There are certain things you might be doing or neglecting that could cause decreasing car value.

Five Causes of Decreasing Car Value

When you buy a car, you might not immediately think about what it will be worth years down the road. If you take great care of your vehicle, however, you’ll likely maximize its price when it comes time to sell, putting more money in your pocket. But there are certain things you might be doing or neglecting that could cause decreasing car value. Let’s take a look at what they are.

1. Neglecting the Finish

How often should you wash your car? That depends, but if it’s dirty, you need to find time to clean it. The longer that dirt, mud, bird poop, road salt and other foreign materials cling to the surface, the worse it is for your paint. Regular car washings and biannual waxings will help maintain its sheen.

A side note: If you custom-paint your ride, your choice of color may affect its value. A beautiful black metallic finish looks great, but not so much for Pepto Pink!A car caked in mud in a wooded area

2. Not Banishing Bad Odors

Your vehicle looks, feels and sounds great, but there is one more sense that could make or break a sale, or at least cause decreasing car value. And that would be its smell.

If you’re a smoker, odors will penetrate every fabric, nook and cranny of the vehicle, and it can be extremely difficult to remove a foul odor once it invades the cabin. Water is another problem, so make sure you’re removing any mold or mildew stains from the car.

3. Piling on the Miles

How many miles are too many? Typically, driving 12,000-15,000 miles annually is the expected average for cars. It won’t hasten depreciation as long as you’re taking care of your car along the way.

On the other hand, regularly driving 20,000 or more miles per year will drop your car’s value at a faster rate. If this concerns you, try balancing out your miles with a second family car.

4. Making Modifications That Miss

We love to modify our rides in an effort to personalize them. For some vehicles, parts such as headers, cat-back exhaust systems and various wheel upgrades do the trick.

But if your modifications include substantial changes to the way the vehicle looks, the updates may not help at all. In fact, they could be illegal where you live. These changes include lift kits that add feet — rather than inches — to your ride. Underbody neon lighting, modified lights and super dark tints can also cause problems. Always present a vehicle that’s ready for sale.

5. Disregarding Scheduled Maintenance and Putting Off Repairs

Timely oil changes, brake maintenance, a timing belt change and an assortment of other scheduled tasks will keep your car running smoothly. They will also maintain its value and slow depreciation.

Putting off repairs and neglecting upkeep can make it more difficult to sell your car. Help yourself out by not only following the maintenance schedule in the owner’s manual, but also keeping receipts for any work done.

Keep Your Car in Top Shape

Ultimately, keeping your car in tiptop condition will maximize its value. Fixing scratches and dents, replacing worn tires and repairing ripped fabric will help tremendously.

Check out all the maintenance parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 16,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on how to prevent decreasing car value, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

about author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan has maintained his love for cars ever since his father taught him kicking tires can be one way to uncover a problem with a vehicle’s suspension system. He since moved on to learn a few things about coefficient of drag, G-forces, toe-heel shifting, and how to work the crazy infotainment system in some random weekly driver. Matt is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association and is a contributor to various print and online media sources.

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