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Experts say some vehicle software updates can help cars retain value

2020 tesla model x, r m
Posted at 3:14 PM, Dec 16, 2021

Car industry updates say it's important for those shopping for a car to ask questions about a vehicle's software package and its associated costs.

That information will help consumers determine how a car will retain or lose its value over time.

"Do those software updates follow the car throughout its life? Or do they stay with the owner of the car throughout its life?" said Brian Moody, an executive editor at Autotrader. "That's a question you need to ask when you buy the car. It's an individual case-by-case thing.

Moody says there's no specific dollar amount associated with certain features. But if a feature stays with the car throughout its lifespan and it unlocks more power or comfort options, it may be worth the price.

"For example, if we're talking about a Tesla that has more power unlocked as a result of a software update, then the car could potentially be worth thousands of dollars more. But if it's just updating maps or infotainment features, then probably zero or not much," Moody said.

That information can also help car owners decide if installing a software update is worth it.

A recent study from JD Power found that car owners end up not using a third of their vehicle's tech features within the first three months of ownership. The study found that most drivers felt they didn't need the technology or didn't know how to use it.