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What Affects The Value Of Your Car? Car Valuation Explained

Confused about your car valuation? Find out what types of things can affect the value of your car and how you can stop it from devaluing.

Sep 21, 2020

What Affects The Value Of Your Car? Car Valuation Explained

Selling a second-hand car can be a great way to get some quick cash, but depending on the current value of your car, it may not be quite as much as you imagined. So how do you get an accurate valuation figure for your car and what exactly affects how much your car is worth? 

It's a fact that your car will devalue or 'depreciate' over time, but you can help minimise the extent of vehicle depreciation through a number of things.

Woman driving car smiling

What is depreciation?

Depreciation is the difference between the amount you pay for your car and the amount you sell it for (or part exchange it for). Depreciation kicks in from the moment a new car is bought and the majority of it occurs in the first year it is owned.

For that reason, many people prefer to buy nearly-new cars that are approximately a year old with low miles on the clock than a brand-new one with no recorded miles – the difference in cost could be thousands but ultimately, the car is good as new.

What affects the value of my car?

Other than the make and model of your car, it's important to understand the factors involved in determining the value of your car and lucky for you, our experts have rounded up a list for the occasion:

1) Condition

The most important factor according to our Used Car team will be the condition that your car is in. Your car could be 7 years old or it could be 2 years old, but the condition it is in will ultimately determine how much money you get for it when you decide to sell. For example, a 7-year-old car in a perfect, clean condition would retain its market value better than a 2-year-old car covered in dents and rust.

It's also important to keep your vehicle's mechanics in top working order as this will cost to rectify before selling and you should never sell a faulty car under the impression it is roadworthy.

In short, be consistent in the upkeep of your vehicle to prevent a low valuation figure.Cleaning car with yellow sponge

2) Age

Of course that's not to say the age of your car won't have an effect on its value because it will, but unfortunately, this is something you can't control. The scenario in which it would cause a larger effect on your valuation figure would be if newer generations of your car model provided better technologies and safety features, but this isn't always the case...

Sometimes we see new model releases of cars where the upgrades are mainly cosmetic and infotainment systems have stayed the same. Here, age may not have much of an effect on your valuation figure as the latest models provide the same tech experience as your older vehicle does.Second hand cars parked for sale

3) Mileage

Another factor that would seem to have more of an effect on your vehicle's worth than age, is mileage. The more miles a car has recorded, the less money it will sell for regardless of how old it is. This is why some people opt into mileage caps - to preserve the value of the car when it's time to sell it on.

The lower the mileage of a car, the more desirable it is to the next buyer as higher recorded miles indicate costly upkeep in the future and less life on the road.Analogue dials of a car

4) MPG (miles per gallon)

MPG or miles per gallon is the recorded figure of how many miles your car is able to travel for every gallon. The more miles it can put out per gallon, the less you pay for fuel. Therefore, cars with a higher MPG number require less fuel and save people money which is an obvious running-cost benefit and makes your vehicle more appealing when it comes to selling your car.

Higher MPG = higher car valuationRefuelling a car

5) Service & MOT history

Keeping up to date with servicing and MOT will help retain your vehicle's value when you decide to sell it. Be proud of your maintenance and keep all service and MOT history together for the next owner. This type of transparency and accountability makes your car more trustworthy than say, a vehicle with missing service or MOT history.

These records show the next buyer the past of your vehicle, so it may be worth noting that if you do intend to sell on your car, it would be beneficial to opt for higher quality tyres and parts whenever needed as this will preserve the desirability of your vehicle and retain its market value.

Your documents and certificates are proof that you have kept the vehicle in good condition which as mentioned earlier is the biggest factor determining your car valuation, so proving that factor is simply icing on the cake.Mechanic servicing a car in a garage

6) Previous owners

A less obvious factor is the number of owners a vehicle has had. It seems ambiguous to begin with but if you were to ask yourself whether you would rather buy a vehicle that's been maintained well by one owner, or a vehicle that's been maintained perfectly by 2 owners but not so well by 1, you would probably pick the vehicle with only one previous owner. 

Several previous owners also make you wonder why the vehicle has been sold so many times. What's wrong with it? Why does nobody want to keep it? It's also more likely you will receive all previous Service & MOT records any other vehicle history if it has had fewer previous owners.Man driving a car smiling

7) Warranty

Selling a car with a valid manufacturer warranty will help increase your car valuation. So if you know you're going to end up selling your vehicle down the line, it may be worth investing in a brand that offers a long manufacturer warranty, or even extending your warranty with a care plan. 

Sell your car within this warranty period and you will likely receive a higher price for it.

And there you have it - now you know exactly what goes into determining your car valuation. Remember, although there's not much you can do in terms of natural depreciation, keeping your car in the best condition possible is your best bet at retaining its market value and getting more cash when you sell your car.Handshake with car in the backgroundThinking of selling your car or part-exchanging it for another? Find out how much your car is worth using our free online car valuation tool.

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