Whenever you purchase a car, whether it’s new or used, it begins to depreciate in value almost immediately. It’s inevitable that when the time comes to sell or trade your car you’ll never get back what you paid for it. However there are several things you can do to minimise the depreciation and protect the value of your car somewhat:
Regular cleaning – It’s advisable to keep your car clean by washing it regularly either at a car wash or by hand. If you opt to wash your car by hand then make sure you use products that have been specially produced for that purpose. Washing-up liquid and an old rag may seem like the cheap and easy option but this can dull the paintwork and scratch your car. There are plenty of car shampoos on the market which are specially formulated to protect your car’s paint. Use a specially made sponge or chamois to reduce the chance of scratching the paintwork. Waxing your car after cleaning is important as it maintains the shine and protects your car from potential damage from the elements. A consistently well-waxed car will enable snow and water to roll off the paintwork easily, thus minimising rust.
Regular servicing – Unlike the MOT, servicing your car is not a legal requirement. It is, however, highly advisable to have your car regularly serviced. As a guideline you should be treating your car to a full service every 12 months or 12000 miles. A full service will include things like fluid checks and top-ups, oil filter change, replacement of fuel and air filters, tyre tread, wheel bearings, steering and much more. Some aspects of a full car service will repair and maintain things that the MOT looks for, therefore keeping your car well looked after means it has more chance of passing its MOT. Once you’ve found a respectable garage it’s a good idea to use them regularly. I’ve been using the same garage for all of my MOTs and car servicing in for years as I have a great rapport with the mechanics and they know my Vauxhall Corsa inside out now!
Keep your mileage low – When looking to purchase a used vehicle, most people will have low mileage on their list of priorities. Obviously you have a car so that you can get from A to B without public transport, but there should be some journeys that you can make without your car to keep your mileage a little lower. With fuel prices on the rise it makes even more sense to leave the car at home and walk to the shops instead sometimes. If you often have to make long journeys in your car then try to use motorways as motorway miles don’t cause as much wear and tear as driving on A or B roads. Potholes, stop/start traffic, changing gear constantly etc, over time this can cause wear and tear to the mechanics of your car, thus increasing the need for repairs.
Choose the right colour and car – If you plan to sell your car in the future it’s advisable to stick with a safe colour. Silver and black are the most popular car colours. On the other hand, yellow, green and orange cars are a little more niche and don’t appeal to as many potential buyers. Try to buy a popular car, something that will be desirable to more people in the future. It might seem like a good idea at the time to buy a lime green Prius, but chances are you’ll struggle to sell it for anywhere near the price you paid for it, if you even manage to sell it at all. A silver Ford Focus, on the other hand, is the sort of car that won’t take very long at all to sell; and if it’s been well looked after you may find that it hasn’t depreciated too much in value.
Don’t modify your car – As tempting as it may be to lower the suspension on your Subaru Impreza even further, or get yourself a snazzy spoiler on the back, don’t do it! This will cost you several hundred pounds, and will more than likely lower the value by the same amount or more. Of course if you plan on keeping the car and you’re not too bothered about depreciation or resale then go for it! But if you want to sell your car in the future, then step away from the body kit! If you insist on sticking stickers on your vehicle, make sure they peel off again before you try to sell it. It’s understandable that you want to inject a little personality into your car but that reduces its future resale value greatly. Try to think about the things that you would look for when purchasing a car and apply this to the way that you look after your car.