Apart from buying a house, a car can be one of the biggest investments that we ever make, but unlike bricks and mortar, we all know that our car will start to lose its value from the minute it drives off the forecourt. This depreciation can be frustrating, but there are ways in which you can minimise how much of its value that it loses depending on how you look after it while you own it.
In this article, we look at some of the best ways to help your car to keep its value, so that when the time comes to say goodbye, you know that you have something which can achieve its best possible price.
Maintain your vehicle
It might sound obvious, but you need to stay on top of the maintenance of your vehicle. Not only can it prevent some costly repairs further down the line, but it can also be a big selling point. Regular servicing which is recorded in your service history log can be very valuable, as it shows that the car has been taken care of. In order to remain legal, you also need to make sure that your MOT is up to date, as no-one wants a car that does not have most of a year left on its MOT certificate. If your car has any warranty left on it, make sure you have all of the relevant paperwork, as this can be a big selling point.
Look after the paintwork
They say that first impressions count for a lot, and if your paintwork is covered in chips and scratches then it is likely to put a lot of people off. You need to start by making sure that your car is cleaned on a regular basis, whether you take it to a car wash or invest in a bucket and sponge of your own. This stops dirt and debris building up which can dull your paintwork and start to dig away at it. You should also tackle any serious marks as soon as possible as bird poo, grease and suncream can all leave marks that can be almost impossible to shift. Having a stock of polish, wax and paint restorer to hand can all help to make sure that your car keeps its shine.
If any major scratches or chips appear, then it might be worth considering having these properly repaired. You should weigh up the cost of a few touch ups against what it might do to the value and saleability of your car to decide whether they are worth fixing.
Protect your interior
It can be easy to concentrate on how the car looks on the outside and forget what is going on inside. However, it is important to remember that as the driver of the car, you probably spend more time looking at the interior than anything else. It is therefore vital to protect this as much as any other part of your car, as a scruffy inside can make hearts sink when they get into it for the first time.
It goes without saying that you need to keep the inside of your car clean and tidy, but you also need to protect the carpets and seats from wear and tear. Investing in good quality car mats can make a huge difference as they not only protect the carpets of your car from dirt, water and debris, they can also prevent mould and odours from forming. When you think about how many feet come into contact with your car, it is easy to see why the carpets might start to look a little worn, so your car mats can provide an extra layer of protection against this.
Seats are another part of the car interior that can start to look tired, particularly if you have pets. Investing in a car seat cover designed for animals can help to stop any damage that might occur from pet hair, claws or any little accidents.
Modifying your car can be great fun, but the modifications that you make are likely to only have a limited appeal. Huge spoilers, alloys and lights under the car are not going to help you appeal to the widest market, and it can severely limit the price that you are able to achieve for your car. If you do want to modify your vehicle, make sure that these modifications are removed before you put it up for sale in order to maximise the number of people that might be interested in buying it.
The mileage of a car is one of the first things that people look at, and the lower it is, the higher the value. It stands to reason that the fewer the number of miles on the clock, the better condition it is likely to be in, so try to avoid adding any unnecessary miles where you can.
Do your repairs
It is no good trying to sell a car that needs a new exhaust or has a leak underneath, as the majority of buyers will not look twice at it. If you know that there is a problem with your car then now is the time to find a garage and get it fixed. A broken car is one which will have a very limited value, so spending a bit of money on essential repairs can have a big value on the amount that you are likely to sell it for.
The depreciation of a car can be quite frightening, so it is a good idea to buy wisely in the first place, by choosing the vehicle that you think is likely to hold its value the best. Once you have your pride and joy, a few simple things can help you to look after it along the way and makes sure that you can put it up for sale for the best possible price when the time comes for you to move on and look for something new.