Trillium Automobile Dealers Association

Serving the interest of Ontario New Car
and Truck Dealerships for over 100 years

Ten ways to protect the value of your car

Published on Friday, 12 August 2011

But “fair market value” often differs from the perceived value that a customer has in mind. In fact, customers are frequently disappointed to learn their vehicles are worth less than they anticipated — sometimes several thousand dollars less.

Many factors go into determining what a dealership (or a private buyer) will pay for a vehicle, including original MSRP, mechanical condition, physical appearance, mileage, market conditions, accessories, brand, model type, maintenance history, accident history, etc.

To ensure that your vehicle maintains its maximum market value, here are some tips.

  1. Regularly Scheduled Maintenance. Always service your vehicle according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Regular tune-ups, oil changes and inspections will minimize wear and tear, and save on costly repairs.

  2. Tires. Properly inflated tires and regular tire rotation results in improved gas mileage and road safety, and it minimizes the stress on the drive train. Consider buying winter tires, which will extend the life of your regular tires.
  3. Avoid Harsh Driving Conditions. This means not towing more weight than recommended, not speeding excessively or driving recklessly, and avoiding poor road conditions.

  4. Drive Carefully. If you drive cautiously, you are less likely to be involved in an accident.
  5. Avoid Excessive Mileage. Mileage is one of the most important factors in determining fair market value. If you're planning a road trip, consider renting a vehicle. The cost of a rental may be less than the excessive mileage costs at the end of a lease or depreciation when selling your vehicle.

  6. Avoid Rust. Rust is an eyesore and it devalues any vehicle. Wash your vehicle often during winter and consider purchasing a rust protection package from your local new car dealership.
  7. A Clean Interior. Stains, mildew and musty smells have a negative impact on the selling price. Cigarette smoke, in particular, leaves a foul odour throughout the interior that is nearly impossible to remove. And replace your cabin filter.

  8. Keep Good Records. If you can produce service records during your entire ownership, it will add to the resale value. If you have serviced your vehicle at a specific dealership, your service records will be on file and are easily accessible.
  9. Don't Ignore Warning Signs. If you spot a fluid leak, unusual engine noises or a warning light, address it immediately. Mechanical problems that aren't fixed will lead to bigger problems and will devalue a vehicle. And don't avoid stone chips on the car's exterior, which can result in rust.

  10. Choose Your Vehicle Carefully. Some brands and models retain their value better than others. Most car owners know that caring for their prized possession is essential in maintaining its long-term value. The problem, however, is that people are too busy or they procrastinate. Put yourself in a potential buyer's position and ask yourself: Would you place a higher value on a car that has been properly maintained over several years, or a vehicle that has been neglected?

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