Selling a Modified Car: How to Secure the Best Price

It’s no secret that there are plenty of people out there who love to tinker with their vehicles original look and performance. From tuning the car to improve usability and performance to adding new features that change the overall aesthetic of a car, there’s a huge range of car modifications that owners make to customise their vehicles.

Putting your own stamp on a car is a good way to make it stand out from the crowd, and express a little of your personality through the design and feature modifications you choose to make. However in most cases, the owner will eventually choose to sell their vehicle, meaning each of the modifications made to the car will likely still be in place when it comes time to sell. So, how do these customised cars fair during a resale? Will the modifications add extra interest and value, or simply put buyers off altogether?

Why Modifications Affect a Car’s Value

All our cars that qualify for it are sold with an AA Inspection Report. Obviously, those that are clear on this report tend to be mechanically sound and this increases the resale value. It gives the buyer confidence in the car.

Cars that are modified normally have flags/black marks on this report as the AA have to test under strict guidelines. You often find that with engine induction kits/remaps, suspension lowering and bigger wheels for example, that although they may have been modified professionally it changes the car as a whole, and therefore the AA can’t (and in most cases won’t) guarantee under the report and highlight their findings.

Buyers are wary of this and although there is a market for these types of vehicles, you do limit your buyer base. Therefore before purchasing, buyers must take into consideration the following:

Why Modifications Affect a Car’s Value

All our cars that qualify for it are sold with an AA Inspection Report. Obviously, those that are clear on this report tend to be mechanically sound and this increases the resale value. It gives the buyer confidence in the car.

Cars that are modified normally have flags/black marks on this report as the AA have to test under strict guidelines. You often find that with engine induction kits/remaps, suspension lowering and bigger wheels for example, that although they may have been modified professionally it changes the car as a whole, and therefore the AA can’t (and in most cases won’t) guarantee under the report and highlight their findings.

Buyers are wary of this and although there is a market for these types of vehicles, you do limit your buyer base. Therefore before purchasing, buyers must take into consideration the following:

1

Insurance

Insurance companies make certain assumptions when you take out a new policy with them. As far as insurance companies are concerned, your car is exactly as it came from the factory. If the car is heavily modified and not declared, you run the risk that insurance will not pay out in the event of an accident.

Warranty and service plans

All cars come with a warranty. Most vehicles these days are also sold with a service plan as standard, with some higher-end products covering even more than the routine services with comprehensive plans. Yet with modifications, there’s a high risk of voiding manufacturer warranties and service plans, so if the modified car is newer and still under warranty, the buyer has to assume that the warranty may be useless, and therefore voids any value the warranty would have added.

2
3

Reliability

Performance modifications will generally make your vehicle less reliable in the long run due to the additional strain endured by its various components during higher speed, acceleration or ‘extreme’ usage over the years. With this in mind, buyers then have to judge whether the car has been modified professionally or not. In many cases modifications are done by the owners at local garages and not at official modification specialists, further lowering the reliability of the vehicle and casting further doubt in the buyer’s mind.

Safety

This is probably most important of all. If the engine, suspension etc. has been altered, can the buyer be truly sure that it is safe? Buyers have to retail these cars at some point and don’t always wish to go to the expense of putting things right if it’s a ‘botched job’, so any rectifications the buyer will have to make before resale will again likely be removed from the value of the vehicle.

4
1

Insurance

Insurance companies make certain assumptions when you take out a new policy with them. As far as insurance companies are concerned, your car is exactly as it came from the factory. If the car is heavily modified and not declared, you run the risk that insurance will not pay out in the event of an accident.

2

Warranty and service plans

All cars come with a warranty. Most vehicles these days are also sold with a service plan as standard, with some higher-end products covering even more than the routine services with comprehensive plans. Yet with modifications, there’s a high risk of voiding manufacturer warranties and service plans, so if the modified car is newer and still under warranty, the buyer has to assume that the warranty may be useless, and therefore voids any value the warranty would have added.

3

Reliability

Performance modifications will generally make your vehicle less reliable in the long run due to the additional strain endured by its various components during higher speed, acceleration or ‘extreme’ usage over the years. With this in mind, buyers then have to judge whether the car has been modified professionally or not. In many cases modifications are done by the owners at local garages and not at official modification specialists, further lowering the reliability of the vehicle and casting further doubt in the buyer’s mind.

4

Safety

This is probably most important of all. If the engine, suspension etc. has been altered, can the buyer be truly sure that it is safe? Buyers have to retail these cars at some point and don’t always wish to go to the expense of putting things right if it’s a ‘botched job’, so any rectifications the buyer will have to make before resale will again likely be removed from the value of the vehicle.

How to Sell Modified Cars

Often, the biggest problem with selling a modified car is finding a buyer. As mentioned in the above section, modifying your car can significantly refine your buyer base. It’s fair to say that most domestic buyers who are in the market for a new vehicle are looking for something a little more predictable than a modified car.

Luckily, we provide a quick and simple service that allows you to sell any car to us, regardless of modifications. Simply begin by heading to our car valuation page, there you will be able to enter your reg number along with some other simple details and find out how much your car is worth. Once you receive your initial online quote, you can then book an appointment at one of our 200+ UK branches, meaning there’s sure to be one within a short drive of your location.

Your online valuation will last for 7 days, starting from the day you get your initial online car valuation; be sure to read our guide to the 7 day guarantee for tips on why it’s useful and how to use it to your advantage.

At your appointment you can sell your modified car to us quickly and easily, just be sure to bring as much of the service history and relevant paperwork as possible so we can see what work has been carried out on the vehicle.

What You Need to Bring to Your Appointment

So, if you’re happy with your online quote and want to dodge all of the hassle that comes with selling a car privately (which is especially prominent when trying to sell a modified car privately), then you came to the right place!

As mentioned above, simply book an appointment to see one of our friendly expert vehicle purchasers at your local webuyanycar.com branch (our appointment-booking system will show following your online car valuation) and be sure to bring the following items along to your appointment:

  • V5 Logbook/reg certificate
  • Service history and MOT certificates
  • Any paperwork or service history regarding modifications or customisations made to the car
  • Both sets of car keys if possible
  • Bank details of car owner/seller
  • Finance settlement letter if appropriate
  • Essential extras including wheel locking nut, radio security codes etc.

The more we know about the modifications made to the car, the better idea we have about any work or repairs that may need to be carried out on the vehicle, which will likely result in a better final valuation than a customised car with no official documentation.

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