While it’s a normal for cars to depreciate in value, it’s also possible on the rare occasion for them to appreciate. As with most things, cars appreciate based on what society deems desirable. This often comes down to a car’s rarity, popularity, and nostalgia factor.

Whether you’re a collector looking for the right cars to join your set or an enthusiast seeking an eventual profit, these are the important steps to take to encourage a car’s appreciation.

How to make your car appreciate

The most important step in seeing your car’s value rise is simply looking after it. Keeping on top of regular oil changes, rotating the tires, maintaining the breaks, etc. is the easiest way to keep your car in good condition.

You should also try to avoid making major changes to the car. Maintaining its original condition will make the car more appealing as time goes on. This includes the owner’s manual and car information stickers being well kept.

Car fanatics also like to see the original paint job on classic cars, so this is crucial when it comes to the car’s long-term value. To keep it in the best condition possible, keep the car indoors (ideally from new) and keep it out of harsh sunlight wherever possible. That is, if you can resist the temptation of a nice drive on a hot day.

What kind of cars appreciate?

Car appreciation tends to be rare because of the criteria it has to meet. To begin with, the car itself must be difficult to come across as well as being in high demand in order to have value. The key to an in-demand car is usually high horsepower and loud revs (engine revolutions). They’re also typically slick and stylish in their design; coupes, hatchbacks and luxury styles tend to be the cars that appreciate in value the most.

Petrol cars are also more likely to appreciate than diesel ones because of their faster response and more attractive noise.

Car depreciation explained

The definition of depreciation is a car’s loss in value between buying and selling it. So, if you bought a car two years ago for £15,000 and it now sells for £10,000, the vehicle has depreciated by 33%. 

Depreciation comes down to several factors:

  •  Mileage
  • Reliability
  • Number of owners
  • Service history
  • Road tax status
  • Popularity
  • General factors (bodywork, fuel efficiency, etc.)

It’s frustrating for car owners as some of these factors are out of their control. Factors like the car’s fuel efficiency, popularity and road tax are out of their hands, and these impact a car’s resale value significantly.

However, a lot of factors are under the driver’s influence. Discover how to avoid car depreciation with our top tips below.

How to avoid car depreciation

Choosing high-quality parts

When our cars break down, it can be easy to just opt for the cheapest replacement parts. If they’re going to function well, then what’s the need to spend more?

In terms of depreciation, it’s better to choose high-quality parts instead. These are typically newer, last longer and will be more “appreciated” more by future buyers.

To ensure you don’t wipe a load of value off your car, ensure parts are:

  •  New, high-quality replacements.
  • The same brand as the model of the car.
  • Fitted by a professional, not yourself.

Depreciation happens anyway, so you don’t want to cause it yourself.

Opt for regular servicing

Taking care of your car pays back. You should always be taking care of your car to make driving safe, but going the extra mile, such as regular car washing, fluid changes and keeping all your records intact can increase resale value*.

Always take your car for its regular MOT and service. If you don’t fix small problems, they can become big problems later, leading to a faster rate of depreciation.

Regular servicing is the foundation of car safety too, so try your best to remember to get yours done. We recommend a recurring calendar invite to keep you on your toes.

Limit mileage

Okay, we’re not telling you to never drive your car. However, limiting your driving can save you money both in fuel costs and resale value.

Mileage is perhaps the biggest issue when it comes to depreciation. If you have two equal cars for sale, the one with the lower mileage will likely be sold first (or for more money).

As a result, try to limit your mileage. If you’re popping out somewhere within walking distance and it’s a nice day, then maybe leave the car behind. Replace shorter journeys with a stroll or a bike ride.

Choose safe, neutral colours

While we do understand that some car colours are just too eye-catching to turn down, sometimes, it’s better to choose a more neutral colour to appeal to a wider resale audience.

Depreciation is complex, but sometimes it’s about the simple things: an odd coloured car won’t appeal to as many people, which will affect its resale value.

Don't smoke in the car

Smoking can cause gradual, long-term damage to a car’s interior. Regular smoking can leave a persistent smell inside the car that’s almost impossible to get rid of. The smoke can damage the interior, too, thanks to the accumulation of tar.

Winding your window down while smoking isn’t a solution either, as a fair amount of smoke will still settle in the car itself. In the worst cases, the upholstery and interior may need to be professionally deep cleaned, or even ripped out.

This can cost potentially hundreds, maybe thousands, which adds to the rate of depreciation significantly. So, if you’re a smoker, be sure not to smoke in the car.

Motoring tips with MotoNovo

Stay up-to-date on the world of motoring finance right here on our blog. Stay tuned for more tips, here.

* Remember, if your car is on finance, you don’t own the vehicle until you’ve fully repaid the finance and any fees at the end.