A car is a major investment. In fact, for most of us, it’s one of the biggest we make throughout our entire lives. However, unlike most other investments, vehicles don’t hold their value over time. Instead, they, unfortunately, start to depreciate from the moment you drive them off the dealership’s lot. This means that, when it comes time to sell your vehicle, you’ll lose a significant sum of money in the process. Depreciation is one of the biggest costs of car ownership, but, thankfully, it is one that you can combat. With that in mind, here are thirteen things you can do.
- Choose The Right Make
When it comes time to buy a car, there are lots of options for you to consider. To get the most back for your vehicle, you should opt for makes and models known for their quality and reliability. MINIs and BMWs are popular choices as of late. It will also benefit you to choose a car that has a good warranty. This will make maintenance cheaper for you, but also makes your vehicle more attractive to future owners. Steer clear of big, expensive cars, as they tend to depreciate more.
- Stick To Neutral Colors
Bright and unusual colors may reflect your personality and style, but like selling a house, this can also have a negative impact on the resale value. It can also make it much harder to sell your vehicle at all. For this reason, you may want to stick to neutral colors and avoid airbrushing and decals at all costs. If you can’t hold back from pimping your ride, you should at least get a light-colored paint job before you put it up for sale. The more “standard” you make it look, the better.
- Buy A Used Vehicle
New cars depreciate a lot faster than most used ones do. Because of this, you should go used car shopping, rather than hunting for a brand new vehicle. This allows you to avoid a huge chunk of the car’s depreciation right away, potentially saving you a lot of money. That being said, this will only work if you choose the right vehicle. The older or less cared for the car, the higher the chance there is that it will have problems, which cancels out the benefit of slower depreciation.
- Start Shopping In January
If you plan to buy new anyway, you should start shopping at the very beginning of the year. A car’s year of purchase is one of the key factors establishing its book value. This means that, if you bought a vehicle towards the end of a year, you’d see a much smaller resale value than you would have done buying a car just a few months later. This is because your car will appear a whole year older, rather than only a handful of weeks, making it seem a lot less reliable.
- Hold Onto Your Manual
Your owner’s manual and service book are, of course, incredibly important, but what most people don’t realize is that losing or throwing away these documents can actually cost you money. A car without these papers, after all, is going to immediately arouse suspicion, meaning that fewer people will be willing to buy yours for a fair price. A car with both of the documents up to date, on the other hand, is a lot more attractive and should sell for its true value.
- Follow The Maintenance Schedule
The best way to boost your car’s resale value is by taking proper care of it. This means following the maintenance schedule usually documented in your owner’s manual. This will tell you when your car should be serviced, as well as when to change the liquids, oils, filters, and other essentials. By following this timetable, you should be able to keep your vehicle in a good working condition, reducing the chance of costly mechanical or electrical faults any time soon.
- Watch How You Drive
Cars that have been driven poorly tend to reveal themselves during a test drive. The performance of a vehicle while braking, accelerating and cornering can all give potential buyers an idea of whether or not you have driven your car with care. With that in mind, you should ensure you pay attention to how you drive and make an effort to do so better, avoiding speeding or harsh braking. This will reduce the chance of your car becoming damaged while you drive.
- Keep The Mileage Low
Unfortunately, it’s not just how you drive, but how far you drive that plays a part in determining the value of your vehicle. In fact, mileage is one of the main factors that most buyers consider. For this reason, it’s crucial that you keep the mileage of your car as low as you can. The easiest way to do this is by not using your car for any long distance journeys. Instead, stick to city driving only, and rent a car if and when you want to take a road trip across the country.
- Ensure It Stays Clean
Persistently dirty cars lead to body corrosion, permanent stains, and faded carpets, all of which can negatively impact the value of your vehicle. If your car is also dirty upon viewing, it makes it less attractive to potential buyers, suggesting your lack of care could also have contributed to unseen issues. Because of this, you should make sure that you clean or have your car cleaned regularly. You should also take precautions by investing in seat covers and floor mats.
- Store Inside Your Garage
These days, garages are typically used as dumping grounds for old furniture, sports equipment, Christmas decorations, and other unwanted junk. However, you should give your storage space a good clear out and instead use it for what it was intended – Protecting your car. This is especially important if you live somewhere with a particularly harsh climate. After all, extreme weather, whether it be hot or cold, can physically damage your vehicle and harm the engine.
- Leave Unpleasant Odors Outside
We all love and expect a new car smell, even when purchasing a car that isn’t actually new. Because of this, you should avoid giving your car any unpleasant odors. Whether it is cigarette smoke, wet dog, or greasy food, any unwanted smells can really put off a potential buyer, so it’s best to keep them out of your car. It also helps to have an air freshener hidden somewhere in your vehicle for when buyers do come a have a look.
- Pick Your Modifications Carefully
Modifications may seem like the best way to increase the value of your vehicle, but, although they sometimes can be, they definitely aren’t always. This is especially true when purchasing a brand new car. From expensive sound systems to larger wheels, there are a number of add-ons that simply won’t carry their value when it comes time to sell your car. Typically boy racer type modifications can be particularly off-putting and should be avoided where possible.
- Know When To Sell
When it’s possible, you should time the sale of your car in a way that maximizes its value. This means avoiding selling your vehicle when the manufacturer has just released a new model. You should also ensure you sell in the right season. A convertible, for example, is best sold throughout the spring and summer, when most drivers will want to take advantage of having the top down. Of course, it isn’t always possible to do so, but when you can, it is beneficial.
Depreciation is a cost no car owner can avoid, but, with these helpful tips, you can combat and minimize it.
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