Modification is one of the great joys of being a car enthusiast. The idea of taking something plain and making it your own is enticing to many. That said, not all mods are equal. Some of them could even bite you back in the long run. So, can modifying your car lower its resale value? Let's find out.
We see modded cars on the road every day, and the best of them even command high prices. Whether it’s a hatchback or SUV, is it possible that something you installed on your car to improve it can actually deflate its price? The answer is a bit more complicated than it seems. While car modifications can indeed lower resale value in general, it still depends on the car, the mods in question, and the buyer.
You may have fewer buyers
When you modify a car, you're taking away a significant chunk of buyers who could be otherwise interested in it. Since everyone has different tastes, you'd be catering to a more niche market with a modded car. With fewer buyers available, you may be forced to lower the asking price until someone agrees to take the car off your hands. Now, there are exceptions. For example, if you're selling a modified track car to a racing enthusiast, then they could be willing to pay a premium for what you're offering.
By and large, though, cars roll off the factory as stock for a reason. Manufacturers spend millions in consumer research each year to stay ahead of what works and what doesn't. Most buyers prefer unmodded cars, but does that mean there's no market for them? Not at all, as many do appreciate upgraded cars. You may have to be smart about which mods you install on your car, however.
Choose your mods well
As we've said before, not all car modifications are created equal. Some of them can be more damaging to resale value than others. Mods that directly alter the vehicle's mechanics, like aftermarket turbochargers or suspension systems, could be a red flag to some buyers. Performance upgrades might indicate that a car has been driven harder than usual or even pushed beyond its limits.
Similarly, mods that add load to a car's electrical system can be an issue. A powerful stereo unit complete with booming subwoofers in the trunk may sound awesome, but your buyer could be thinking about the load it's putting on the alternator.
Race-centric mods that involve weight reduction can also affect a car's value. These mods include removing entire seats, interior body panels, and even airbags. A car that has been stripped of some of its safety mechanisms would realistically shed its value.
Which mods won't affect resale value?
It can be tough to figure out if a specific mod would add or subtract from a car's value, but there are some safe bets. Upgrading an older car's infotainment system, for example, may boost the asking price quite a bit. Other safer mods include leather upholstery, low-profile spoilers, window tints, and appropriate rims and tires. Basically, as long as the mods are easily removed and not too flashy, they won't bring down the car's value.
Car modification is a personal choice. If you enjoy modifying cars, then keep doing what you love. When it comes time to sell, keep in mind that some mods can affect resale value. Always remember to keep your original parts and only buy genuine accessories whenever possible.