One of the biggest hidden costs of car ownership is depreciation, and it’s often said that in the first year of owning a new car, that gleaming new investment can lose up to 40% of its value. But how you treat your car will go a long way towards preserving its price tag.
If you’ve bought your car on finance, you’ll want to make sure it’s in pristine condition at the end of your contract term to get the best possible deal when you hand it back. Even if your plan is to sell it on privately, it’ll need to stand up to the scrutiny of buyers.
There are plenty of factors that can impact on your car’s worth. Some stuff you won’t able to do much about, like how desirable your car’s badge is perceived to be. The factors you do have control over, like how well you’ve looked after the paintwork and your car’s mileage, can make a significant impact. Here are some top tips to help stop depreciation putting a dent in your finances…
According to research done by Kwik-Fit, 45% of used car buyers won’t even consider buying a car that doesn’t have a full service history. And industry statistics say that cars without any kind of service history could be worth between 5 and 10% less than those that have one. Having your car regularly serviced is a great idea for many reasons. You might find it drives better for having been maintained well. You can also avoid hefty repair bills and can even expect to see an improvement in fuel efficiency. But the best reason for making regular trips to your local servicing and repair centre is you can preserve that holy grail of motoring: the full service history.
A really simple way to minimise wear and tear on your car is to reduce your annual mileage. If you bought your car on a PCP or PCH contract, you may already have an imposed mileage limit that you’ll need to stick to. It’s worth doing all you can to avoid going over this, as once you hit the limit, you’ll be charged a certain amount per mile. Have a think about your commute – is there a shorter route you could take? Could you plan other journeys better, or do the weekly shop in one trip rather than three? Once you start to shave some distance off your journeys, you’ll see other expenses begin to drop, like your fuel costs.
Nobody wants to drive a car that’s covered in bumps, scratches and dents, so it’s worth preserving that flawless showroom finish to get the best possible resale value. If the thought of manoeuvring your car in a tight spot makes you break out in a cold sweat, opting for parking sensors when you buy your car is well worth it – that way you can reduce the chance of getting in a scrape. As for everyday protection, a fortnightly valet or trip to the car wash can defend against damage from the pollutants, bird droppings and grit that can gradually dull your car’s shine. You can also look after your car’s interior and exterior with the Protect range of products, which you can pick up in any Arnold Clark showroom.
Smoking isn’t just seriously harmful for your health, it’s also terrible for your car’s resale value, with a report by CAP HPI revealing that cars can lose as much as £2000 off their value if they’ve been smoked in. The same goes for eating in your car; oils from fast food can penetrate upholstery and become permanent, and you may come to regret that delicious burger and chips when you’re scrubbing a sticky ketchup stain out of the footwells later. If you do succumb to temptation, you’ll want to clean up the evidence as soon as possible. We’d recommend keeping a mini cleaning kit in your boot, with upholstery cleaner, cloths and a bottle of water on hand so you can swoop in and blast any fast food fallout.
We know it’s boring, but when you invest in any car, it’s a good idea to factor in its future resale value. Here’s our roundup of the best cars for slow depreciation