Cooper Solutions — a company who provide dealer management results for the automotive industry—have released their results of a poll that shows, among other factors, that fuel type affects car resale value more than many motorists realised.

Almost half of the poll respondents said they don’t consider their vehicle’s resale value when deciding between a petrol or diesel vehicle.

Drivers ignorant of resale factors

Let’s face it; diesel has had a lot of bad press of late. From the Volkswagen emissions scandal to the overhaul of Vehicle Excise Duty, the sale of diesel cars is falling, yet 42% of those surveyed don’t think about how well their car will sell for, at the time of purchase.

From choosing your car’s colour to smoking in it, are you aware of what would influence how much money you’d get back when you decide it’s time for a vehicle upgrade?

The best-selling car colours change from year to year, but the handful of colours that sell the best seem to remain as black, grey, white, blue, and silver, though some sporty and niche car models sell better in more statement hues. Despite this, only 19% of people in the survey choose their car colours based on resale value, with 12% choosing a colour to reflect their personality.

Of the people surveyed, 49% admitted to regular eating and drinking in their vehicles, yet a massive 77% said they weren’t aware food and drink stains and smells in their vehicle’s interior could affect resale price—something to consider the next time you visit the fast-food drive-thru.

Keeping your car clean, inside and out, will help maximise its resale value, yet only 44% of men and 28% of women say they keep on top of the cleaning. Regular washing of your car will preserve the bodywork and resale value, yet the Cooper Solutions poll revealed that only 36% of those surveyed wash their vehicles regularly.

Decrease in sale of second-hand diesel cars

Resale value based on fuel type isn’t the only thing to consider when drivers choose their cars. There are many factors they weigh up, such as fuel economy, running costs and driving preference.

Professor David Bailey of Aston Business School has said that fewer diesel cars are being sold due to “environmental pressures and consumer confusion”.

Professor Bailey said: “Diesel cars face a raft of challenges, each one of which could damage sales, and which are combining to kill off the domestic diesel sector, which was so rattled by the ‘Dieselgate’ scandal.

“They face a ‘perfect storm’ of bad PR over pollution, coupled with concerns over increasingly strict regulations and sinking second-hand values.”

Conversely, electric vehicles (EVs) are on the rise with new registrations of plug-in cars increasing from 3,500 in 2013 to over 150,000 by May of this year. The number of pure-electric and plug-in hybrid models available in the UK has also seen a huge increase with EVs now offered by several manufacturers as part of their range of models. Environmental reasons and the cost of diesel are driving down the resale value of diesel cars rather than only future resale prices.

Depreciation is the biggest cost of car ownership, so consider the resale value when choosing between a vehicle that’s fuelled by petrol, diesel, or hybrid, and deciding what the best long-term investment is.

Amanda Stretton, Motoring Editor at Confused.com, said: “Diesel used to be the second most popular fuel-type after petrol, but our research shows hybrid cars are now preferred among car buyers.

“Almost a quarter of drivers admitted they would opt for a hybrid vehicle as their next car, compared to just 10 per cent choosing diesel.

“Positive schemes such as competitive tax discounts and diesel scrappage schemes would be welcomed by 57 per cent of drivers who are calling for the government to make it easier to switch to less polluting vehicles.”

Increasing your chance of a good sale

For many, choosing the make, model, colour, and added accessories is a big part of the pleasure that car ownership brings, but if these things aren’t vital to you, consider other factors that will influence how much money you can recoup when you sell your vehicle.

Used car dealerships say the smell of cigarettes is almost impossible to remove and is very off-putting to potential buyers. While driving whilst smoking isn’t illegal—assuming you aren’t carrying passengers under the age of 18—along with eating, drinking, or even changing the radio station, it can get you a ticket if the police think you’re not in full control of your vehicle. If possible, stop, or limit, the number of cigarettes you smoke behind the wheel. Your wallet will thank you for it when it’s time to upgrade to your next car.

Neglecting to carry out regular servicing of your vehicle could cost you money when you sell, yet only around half of those in the poll maintained a regular servicing schedule, with the same number of respondents ignorant of the fact that ignoring or delaying repairs could impact their vehicle’s resale value.

With certain exceptions, such as convertibles and four-by-fours, used cars sell better in March and September, in line with the release of the new registration plates. If you can time the sale of your car to correspond with this, you’re more likely to both sell your vehicle for more and, if buying a used car, grab yourself a bargain.

Dodgy brakes and worn tyres will also reduce how much you might get for your old car. Here the results of the survey were reassuring, with around three-quarters of people knowing that damage caused by hard braking could affect what they get for their old car. As for tyres, make sure they’re in good condition and within legal limits for tyre tread depth. If not, you might lose hundreds from the sale.

Do you consider fuel type when buying your car? Are you concerned about the falling popularity of diesel vehicles? How would you have responded to the poll questions? Let us know in the comments.

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