Like in real life, fuel, components, and upgrades all cost money. As does your stays in the various Motels you will find in the Border Towns you will travel to. If you are not careful you can rapidly spend the money leaving you broke and unable to continue.
There are however ways of making money, such as selling off components or other times of value that you can find along your trip. You can sell anything that has above 0.00 sell value, anything with a 0.00 sell value cannot be sold and is better left where you found it. However, if an item has a 0.00 buy value and extremely high sell value then that item is contraband and you can sell it for a lot of money if you are not caught by the authorities.
Any component with at least Condition 1/3 can be sold at either a Gas Station or the Outershop.
The first thing you need to know of is the Wallet and where to find it. This item holds all your cash and by default comes with just 100 currency and is located in the glove compartment on the passenger side of the car.
Every time you want to buy or sell something, you need to get your wallet and bring it to a sales counter. Clicking said counter with it in hand will add or subtract money depending on whether you are buying or selling items. Dropping it will have it magically teleport back to the glove compartment.
Be careful cause you can accidentally store it in either the trunk or on the rack. So if you misplace it check those locations to see if that is where you put it.
Gas Stations are indicated on your map by a Gas Pump icon and seem to appear on any route longer than 210 km. With a Stock Fuel Tank, the 210 km distance seems to use up nearly all your fuel.
At Gas Stations you are able to top up your fuel tank and buy any supplies you may need for your journey, so long as said Station has the item in stock. The items in stock are set randomly, so you will not always find what you are looking for.
More importantly, you can sell nearly anything at the Gas Station.
Note when purchasing items the gates to a Gas Station will close until you either pull the lever to cancel the transaction or pay the attendant. If you have paid and the gates seem bugged and are closed then pulling the lever might fix it. Possibly you picked up something to check the price and put it back, only the game didn’t recognize that.
The Outershop functions in an identical manner as the Gas Station, it even has a Gas Pump. The main difference is that unlike the Gas Station you can offload any Contraband you have managed to acquire here. The Outershop though only appears in Border Towns, so you can only visit one when you stop in town for the night.
Unlike the previous two stores, you can not sell anything at the Dealerships, which like the Outershop only appear in Border Towns. You can, however, buy upgrades for your Laika at these locations. Such as more storage via the rack, a protective bumper, mud flaps, and replacements for any components with the exception of tires.
If you have the money the replacements you buy can massively increase the performance of your Laika. However, the upgrades found here can be somewhat expensive which means you need to figure out how to make money in order to get these juicy upgrades.
How to make a Profit
You gain money by selling items or components. Any component that doesn’t have zero condition can be sold for the selling price listed when you are holding it. On the road, you will come across boxes, both cardboard and wooden.
These boxes contain items that potentially can be worth money or nothing at all. Initially, you can only open cardboard boxes. You do this by carefully clicking on the packing tape holding it closed. Clicking anywhere else on the box will pick it up.
Inside the box, you will find items, some of which are potentially Contraband. When you pick up an item you want to check the selling price, so long as it doesn’t say 0.00 then you can sell it at either a Gas Station or Outershop. These items are of various sizes and take up varying amounts of your cargo space. So you have to pick and choose just what items you want.
Wooden Boxes work the same way however unlike Cardboard you need a tool to open them. That tool is a crowbar and can sometimes be found at a Gas Station, however your more likely to find one at the Outershop hanging on a cork board display above a car jack.
The crowbar is used to on the Wooden Box’s lock, which will promptly pop open the Box so that you can get the items. Again check whether or not the items have a sell value before loading them into the trunk or on the rack. It can be quite frustrating to get all the way to the store before finding out you can’t actually sell the item in question.
1) The Chop Shop Method – This strategy is quite simple and can potentially get you a lot of money early on. It takes advantage of the fact that currently, everything at the Starting Location respawns each time you restart or load a save. And I mean everything with the sole exception of the door you put on the Laika.
What that means is you can construct your Laika, travel to either a Gas Station or Outershop, and then proceed to strip your car of every component with the exception of two of the tires. Then once you’ve been paid by the attendant, use Restart from the Escape Menu to return to your starting location.
Then rinse and repeat. The downside of this method is having to rebuild your Laika every time you restart. The positive is, however, engine components can get you quite a bit of money initially. It, however, becomes less viable the more you upgrade and customize your Laika’s engine.
2) Infinite Cargo Runs – This works on the same principle as the Chop Shop Method, only instead of components, you sell the car jacks, jerry cans, oil bottles, toolboxes and whatever you can fit in the storage at the Starting Location. You then drive to either a Gas Station or Outershop and sell everything in your storage before restarting again.
This can be combined with the Chop Shop Method, however, the cons to this are wear and tear on your components if you don’t swap them out with the stock items at home.
3) Item Hunting – In this method, you start off with a Laika only loaded with the bare essentials and pick a particularly long route. As you drive you to keep an eye on the right side of the road when on the Autobahn or in little side roads later on. You are watching for boxes abandoned in various locations. Initially just the cardboard boxes, and later, once you have the crowbar, the wooden ones.
This option can potentially be the most rewarding in terms of cash, however, it depends heavily on the Random Number God in order to make a profit. This is also the intended way to make money once the game is completed. The cons are the need for sufficient storage space as well as wear and tear on your components.
To make this viable off the Autobahn you at least need to have also upgraded your fuel tank so that you don’t get stranded.
4) Ground Hogs Wine – The concept of this particular strategy is another idea that uses the groundhog’s effect to your advantage. Only with this one you are specifically using wine. Simply put pricing of trade items do not get set until you generate a route.
Wine currently has the greatest price variance in the game. It can either be fairly cheap or extremely expensive. If you pick up wine, either finding it on the road or buying at a shop when it has a low price. You can restart and regenerate your routes until you get the best price on the wine to sell it.
This however only works with found or bought wine, as items flagged as stolen get turned into trash bags when you restart.