As soon as you drive a new car off the lot, it loses about 10 percent of its value, says Carfax, a fact that can definitely take the joy out of that once-in-a-lifetime “new car smell.” At the end of the first year, adds Carfax, it may lose another 10 percent or more and continue depreciating each year after that. Even pre-loved cars can lose their value faster than you’d like. So, what’s a car lover to do? You may adore your ride now, but there could come a day when you’re ready to let it go. When that day comes, you want to get top dollar for your car.
To better protect your car’s resale value, consider the following six tips.
- Maintain it. If real estate is all about “location, location, location,” protecting a car’s resale value is all about “maintenance, maintenance, maintenance.” Time for an oil change? Don’t put it off. Funny clicking noises coming from the engine? Get it checked right away. Your car could be trying to tell you something important! Letting little problems turn into big ones could end up costing you when you try to sell your vehicle.
- Keep good records. Holding on to documents such as repair invoices, service receipts, and warranties will help prove what a devoted and careful owner you’ve been. They’re also a bonus for the new owner, as they’ll have a better idea of when the car will need to be serviced again. What a nice perk! Psst! Your documentation should also include the car’s title. You’ll need it to prove ownership and complete the sale of your vehicle.
- Protect the interior and exterior. A top factor in determining a vehicle’s worth is the interior and exterior condition, writes Kelley Blue Book. Wash and wax the exterior on a regular basis to help protect the paint and other finishes. For the interior, consider purchasing a set of low-cost seat covers to help maintain the look and feel of the cloth or leather seats. And if you smoke? Do your best to smoke outside the vehicle. Otherwise, you could limit your pool of potential buyers when it comes time to put your car on the market.
- Don’t worry too much about color. Worried you’ll have to repaint your orange car before you’ll find a buyer? Don’t! Cars with brighter, less traditional colors (like orange, yellow and green) were once considered more difficult to sell in the used car market. Nowadays, the very rarity of those colors could actually help them maintain their resale value. Vehicles in orange and yellow depreciated the least of any color in the first three years of ownership, according to an iSeeCars report.
- Check your VIN report. Every car has a vehicle identification number (VIN) and a report to go along with it. The report outlines the vehicle’s entire history, from the moment it landed at the dealer to the day it was involved in a parking lot fender bender. It includes changes in ownership, accidents, and some service records (since not all repair shops update a vehicle’s VIN report). Checking this report is kind of like checking your credit report. You want to make sure it’s accurate! Otherwise, prospective buyers may get inaccurate information about your car and think your car is worth less than it really is.
- Limit the miles you put on it. The fewer miles your car has on it, the less its pieces and parts have been used and the newer it’s likely to feel. Driving less helps keep your mileage down and your resale value up!
This last tip could help you make more money when you decide to sell the car, but could also help you save money on car insurance by qualifying you for a low mileage discount.* With Direct Auto & Life Insurance, there are simply so many ways to save. Learn more about our low mileage discount and call 1-877-GO-DIRECT today!
*Discounts may only apply to certain coverages and are subject to terms and conditions and may not be available in all states or distribution channels. Price may vary depending on how you buy.