Your Single Biggest Car Expense – And What to do About it

If you were to guess what car expense is costing you the most money, what would it be? Your loan payments? Gas? Repairs? Regular maintenance?

Turns out it’s none of the above! The answer is actually: depreciation. For most people, a car is their second most valuable asset (after their home). But, unlike a home, a car loses its value every year.

You probably need a vehicle – to get to work, to run errands, to visit friends and family – so opting out of car ownership is likely not the right solution. Instead, consider these 15 ways you can protect against depreciation.

Buying your car

1. Consider a slightly used car – Buying a car that is around two years old might be the best option. Cars lose most of their value in the first two years, then depreciation slows. So, by buying a slightly older car, you’ll save money upfront and be able to sell it in a few years for a price much closer to what you paid.

2. Manage your budget – A longer term on your car loan might equal small payments, but that might not be good news in the long run. Instead, many car owners are finding themselves in a negative equity situation – meaning they owe more on their car loan than the car is worth. Instead, budget for a car that you can pay for with a shorter loan term.

3. Research your options – Some cars retain their value better than others, so a little bit of research upfront could pay off in the long run.

Auto Expense

Owning your car

4. Get regular car washes – Washing your car does more than keep it pretty – it actually prevents damage. Accumulated dirt can chip away at your car’s paint, and in the winter, salt from the roads can do even more damage.

5. Keep up to date with routine maintenance – Checking and replacing your car’s air filter, keeping your tires properly inflated, and getting regular oil changes should all be part of a regular maintenance program. Staying on top of these little things can prevent wear and tear and keep your engine in tip top shape.

6. Fix scratches and dents – First of all, scratches and dents just look bad and make your car less attractive to potential buyers. And the paint on your car is for more than just decoration – it also protects the metal underneath. By not fixing scratches and dents, you’re leaving your car unprotected and the resulting rust will depreciate the value of your car. With a little research and a YouTube tutorial, you might even be able to touch up some minor scratches, scuffs and chips yourself.

7. Choose your parking spot wisely – Speaking of scratches, it might seem paranoid, but being picky about where you park could save the body of your car from dings and dents. If you can find a spot in a less crowded area of the parking lot, take it. You might have a longer walk to the store, but a little exercise won’t hurt!

8. Don’t smoke in the car – Not only is smoking bad for your health – and your wallet – but it’s bad for your car. The smell of smoke will cling to the upholstery inside your car and will be hard to remove. For most potential buyers, this is a real turn-off.

9. Keep the mileage low – This one won’t be a surprise: the more kilometres you clock on your car, the less money it’s worth. It could be hard to avoid, though, especially if you have a long commute to work or love taking weekend road trips. Taking public transportation to work can help lower your mileage (and maybe your stress – if stop-and-go traffic is ruining your day). You could also consider renting a car for weekend road trips – the cost is minimal and for frequent travellers the lower mileage on your own vehicle might increase its value when it’s time to sell.

10. Fix problems as they arise – Have you ever noticed something always goes wrong with your car when you’re already strapped for cash? Putting off repairs – even if they seem non-essential – runs the risk of exacerbating what started as a small problem. At the very least, all those little issues you’ve come to accept as normal will probably seem like a bigger problem to a potential buyer.

11. Keep a file of your records – If you’re going to the trouble to keep up to date with regular maintenance, fix scratches and dents, and repair problems as they arise – you should take the extra step of filing away the records of all the work you’ve had done. This will demonstrate to potential buyers that your vehicle has been well maintained.

Selling your car

12. Wax the exterior-  A nice coat of wax on your clean car will have it looking shiny and next to new.

13. Polish or replace your headlights – Your car looks great from regular cleanings and a coat of wax, so don’t let cloudy headlights ruin the look. This is something you should be able to do yourself, but check your car’s manual before you get started.

14. Declutter and vacuum the inside- Would you want to test drive a car littered with someone else’s garbage? It won’t take long to clean out, dust and vacuum your car so that potential buyers can feel like VIPs when they take it for a spin.

15. Take eye-catching photos – You’re car is looking great, and you’re ready to sell it for top dollar! Make a good first impression with potential buyers by posting great pictures. Take a tip from the pros and shoot your photos in the ‘golden hours’ just after sunrise or just before sunset. And show-off your car from a variety of angles, so your potential buyers can see that it’s in good shape overall.

Some of these tips might cost you a little money upfront, but maintaining the value of one of your biggest assets will hopefully save you money in the long run.

Ari Rush is the president and founder of Rush Ventures, a full service digital agency offering web development skills, paid marketing, and SEO services to businesses. Apart from its’ elite team of professionals, and dozens of positive reviews, Rush Ventures can boast a successful history of lucrative business dealings.

Rush is the former owner of a successful social media marketing company that fostered over 1,000 clients, many of which rely on his expertise to this day. This entrepreneur has also founded and owned a marketing company that helped over 1,500 customers generate online traffic, all earned through verified white-hat methods.

1 Comment

  • In fact, the vast majority of electric car heaters are significantly less powerful . Since then, neither system has developed a Freon leak. This is not a permanent solution. I think so!

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