Value of Hot Wheels: with vs without Package

Several factors determine the value of a hot wheel model car. Among them, according to several experts, is selling Hot Wheels in its original package. But is this true that the value of Hot Wheel or Matchbox cars is better when in the package and loses value out of the package?

As a general rule, Hot Wheels or diecast models lose 20-25% of their value when outside the box. However, people who are good at customizing can sometimes shoot up its price. Ultimately, the value of diecast models outside the package depends on the agreement between the buyer and seller.

This blog post will discuss how much value Hot Wheels or Matchbox cars lose outside their box. We will also discuss some exceptions, such as when models can maintain or have a high price even out of the box. Lastly, a guide on how to open a Hot Wheels or Matchbox without destroying its card to maintain its value.

Do Hot Wheels lose value out of the package?

Hot Wheels and most model cars lose their value out of the package. This is because many collectors also value the box, especially the diecast models in limited edition. This means that most would lose value, especially if the buyer values the box as much as the model itself.

Hot wheels lose value out of the package.

Not only do the hot wheels models significantly lose value from the package, but generally, any diecast model cars get to lose value after being removed from the package.  

This is the general rule, but it is not always the case. Some diecast cars will lose value even though they are still in their original packaging.

Generally, hot wheels lose 20-25% of their value when out of the package.

For example, a model or replica that can usually be sold for $25 can only be sold at about $20 if sold without its box. Or a $30 model can only be sold at about $25 if sold without its box.

Model in Mint ConditionModel not in Mint Condition
$30around $25
$25around $20
Examples of Prices in mint vs. not in mint

However, if they are good at taking care and even repainting or customizing models, sometimes value may go up, but it is rare.

Chances of the value increasing are high if you have those rarest hot wheels models even though they are out of the package.

But note that it also depends on the buyer as some don’t like buying models cars that are not in mint condition. Thus, they would only buy it if the price is low.

This leads to further questions.

Does opening Hot Wheels devalue them? The values of hot wheels decrease when you open them out of the package. However, models with beautiful customization can shoot up the item’s price, but this doesn’t happen too often. Thus, you should only open model cars if you’re confident in your skills in customizing.

With this understanding, it is simple after you have collected the hot wheel in a package, don’t remove it.

Add the model to your collection that’s still in its package.

Recommended Read: If you’re interested in customizing to shoot up the model price even outside the box, I recommend you to read this article I made here: Can you customize diecast models?

But there are those hot wheels collections which, even though they are still packaged, decrease in value.

So, it is not every hot wheel model car whose value increases when packaged.

If a Hot Wheels car is still in the package and is currently collectible or will become collectible in the future, it will be worth more.

It implies that opening your Hot Wheels devalues them now and in the future.

Recommended Read: Many factors can affect the collectibility of Hot Wheels. But, overall, are these models worth collecting? Let’s find out here: Hot Wheels: Are they worth collecting?

Since there are so many of each automobile created and they continue to make more and more models every year, those cars that never become collectible won’t alter much in value if they are still sealed or not.

One factor that makes Hot Wheels a collectible is its rarity, such as being a limited edition, which drives up the price and encourages people to collect them.

For example, are they a treasure hunt? A super treasure hunt? A model from the Redline series? Limited edition models tend to benefit the most from staying in mint condition.

Recommended Read: Are you interested in knowing which Hot Wheels are valuable? What are the treasure hunts or Super treasure hunts? I discussed all that here: How to tell if a Hot Wheel is Valuable?

Honda CR-X Super Treasure Hunt
My Honda CR-X 1988 Super Treasure Hunt

Therefore if you have one of those old rare hot wheels in your collection and still in its package, its value is higher than one removed from the package.

Nevertheless, the value is on the low end even if you have hot wheels in the package, and it is not rare, and collectors are not attracted to it.

In summary, removing hot wheels out of the package devalues it.

But there are also other factors to consider, like if it is a rare model.

Also, it depends if that production were limited, thus meaning in the future, they would become a rare hot wheels model.

Big Tip: You should know how to open hot wheels or matchbox cars without destroying the card or package to maintain its value. I made a YouTube Video on how to open them properly here.

Are Hot Wheels worth money out of the package?

Some Hot Wheels are still worth the money outside the package. This is especially true for Hot Wheels in limited edition or Hot Wheels that were made in the 1960s or 1970s. Because of their rarity, most collectors will buy them at a very high price even without their box.

You now know those hot wheels still in the package are more valuable than those removed from the container. But other factors influence the values of the hot wheel model despite being in or out of the package.

One of the factors determining the values of the hot wheel model is whether they are collectibles. In short, Hot Wheels are worth collecting.

For example, collectible Hot Wheels, particularly those from the 1960s and 1970s, retain great value even after being opened and played with.

It is hard to find the 60s and 70s hot wheels still packaged, but even though they are out of the package, they have a lot of value compared to a 21st-century hot wheel still in the package.

Just because your Hot Wheels have been opened doesn’t imply you should discard them or that they aren’t valuable collectibles.

Although your Hot Wheels have been opened, they still can be worth a lot of money, depending on the model. Things you can ask to identify its collectibility are: how many were created, and whether or not it’s a Hot Wheel error.

Even though the most valuable Hot Wheels are those from the late 1960s and early 1970s, many from the 1980s, 1990s, and even the 2000s can be valuable.

Among the most valuable Hot Wheels that have been opened have nostalgia, were created in a limited quantity, or feature a glitch.

