Unless you’re buying a desirable limited-edition new car, or a classic, depreciation is just part and parcel of owning a car. And often the more you pay, the more you have to lose.
While you can’t stop a car losing value, there are steps you can take to help limit depreciation and make sure you get the best price when you come to sell or part-exchange.
Keep it standard
It can be tempting to start modifying and customising your car to make it your own, and there’s nothing wrong with this – providing modifications are legal and are declared to your insurance company.
However, modifying your car will limit its appeal when it comes to selling it – something that could affect its value. If you want to limit depreciation, it’s best to keep your car the same as when it left the factory. Or if you do make changes, make sure they’re reversible.
It’s also worth noting that modifications can be expensive, so you’re unlikely to ever make your money back on them.
Stay on top of servicing and maintenance
A car’s service history record is key to deciding its value. To help retain your car’s value, always make sure that routine servicing and maintenance is carried out.
Some cars need servicing annually or after a set number of miles – it’s often around 12,000 miles, but consult your vehicle’s handbook for this. Others have variable servicing – it’ll need servicing depending on how it’s driven.
Keep hold of any receipts
You might have looked after the car well, but that means nothing to a prospective buyer or dealer if you can’t prove what’s been done. That’s why holding on to your service book and keeping any receipts is essential.
Whenever you have your car serviced, make sure you have the book stamped, and keep receipts for all work – no matter how big or small. By doing this, you’ll be able to show your car has been cared for, making its value higher than a vehicle without such paperwork.
Be careful about where you park
Damage in car parks is something most of us have probably experienced – whether it be scuffs or door dings. And as well as being irritating, it can be costly to fix and reduce your vehicle’s value.
To help limit the risk of damage, think about where you park your car. Don’t squeeze it into the first available space you see – instead try to park away from other cars.
Scuffed alloy wheels can also reduce a car’s value as they’re expensive to fix (particularly those with diamond-cut finishes). To prevent this, be ultra-careful when you’re parallel parking or stopping at the side of the road. When reversing into a space, try dropping the mirror so you can see exactly where the kerb is – some modern models even do this for you automatically.
One of the easiest ways to help your car hold onto its value is simply by regularly cleaning it. You can enlist the help of professionals, but it’s easy to do it yourself if you have the space and ability to do so. Avoid using brushes and old sponges as these can scratch the paint and leave a dull finish, as can using strong chemicals and those not designed for cars – washing-up liquid, for example. Dedicated car shampoo is a much safer option.
Regularly cleaning your car will help to keep it looking its best – and applying a wax or sealant is a great way to protect your vehicle’s paint.
Removing bird droppings as soon as possible is important, as these can easily damage the paint and leave etchings behind.
Don’t forget the interior, either. Even hoovering the inside of the car once a month can help keep it in tip-top condition, and make sure it’s worth more when the times comes to sell.
Find out how much your car is worth here.