As expensive as cars are, you want to make sure that you get the best possible deal. That doesn’t just mean a lower purchase price, however, or lower running costs. It also means making sure that you’re likely to get a little more when it comes time to sell it. The next time you buy a car, always keep the final resale value in mind. Otherwise, you can be shocked by just how much depreciation takes away from you.
Keeping more of the car’s value starts at the very beginning when you’re actually buying the car. There are a few things that influence a car’s inherent resale potential. The power of the badge is certainly one of those factors. Some brands, such as Porsche, simply have enough appeal that they will sell well under any weather. Others, like Toyota or Honda, aren’t great resellers because they’re particularly prestigious, but because those names are associated with high-quality, long-lasting vehicles. Vehicle reliability is a big factor in resale price. Cars that don’t need to be repaired as often are naturally going to retain more of their value. They will also save you plenty of money on repairs, so they’re doubly economic.
Even the most reliable of cars need a little love and attention, of course. Don’t rely on the mechanic to make all the fixes and scheduled maintenance your car might need. Get to know its maintenance schedule. You can easily change the spark plugs, the brake pads, the fluids, and the air filters yourself, for instance. If you get in contact with body shop suppliers, you can stock up on abrasive sheets, polishing tools, and cleaning supplies for much cheaper, too. You just might have to buy in bulk. Suppliers offer better prices than your average auto hardware store, but they sell mostly to businesses, so they rarely sell individual products. Of course, keeping the car clean and protecting it from the elements is just as important to the value, too.
You should be careful when it comes to making changes to the car. Some, such as spoilers, are a lot less valuable than you might think since they’re dependent purely on the taste of the driver. There are some investments you can make, however, that will increase the value of the vehicle no matter what. Quality-of-life features like sophisticated infotainment or audio systems are included amongst them. Other changes, like a cold air intake, can improve the performance of the vehicle and add a few horsepower. When you’re making upgrades to the car, think about what you’re really changing. Is it a subjective improvement or is it an objective upgrade that adds something new or improves the performance?
Depreciation is a constant and it starts to apply as soon as you take the car out of the dealership. However, if you’re willing to pick cars that better retain their value, take care of them, and even make a few improvements, your car could return much more of its initial price than you might think.