New cars start to depreciate in value as soon as they are driven off the lot, but no matter what type of vehicle you drive there are several ways to slow down the rate of depreciation and protect your investment.
A car’s worth is determined by several factors, including its age, condition, mileage, and brand value. By keeping your car in peak condition and choosing a model that is known to retain its value well over time, you can increase your chances of making the best possible investment.
The following are a few ways to protect your car and even increase its value.
Protect your Car Inside and Out
One of the most obvious ways to keep your car in its best possible shape is to clean and condition it regularly. The interior and exterior condition of a car is one of the key factors in determining its market value. By washing and waxing on a regular basis, you’ll maintain its quality and keep it looking new. This is particularly important during periods of poor weather, especially if your car is covered in salt. Salt and grit can eat through sheet metal over time. Avoid smoking, eating, or drinking in the car. A vehicle with stained upholstery and the lingering odor of stale cigarettes will be a hard sell.
Research Brand Values
Some brands age more gracefully than others, so if you’re looking at your car from an investment perspective you’ll want to purchase wisely. It’s helpful to look at values of used cars at listings sites like Kelly’s Blue Book. New cars from trustworthy brands like Volkswagen and Ford tend to depreciate more slowly than others, while luxury and classic cars may also be good investments and even appreciate in value.
Take Care with Parking
Your parking location can not only impact insurance rates; it will also impact your car’s condition. Severe weather conditions can take their toll on your vehicle. Hot, sunny weather can crack vinyl dashboards and cold temperatures can cause engine troubles. Park in the shade or in a climate controlled garage if possible. When parking in public lots, try to stay away from other vehicles when possible to avoid scratches and dents.
Keep a Paper Trail of Regular Maintenance
It’s vital to stay on top of a regular service schedule if you want to treat your car as an investment. Routine care will keep your car running at its best possible level, keeping the engine healthy and reliable. It can also prevent potential breakdowns in the future. You’ll want to keep all of your receipts from tune-ups, oil changes, maintenance checks, and even car washes to create a record of your car’s care. By saving proof of this service, you’ll show any potential buyers in the future that your car has been kept in top condition.
Don’t Go Crazy with Customization
A common mistake made by car owners trying to increase their vehicle’s value is to customize it with crazy colors or turbocharged engines. This could be a turn-off to buyers, and a poor financial investment overall. Simply spending money on customizing your car will not increase its value, and in many cases can lower the eventual sale price.
These are a few factors to keep in mind when you purchase a new or used car. Taking care of your vehicle will keep it in peak condition and improve its eventual resale value when the time comes to trade it in.
***Photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/10047629@N04/6057753185/sizes/m/in/photolist-