Modifications that can boost value

22nd of April 2013 | by RateCity Staff

Brash alloys and brightly coloured resprays can hamper a car's resale value, but install the right optional extras and they could end up paying for themselves, research suggests.

By far the smartest addition to your car is a satellite navigation device, according to Glass's Guide. The automotive research firm found that cars fitted with sat-nav held their value better in resale than any other modification. Here are some of the other top modifications, according to Glass's Guide.

Opting for black or white base paint, particularly on sport-badged models, tends to cost little extra, but cars with these colours are easier to sell and tend to have higher value, according to the data.  

Bluetooth, or the technology that allows drivers to connect devices such as mobile phones to their car wirelessly, is in high demand among buyers and such extras typically retain 50 percent of their value over three years, making it a worthy extra to consider.

Basic park distance control, particularly on 4x4 models, made the list. But more expensive parking tools, such as "self-parking systems" and on-screen diagrams did not recoup extra value, the study revealed.

Rounding off the top five additions were cars with an optional seventh seat. Popular with big families who want something other than a "people mover", the additional seating option remains rare, yet highly desirable in the market, the report found.

"It is so easy to get carried away, ticking the extras boxes when a buying a [new] car, but you really need to do some research," said Richard Crosthwaite, Glass's prestige car editor. "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."

Top five that could cost you

Even expensive extras paid for in the showroom and installed by the experts can make little difference to the resale value, and in some cases turn away future buyers.

Topping the list of aftermarket no-nos is fitting "DIY" extras, such as stereos and speakers. The study found that dodgy home-installation jobs caused a car's resale value to plummet.

Big alloy wheels also hurt the hip pocket of vendors, along with high-end hi-fi and stereo systems.

Similarly, unusual car colours such as shades of yellow, orange and green are not as popular as traditional colours, and can make a vehicle more difficult to sell. As can some interior fabrics, such as fancy or expensive leather trim – data reveals that these add no more to the value than a basic full leather option, but often cost significantly more upfront.

Fancy climate control systems can also be money for jam, according to the study. While standard air conditioning was found to boost a car's value, extras such as zone control might be nice, but adds no extra value.

Car insurance providers are very specific about which modifications they will cover and in some cases, failing to notify your provider of any updates you make to your car could void the policy. Shop around for a provider that suits your needs, and contact your insurer before making any modifications.