Car owners could be knocking hundreds of pounds off their vehicle’s resale value with ill-advised modifications, according to a new study of driver attitudes.
Many motorists like to put their own personal stamp on their car but while some choices can help improve a car’s attractiveness to future buyers, others are an immediate turn-off and devalue the vehicle.
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Lowered suspension, custom paintwork or decals, under-body lighting and a modified exhaust are among the most expensive modification mistakes an owner can make, knocking an estimated £200-£300 each off the value. However, the “stanced” look with wonky off-camber wheels is the biggest crime, taking an estimated £310 off the value of a car.
The 15 mods that decrease a car's value the most
‘Wonky wheels’ - £310.71Lowered suspension - £286.29Modified exhaust - £239.08Custom paint job or wrap - £233.44Novelty decals - £226.59Underbody neon lights - £206.15Spinning rims - £196.31Novelty horns - £190.60Bucket seats/racing seats - £187.33Colourful alloys - £186.36Spoilers - £183.91Custom interior - £175.17Eyelashes on headlights - £169.96Tinted headlights - £165.85Christmas antlers - £160.72
Go for the full Tokyo Drift effect with a few of these modifications at once and you could easily knock a four-figure sum off your asking price as well as jeopardise your insurance.
Major changes such as different wheels, body kits and mechanical alterations don’t just limit your car’s appeal but could cause problems with insurance as well. If you declare them you could find your premium increase but failing to let your insurance company know could invalidate your policy entirely.
While big changes are the most likely to harm your car’s value, the research found that it’s “fun” cosmetic upgrades that other drivers hate the most.
Top of the hit list are headlight eyelashes, with a third of drivers saying they can’t stand the cutesy additions. The good old furry dice are also a no-no for just over a quarter of motorists, ahead of noisy aftermarket exhausts and novelty horns.
The 15 most hated car mods
Eyelashes on headlights- 32.25% Fluffy dice - 26.41% Modified exhaust - 26.01% Novelty horns - 25.76% Christmas antlers - 22.97% Beaded seat covers - 19.02% Lowered suspension - 18.42% Car stickers/ bumper stickers - 17.82% Underbody neon lights - 17.32% Wonky wheels - 17.27% Novelty decals - 16.18% Car flags - 16.08% Dashboard accessories - 15.08% Modified sound system/speakers - 14.08% Custom numberplate - 12.03%
The study did also find out the optional add-ons or aftermarket upgrades buyers would be willing to pay more for in a second-hand car. Top of the list were air conditioning and parking sensors, both of which would sway more than 36 per cent of people. Behind them, a reversing camera (33 per cent), sat nav (31 per cent) and heated seats (27 per cent) were among the other valuable features as well as a digital radio, Bluetooth and USB ports.
Carwow’s Web Editor Iain Read commented: ‘We like to think we know cars pretty well, but when it comes to different car modifications, not everyone may see eye to eye.
“Eyelashes on headlights and fluffy dice might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re modifying your car in such a way that it invalidates your insurance or devalues your car, we’d recommend you think twice. That said, we were pretty surprised to see some people would actually try and knock money off if a car had something as easily removable as Christmas antlers!”