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Car Depreciation: Tips on How to Avoid Wiping the Value off Your Car

Here are the things you definitely should not do if you want your car to hold it’s value

Depreciation is almost as certain as death and taxes in the automotive world. Unless you’re buying a future classic or a limited edition high-end car, it’s pretty much inevitable that you’re going to lose a significant chunk of the money you sink into the car. It’s part and parcel of vehicle ownership sadly.

We all know that some cars depreciate more rapidly than others, but some owners seem to enjoy destroying the value of their cars more than others do. Today we’re listing the things you need to avoid doing if you want to give your car the best chance of holding on to some value.

Skipping services

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It’s no secret that a well-maintained car with a full service history is going to fetch a lot more upon resale than a like for like car that’s not been looked after. Oil changes, fluid changes, filter changes all add to the longevity of the car, so it’s no surprise that by neglecting basic maintenance your vehicles value is going to drop.

Do yourself, your car and your bank account a favour by sticking to the recommended service schedule and you’ll be just fine.

Using substandard parts

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If your car needs some work done, maybe it’s been in an accident or has some faulty parts, do yourself a favour and go to a proper garage to get it sorted, not the cheapest you can find. You’d be surprised to discover how many cheap mechanics will go to a breakers yard to get parts for the vehicles they are fixing off older models. These parts aren’t warranted and will wear out considerably quicker, thus devaluing your colour.

A dodgy respray

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If you’re thinking of taking your car to a body shop and having it painted in some garish colour… don’t. Re-sprays can seriously damage your cars value, not only because you’ll probably pick a horrendous colour, but also because buyers tend to stay away from non-standard paintwork as it hints at the type of person that might have previously owned the car… Take that how you wish.

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Alternatively, you can get your car wrapped in vinyl stickering to the colour of your choice if you really are desperate to change things up. These wraps are temporary and can be removed when you want to sell, and they’ll also preserve the paintwork beneath.

Taking your dog out

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I know, it’s awful, but the truth is that taking your dog out in the car can really damage the value of the car. Pet odours tend to linger and can stick with the car, giving potential buyers the impression that you’ve not taken particularly good care of the car. Our advice would be to get a rubber boot matt which can be easily cleaned or a large blanket to drape over the rear seats to collect dirt and hair.

Smoking in your car

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Very obvious, this one. Don’t smoke in your car. Not only is it desperately unhealthy for you and your passengers, but all of that smoke is also going to settle into the upholstery and it will be an absolute nightmare to remove - arguably impossible without ripping out the seats and lining. This can cost you hundreds of pounds alone and put off a lot of potential buyers. Do yourself a favour and just don’t bother.

Keep it clean 

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Reduce the risk of bodywork repairs by removing the build-up of salt from gritted roads during the winter months. This can build up along with mud under the wheel arches and the suspension. A hosepipe sprayed under the wheel arches or a pressure washer should do the job. 

Driving for the sake of it

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Most car buyers will set their budget and hit ‘sort by lowest mileage’ when they’re looking for their next car. There’ll always be a similarly aged vehicle with a similar spec as yours and similar service history, the mileage clock might be the only thing that sets yours apart. Those short trips up and down the road can really add up. It sounds simple but get a bike or go for a walk instead of using your car for the sake of it. It saves on fuel but also saves on the value of your car.

Got any other tips to help retain the value of your motor? Let us know in the comments section...


"Driving for the sake of it." Call me old fashioned if you like, but what's the point of owning a really nice car if you're not going to drive it? It's just sitting on the drive costing you insurance and road tax. I'd also suggest that the hipster in the illustration looks as if he's vaping rather than smoking judging by the colossal cloud. (Which also makes the interior stink.)

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