How to maintain your car's value, by Jason Dawe
1st September also means new registrations, so dealerships up and down the country will be flat out to entice you to buy a shiny new car. But of course, the old spectre of depreciation hangs over your shoulder whenever you consider that new purchase. But while no one can avoid depreciation, you can put the brakes on by following some simple guidelines, thanks to some tips suggested by leading auction specialist BCA (British Car Auctions).
- Maintain and service your new car regularly, ideally with the supplying franchised dealer. A fully stamped service book will typically add several hundred pounds to a car's value at three to five years old.
- Don't buy a low- or base-spec model - they are more difficult to sell as used vehicles. This is particularly important on executive models - examples with cloth trim and a distinct lack of extras will struggle compared to their better-specified rivals when it’s time to sell.
- Limited Editions with quirky paint schemes and garish interior trims can date quickly.
- Choose a factory-finish that suits your car, preferably in a metallic paint.
- Avoid modding your car - Aftermarket body-kits and wheel-spinners are generally a turn-off for used buyers.
- Don't chip the engine - used buyers will presume the engine has been thrashed and you may void your warranty.
- If possible, avoid buying cars registered very late in December - it will be ‘last year's model' in a matter of days. However, If you get a great deal, it’s less of a problem.
- Keep your car in good condition, repair damage before it deteriorates and prepare your car thoroughly before you sell it. Used car buyers like cars that look - and smell - like new. With the latter in mind, don’t smoke in your car.