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How to retain a car's value

Owning a car can be a joyous experience, the convenience and freedom that comes with car ownership makes all of those frustrating hours spent during driving lessons and tests worthwhile. It’s no wonder then, that when it comes time to sell one of our trusty vehicles there is a small part of us that’s sad to see it go. With that in mind, it stands to reason that you would want to get a fair price for your old friend when it comes time to sell, but some of us can receive less than expected during the valuation of a car. Why is this? What causes a car to lose so much value over a period - especially when the vehicle is only a few years old? Here, we’ll discuss why a car loses value, and more to the point, what you can do to retain as much value as possible.

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Why do cars lose value?

Do you want to know how much your car is worth? It is worth noting that there are many factors that cause a car to lose value, the main influencers are age, mileage and condition.

Simply put, it mostly comes down to the age and condition of each car. While there are tons of factors that determine the overall resale value of a used car, the two primary factors that you should first consider before selling your car is how old the vehicle is, and what condition is it in.

Typically, a car can lose up to 50% of its initial value in the first three years of ownership, and while the rate of depreciation will slow over the coming years, the car will still continue to lose resale value over time. Combine that with any issues with the car’s condition such as high mileage, scratches, damage or mechanical problems and the value is very likely to suffer even more. Then there are additional factors such as service history, market value, manufacturer reputation and market demand, all of which are factored into the resale price of a car.

For those concerned about the rate of depreciation of their car, be sure to check out our guide to how to track the value of your car.

How to retain your car’s value

When it comes to holding on to a car’s value, there are plenty of things you can do to help get the best price possible during your car valuation. By incorporating the tips we share below into your daily motoring, you could help your car fetch the best price possible when you decide to sell.

Avoid over-usage

Do you want to get the best possible value for your car at resale? Mileage is a factor that can cause a car to lose value, so avoiding over-usage can help slow down depreciation.

Firstly, try to refrain from over-using your vehicle. For example, avoid unnecessary trips to the shop or supermarket mid-week, try to get all of your groceries and essentials for the week in one trip to eliminate additional mileage. One small trip may not seem like a big deal, but short journeys can easily mount up over a year, increasing mileage as well as wear-and-tear on the vehicle.

Oppositely, if you can avoid regular long journeys in the car as well, you can dodge a significant increase in mileage and wear- and-tear. If public transport options such as trains are easy to access and cost-effective in your area, they make a speedy alternative that you’ll reap the benefits from when it comes time to value your car and sell it on.

Keep your car healthy

Ever heard the phrase “Take care of your car, and your car will take care of you”? Giving your car all of the TLC it needs over the years will pay off during your next car valuation. Fresh windscreen wipers, well-maintained bodywork and fresh tyres will ensure your driving experience is smooth and safe, but will also avoid any deductions from the value of your car during resale or part exchange.

Regular maintenance and check-ups are also crucial parts of proper car maintenance, so be sure to have your car serviced when scheduled each year. Mechanical issues and concerns can significantly reduce the value of a car to the buyer, as the car will most likely need repair in the near future and may seem like a ‘gamble’. Any dashboard warning lights or glaring issues are sure to put off some buyers, or at least greatly reduce the amount they are willing to pay for the vehicle.

In short, be sure to rectify any existing issues and maintain your car in a healthy, working condition. Not only will this give you peace of mind when driving the vehicle, but it will also help ensure the car is in full working order during its valuation inspection.


External condition:
Maintaining the exterior of a car is also crucial when looking to retain as much of the vehicle’s value as possible. Firstly, windscreen chips can be a concern for many buyers, as they can quickly escalate into a large crack, and in some cases can even result in an MOT failure. Ensuring chips are professionally repaired as soon as possible can avoid the need for a costly windscreen replacement and won’t raise concern with the buyer.Damage to the bodywork of the car such as scratches will likely have a negative effect on the vehicle when it comes to resale value. Should any scratches cut deep enough into the metal, it could result in rust developing and cause further issues, which again, will negatively impact the overall value of the car.


Vehicle Paperwork and Extras:
Ensuring you hold on to all of your car’s paperwork and functional items will help you retain further value. All service history documentation will allow you to sell your vehicle with a full service history, or holding as much as possible will at least allow you to sell with partial service history. Having both car keys (your main key and a spare) will also prevent any deductions from the overall value of your car, and keeping the vehicle’s logbook and user manual will also help avoid unnecessary loss of value. Smaller extras such as the car’s locking wheel nut for alloy wheels or detachable fascias and security codes for the radio are also worth keeping in mind, so be sure to replace any essential items removed from the car before you sell. You can get a free and instant online quote by using our car valuation tool. From there, if you’d like to proceed, you can book an appointment at one of our 250+ UK branches and sell your car at a time and location convenient for you. Value and sell your car the quick and easy way, with webuyanycar.com! With webuyanycar.com you can use our online valuation tool to get a free and instant quote for your car. Visit our car valuation page and find out how much your car is worth today.

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