When none of your Hot Wheels matches any of these criteria from the 1970s or 1980s, they are likely still worth it, depending on the model and condition.

Should I keep my hot wheels in the box?

If you really want to retain the value of your hot wheels, you should put them in the box or mint condition. However, because some price increases when beautifully customized, you should also try buying cheap hot wheels and practice customizing your models.

Only practice on models where you’re fine breaking. Thus, I recommend you buy cheap Hot Wheels and practice customizing.

This is because getting good at customizing can increase model car value. The more skillful you are, the more expensive it can get.

I also believe that someone good at customizing can fully take care of their models. Thus, you can keep your models longer, increasing their prices further.

If you’re only concerned with the resale value, keep your Hot Wheels in their original packaging, as this will command a higher price in the future.

On the other hand, opening the box is your best option if you enjoy creating a collection that looks beautiful when displayed or that you (or others) can even play with.

Finally, you should determine if the Hot Wheels you purchase or own are collectibles now or will be in the future.

If they are, you should retain them in the box to maintain their value and resell them for a much higher price in the future.

If you’re obtaining inexpensive Hot Wheels from a store, though, they’re uncertain ever to be highly valuable, so open them up so you, your kids, and others may enjoy handling and playing with them.

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So, here are the things I love when taking care of my Diecast Models.

Cleaning the Models

The first we are going to talk about is cleaning the models.

Removing Dust

  1. Air Brush – For me, this is the best since it not just removes dust but you can use it in painting/clear coating.
  2. Air Duster – This is a good alternative to Airbrush
  3. Normal Brush – If you are short on budget, you can use a normal brush. However, make sure that the brush has soft bristles because there are some hard brushes than can cause scratches. That’s why I recommended a good brush that can do the job properly.

Cleaning and Shining Hacks

Well, here are some of my cleaning hacks for removing scratches, oxidation, and so much more.

  1. Removing Decal Adhesive – Use Goo Gone on those hard-to-remove decal adhesives. It works fast and works like charm!
  2. Waxing and Polishing – Here is something a lot of people don’t know. Waxing protects the clear coat and paint while polishing shines the model. Instead of buying it separately, use a 2 in 1 to save money. Get this instead.
  3. Beginner Wax – The wax I recommended earlier is good and provides the best results based on my experience. But a beginner might have a problem especially if they’re not good at applying wax. Solid wax reaching hard to reach surface can be hard to remove. You have two choices here. One is to use a qtips to reach those surfaces, another is to use a liquid wax I recommended.
  4. Cleaning Wheels, Rubber, Plastic – Do not forget that rubber and plastic surface are quite different, especially in the cleaning process. Just wiping it down won’t do the job. That’s why I use Meguiar’s Vinyl and Rubber Cleaner and Conditioner. Works like charm!
  5. Make the Wheels Shine! – Making our models look good won’t be complete without tiny details such as shiny wheels! Do not forget this because however small this is, the difference can be as big as night and day.
  6. Remove Scratches Easily – Tiny scratches are not the end for your model. Here is a simple trick I’ve been using to make my models look scratch-free even without repainting. Use T-Cut.

Painting the Models

Painting Tools

Make sure when you paint models, have these ready.

  1. Tape – A tape is important if you are painting a straight line. Furthermore, it will prevent your paint to scatter on other parts. I recommend Tamiya Tape since it is really made for models. Furthermore, they stick really well preventing paint splatters.
  2. Brush (Beginner) – Find a good set of brushes to paint your models. Of course, you can opt for an airbrush but it’s quite expensive.
  3. Airbrush (Intermediate/Expert) – This will yield a significantly better result than an ordinary brush because you can easily spray the paint evenly. I recommend this if you know what you’re doing.
  4. Stand(Optional) – Stands are good because it can be hard to manually hold the models while painting. It is optional but in my opinion, the price is well worth it for the comfort it gives.
  5. Drop Cloths – Drop Cloths will protect your surroundings from the paint.
  6. Primer – The most common beginner mistake I see is painting models without any Primer. A primer will prevent imperfections such as bubbles or paint not sticking to your models. It is a small price to pay for quality results.
  7. Clear Coat – A clear coat will protect the paint of your models. This will make the paint last longer. Also, it is the one responsible for making your models shine.


Of course, you can’t do painting properly without paint. So here are the ones I recommend.

  1. Acrylic PaintGood for beginners because it dries quickly. However, it doesn’t produce results as good as enamel paint.
  2. Enamel PaintProvides a good quality finish and longer-lasting paint. However, it takes longer to dry and requires expertise to use.

Model Maintenance

Model Storage

  1. Simple Wood Cabinet – While it doesn’t let you display your models, wooden cabinets are good storage for these models. For one, they are not heat conductors which means that the temperature inside will remain constant and remain cool. Furthermore, they prevent light from reaching the models which can cause oxidation.
  2. Clear Cabinet with Lock – If you want to display your models, then I recommend this. It closes so dust won’t easily get to your models. I also recommend you don’t put more than 1 model in each compartment since metals are good conductors of heat.

Model Photography

So you want to show off your models to others? Well, I got you covered.

Here is my beginner-friendly model photography tutorial that teaches everything from taking pictures to the editing process.

You will also see me doing hands-on photography in that tutorial.

Here is the link: How to Take Pictures of a Diecast Model or Model Kit | Helpful Illustrated and Video Guide

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