Things You are Doing that Depreciate the Value of your Car

How to Retain the Value of your Vehicle for Trade-In Time

Things You are Doing that Depreciate the Value of your Car

We all know that cars depreciate over time. It is a fact of life. No matter how clean we keep them, or how regularly we service them, they still depreciate. But there are some things that can help your car retain value and assist you in beating the depreciation curve. Do you know the things you are doing that depreciate the value of your car?

Interior and Exterior Condition

One of the top factors in determining the resale value of any vehicle is its interior and exterior condition. Are you one of those people that only wash their car once they can write through the dirt on the exterior? You may want to take control of your car washing schedule. Washing your car more regularly will help to maintain the exterior color and condition of your vehicle, in turn, upping the resale value.

Waxing. This isn’t only for car enthusiasts. If you’re not waxing your car, you are contributing to its risk of depreciation. Why? Waxing provides a sacrificial layer on top of the clear coat so that when you remove dirt and such you’re not directly rubbing the paint. Plus, waxing always makes your car extra shiny. Not waxing will leave the car looking dull and the clear coat on top of your paint job vulnerable to accelerated wear. Generally, you want to wax your car twice a year, once before winter and once in the spring.

If you’re leaving your upholstery uncovered, you’re asking for trouble. A one time investment in some seat covers can seriously help you when you go to resell your car. They help to maintain the quality of the interior cloth or leather seating and help retain the color, prevent scuffs or tears, and help to reduce fading.

Smokers may want to leave their cigarettes outside of their vehicle. This is a biggie, because cigarette smoke smell is not only tough to remove, but staining that stems from the smoke is truly hard to get out of your car. Not to mention, if you smoke in your car you risk burning the seats or other upholstery in the car. Its best for your car’s value if you make your car a no smoking zone.

READ MORE: Tips to Help the Car Buying Process

Blue Car Getting an Exterior Wash
Row of New Cars In White at a Dealership


This seems old hat, but watch where you park…and what you park next to. Door dings and scrapes from parking lot scuffles depreciate your vehicle’s value. It make take you longer to walk through the parking lot, but parking your car away from other vehicles is a good practice if you want to keep your car in good condition. If you can’t park alone, make sure you park with enough room and possibly stay away from two-door vehicles that have extra-long doors.

Also, if you’re always parking in the sun, you’re doing it wrong. Park in the shade. Some vehicles with vinyl dashboards crack due to regular sun exposure. You can also fade your paint and interior color with repeated sun exposure. We know you might want to show off your new car in your neighborhood, but park it in the garage where it’s safe.


Do you only bring your car in once the service light comes on? This type of maintenance schedule won’t help your vehicle to retain its value. Having your car serviced regularly helps to keep your car in tip-top condition, but also creates a record of good service appointments for the next buyer to see. If you save the receipts from car washes, oil changes, tune-ups, tire rotations, and other services, this demonstrates that you were a responsible car owner and that your vehicle has been looked after well. This will seriously help to boost your trade-in value.

READ MORE: How-To: Lower Auto Insurance Cost

Want to know what your vehicle is worth? Use our calculate your trade page to see where your vehicle’s value lies. Looking for a newer vehicle? Check out our impressive online inventory or stop by Certified Autoplex to take a look at what we have in stock! Don’t forget to avoid the things you are doing that depreciate the value of your car. You’ll thank us come trade-in time.