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GUIDE – How To Maintain The Value Of Your Car

20 Mar , 2014  

Regardless of whether you drive a Ford Fiesta or a Porsche 911, making sure that you look after your car is very important in order to maintain the car’s value when you come to sell it.

Car value books and guides give a figure for the value of a car based on its make, model and age, but this can be higher or lower depending on the condition of the car.

There are a range of factors which are taken into consideration – some will be outside of your control, but many are worth bearing in mind. Let the team here at Carwitter guide you through some simple steps to help maintain your car’s value.

Audi Mechanic Garage Workshop - carwitter

Regular Servicing

We all know that having a full service history can seriously increase the value of a car, especially if it is relatively young, or expensive.

Having proof of a service history can be an incredibly valuable piece of information, as it shows that the car has been properly maintained throughout its lifetime, thereby reducing the risk of any major problems occurring because of earlier issues.

As you can imagine, this makes the car a far more appealing prospect for new buyers compared to one with an unknown history.

Jaguar F-Type Jalopnik Number 1 Plate UK - carwitter


It is a simple fact that if you were to compare two identical cars, but one was registered in December 2010, and the other in January 2011, the latter would have a higher price tag, despite being only a month younger.

Car buyers will always favour newer cars, so if you are considering purchasing a car just before the registrations change (December and June) consider carefully if you might be better off waiting for the new numberplates to come out.

Of course, there are some fantastic deals to be had on cars at the end of a registration period, so it is worth weighing up all the pros and cons before making your purchase.

MK1 Modified Ford Ka Front - carwitter

Stay clear of modification

Other than in exceptional cases, modifications have a tendency to lower the value of a car – partly because they are done to suit just one person, and partly because of the assumption that those who modify their cars will drive them in a way that damages the long term health of the car.

We’re not saying that just because you modify a car you won’t look after it, but it is a simple fact that you will find it much harder to sell, because of the “boy racer” stereotype.

Most car buyers will be looking for a standard model without added after parts, so it’s best to keep it this way.

Worn Tyre - carwitter


Your car’s tyres are arguably one of the most important parts of a car, and yet many drivers will seriously neglect them.

We always recommend that you keep your tyres in good condition – get punctures fixed quickly, check the tread level on a regular basis and replace if necessary.

Not only will you be keeping yourself and other road users safe, but you will also be avoiding damage to the rest of your car.

Driving on flat tyres can have an adverse affect on the rest of your car, which can have implications when you come to sell it. At the very least, be prepared to fork out for a new set of tyres when selling if yours a getting near the tread level.

Private buyers and dealers will often use tyres that are in poor condition as a bargaining point, so it’s always best to replace them and remove this opportunity for them to push the price down.

Car Scratch - carwitter

Dents & Scratches

Dents on your car show that it hasnt been looked after or even driven well (our next point) so if you get a dent or a scratch get it repaired. To have a dent pulled out is relatively cheap and makes your car look as good as new.

Drive Smart

The long term potential of your car is dependent on the way it is driven. Drive it badly, and it’ll be more prone to mechanical issues and you may be more likely to have an accident.

Drive it well, and the car’s longevity will be greatly increased, and it could potentially go on for many years to come.

Both dealers and many private sellers will be able to tell the way a car has been driven in the past from the amount of wear and tear and general condition of the engine.

There’s no need to drive it badly, so take care and be gentle – it’ll benefit you in the long run.

Ford Kuga Alloy Wheel - carwitter


Another major element that you nearly always get bartered down on are the condition of alloy wheels.

If they have seen a few too many kerbs its worth thinking about getting them refurbished.

This will make them look new again and stop the haggling come sale time!

High mileage

Mileage is a massive factor affecting the value of your car, on average a car should have around 10/12,000 miles per year on the clock.

If your car is way over that its worth thinking about alternative ways to make those long journeys. Or if you can use a second car for a while to let those miles equal out over time.

Skoda Yeti Snow - carwitter

Let your car warm up properly when it’s cold out

Starting your car in cold weather can be tough on the cars engine.

Starting up and speeding straight up to 70 mph down the motorway is never a wise option.

Instead, give it a little while to get warm, then drive away slowly before gradually speeding up at getting your journey underway.

If you don’t do this you run the risk of reducing the life of the battery and the engine, and you could even damage your engine there and then by cracking your radiator.

Keep your fuel tank topped up

We’ve all had that nervous trip to the petrol station, wondering whether or not the car will make it.

We all also know that this can be really bad for the engine. You see, the fuel at the bottom of your tank just isn’t as high quality – sediment settles there, and when you use this fuel you are sending that sediment through your engine, which can do some damage.

This is especially true for newer and high performance cars, which have far more sensitive systems.

Garge Clutter - carwitter

Keep your car somewhere safe

Keeping your car in a safe place not only reduces the chances of theft and vandalism, but can also shield it from the elements.

If your have a garage, use it, even if it seems like a hassle.

You’ll be protecting your car from the weather extremes – snow and frost which can cause damage to the cars internal components or bright sunlight which can cause paintwork to fade with repeated exposure.


Keep it clean!

First impressions count for a lot, so having a clean car will always entice a potential buyer.

Spend a little time cleaning it from top to bottom, inside and out.

Or even better, pay a professional valeting company to do it!

It’s not just a concern when selling though – if you never clean your car, the build up of dirt and residue can damage your cars paintwork, and even encourage rust to form.

Treat it to a wash and wax every now and then, and you’ll not only get to drive around in a nice shiny car, but you’ll know that you’re doing all you can to protect your car’s bodywork.

As for the interior, this is no exception.

Strong smells can really put off potential buyers, so avoid smoking in your car, or even eating strong smelling foods. Bad smells linger on your interior, and no amount of air fresheners will get rid of it once it’s got into the fabric.


Written by – Louise Haines


By  -    
Owner / Editor of Carwitter - French car fiend, hot hatch lover. Freelance writer and car journalist I've turned my passion for cars into my livelihood.