How To Understand Car Depreciation

Depreciation affects nearly everything, and for cars, it can be very critical when you want to resell. Once you drive a car out of the car lot, its value depreciates alarmingly. Experts estimate that brand new cars depreciate by up to 20% when they are driven from the dealership to the home. There has been quite a misconception about car depreciation, and this article aims to bring a level of understanding of the whole issue.

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Understanding Depreciation

Depreciation is the term that refers to the difference in the value of a car from the time you buy it to the time you intend to resell it. Studies from CAP Automotive indicate that average depreciation costs as much as three times what you spend at the petrol pump.

Although the depreciation level varies from makes and models, generally, the range is between 15-35% in the first year. By the third year, depreciation rises to 50%. According to motoring cost experts, it is better to choose a car that retains its value than focusing on fuel economy. This means you may recoup much more if you decide to sell your car.

What Affects The Rate Of Depreciation?

Different things affect the depreciation of a car, but here are a few of the general reasons why some depreciate more than others.


This refers to the number of miles that your vehicle has been driven. In essence, the more miles you have on your car, the less value your car holds. The average mileage is about 10,000 per year.


Cars come in various grades of quality, and some are more reliable than others. Based on usage, experience, expert reviews and others, some cars for sale have built a reputation of reliability over the years. So, for instance, a Mercedes may be more reliable than a Toyota.


The more owners a vehicle has had, the more unreliable it seems. This is because if it is assumed that if it were durable, it would not be sold as much. So the fewer owners a car has, the better.

Overall condition

This plays a vital role in the ability to resell your car. Any damage to the body, exterior, interior, or malfunctioning features will definitely decrease your car’s value.

Service history

You should ask for the service history complete with receipts as it is a very important detail before purchasing a car. The service book must also indicate that all servicing was done as recommended by the manufacturer. With this, you can tell how often or what fixes the car has undergone.

Length of warranty

This ensures that any resell goes smoothly; most people are quite sceptical when it comes to warranty. Three is a good deal, but some manufacturers are now offering up to seven years which can really aid the sale of your car.

Tips to reduce depreciation

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Even though depreciation is bound to occur, there are a few things you can do to slow down the rate. Firstly, try not to exceed the average mileage. Also, service and maintain your car regularly and desist from making race modifications. Lastly, sell before the new models are released.

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