainly exceptions, but the overwhelming majority of people are not going to value your aftermarket modifications into their offer price. If you’re trading the vehicle into a dealership, your aftermarket parts are not part of the formula they’re using to calculate trade-in price. You would be better off returning the vehicle to it’s factory condition and selling the aftermarket parts individually on Social Media.

used vehicle dealership

If I do a private sale, will my mods make my car more valuable?

You have a higher chance of getting value from aftermarket parts in a private sale. Social Media is a tool that enables you to find someone interested in the specific combination of aftermarket parts you installed. However, it’s important to note that you’re almost always going to be better off returning the car back to stock and selling the parts individually. Rather than relying on finding someone with your exact interests who will pay a premium for your aftermarket decisions, it is much more common to be able to find someone who will buy the parts for their car.

What are some mods or upgrades that help resale value?

There are some upgrades that can actually increase your vehicle’s value. A good example of that is high-quality wheels. A set of expensive one piece wheels are legitimately an upgrade in many cases, and might fetch more during resale. However, as mentioned before, you’re probably going to be able to get more if you were to sell the vehicle with stock wheels and sell the aftermarket wheels separately.

Another example of a car modification that could increase price is an aftermarket alarm system. Viper, Avital, Mengshen & Compustar car alarms are upgrades that would be a benefit for effectively any buyer. It’s also a hassle to remove and install them, so this can be a definite value-add in a sale. You shouldn’t expect to get the full value back, but if the buyer is looking at two similar cars, it might give yours the edge.

Some other examples are professional audio systems, paint wraps, and clearcoat car bras. These are modifications that won’t necessarily drive up the value in a meaningful way, but should be a nice plus for perspective buyers.

Why don’t performance mods increase a car’s value?

Adding high-flow exhaust, midpipes, cold air intakes or headers are some of the most common performance upgrades that drivers make. This is another example of modifications that are almost never going to generate additional resale value unless parted out separately. When buying a used vehicle, performance modifications indicate that the vehicle has probably been driven aggressively. Even if it’s not necessarily true, it’s a fair assumption in most cases. Most people don’t install performance parts to make their car faster unless they’re planning on driving it faster. Sure, a cold air intake can be a small increase to MPG… but that’s not the reason why most people install one.

This is especially true as you get into major performance mods. For instance, vehicles with aftermarket superchargers, turbochargers, aftermarket gears, downpipes. There is almost no practical reason to install these mods other than to make the car faster. Even with a professionally done build, the lifespan of the engine and other parts is cut dramatically. There are rare instances where you’ll be able to find someone who is looking for those exact performance parts, but you’re severely limiting your pool of perspective buyers. Supercharger and turbocharger kits are also not something that sells used very well, so the combination of hours required to remove to return to stock, as well as the fraction of the MSRP you’ll likely receive make major performance upgrades like this a particularly poor choice when considering resale value.

The bottom line is that aftermarket parts don’t add resale value

Outside of a few niche situations, you shouldn’t expect to receive anything back when you customize your vehicle. In almost all cases, you’ll need to remove the part later and resell it by itself to receive any sort of resale value. However, that shouldn’t stop you from making modifications to your car. Vehicles are a form of expression for a lot of people, especially in Texas where so many folks spend hours per week in their cars. If a mod will make you happier and enjoy your time in your vehicle more, don’t let us stop you. Your time has value. Improving your time provides value.


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