You've no doubt seen the TV ads and are probably aware of websites (including our own) which offer car valuations online, but have you ever wondered how these values are calculated and what types of things can have an impact of how much your car is worth?
Read on to find out everything you need to know about the things which affect the value of your car plus our top tips on maintaining it's value.
People often wonder what their car is worth, and often it's just out of curiosity rather thinking about a change in the near future. A car’s value can rely on several different factors, the main ones being:
There are a number of other influencing factors which can also have an impact including the number of owners, reliability, service history, size and specification. The time of year could also affect the value especially if you're trying to sell a convertible in the middle of winter
Age plays a key part in many car valuations. Typically, the older the car, the more depreciation has had time to take effect, which results in a lower price in your resale value. This is due to newer, more up-to-date models being introduced and demand decreasing for older, more ‘old-fashioned’ models. For example, a Ford Focus from 2007 will have depreciated considerably, as several newer models have been launched since.
Having said that, if you're the owner of a classic car it could be a very different story. A 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO is to date the most expensive car sold at auction fetching a whopping $38,115,000 (£29,866,151)!
Condition could be one of the most important factors when it comes to how much your car is worth. If a car is in poor condition with dents, missing trim, scratches and damage to the interior then you shouldn't be surprised to receive a low valuation. I'm sure we'd all agree, it would be fair to say the car hadn’t been looked after as well as it could have been
The condition will play a big part when trying to sell any car, regardless of whether you're listing it privately in a classified ad like on Autotrader, or putting it in part-exchange against another vehicle.
Perhaps one of the most obvious value factors is mileage. Lower mileage cars will always be more attractive, as essentially they haven’t been used as much. The more miles your vehicle has clocked up over the years, the less it will be worth. On average a vehicle would be expected to do around 10,000-12,000 miles each year, but if the mileage counter suggests the car has been to the moon and back, it's going to be worth a lot less!
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Service History is very important, as this proves how well a car has been looked after. A car which has a full-service history, especially where all the work has been completed at an approved dealer, will be much more valuable than a car with no service history or only a partial history. If the car hasn't been serviced and maintained properly, it is more likely to break down or develop a fault – not what anyone wants.
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If a car has had lots of owners, it could significantly lower the perceived value to some people. It is more of an attractive purchase if the car has only had one previous owner, or if an older car, just a few owners. More owners could suggest people may have not liked the car, or the car in question started to cost money and inevitably led to the sale. Of course, this is just speculation as with many used purchases, but is definitely an influencing factor to some when it comes to buying their next car.
Other factors include the cars reliability record. Some cars have a reputation for being reliable, whereas others have a reputation for being unreliable. Cars which are known to be reliable will hold their value better as they have a higher demand. People generally want a car they can rely on and not cause them problems, although in some cases you will find a group of enthusiasts who love a particular kind of car in spite of the problems it may bring!
To get an idea of how your vehicle’s reliability is rated, you could check on the most recent car satisfaction surveys which are undertaken by various motoring publications.
Size is also a factor when selling your car. Larger cars with bigger engines tend to depreciate quicker, as the running costs tend to be more expensive, resulting in people favouring one's which will be more economical to run.
Specification, unsurprisingly will also affect a cars price. The higher the specification, the greater the desirability for that particular car especially in these modern times when the good old tape cassette has been forgotten and Apple CarPlay has taken over!