The purchase of a car for most of us is second only to buying a home in terms of cost. While we would like to justify our love of all things V8 and chrome as an investment, it is not. As soon as we drive that shiny baby off the he showroom floor, we have kissed goodbye 20% of its value. Unless of course it’s a Bugatti Veyron or the first model T but then you would not be reading this article, you would be on your yacht getting a pedicure, sipping Crystal. So back to reality; when it comes to investments, you would have to be investing some seriously shady stocks to experience a 20% loss. Now that you have accepted that a car is a losing proposition, the next conversation to have is how to stem the flow of depreciation.
Certain cars hold their value better than others; a quick search on the net should give you a top ten list of good and bad cars for resale values. After that, what you get for your second hand car is up to you. One of the big influencers of resale value is mileage- but unless you have bad driving habits like taking a 5 km trip for a slab of chocolate; you gotta go where you gotta go. The next biggest factor is condition. If you want to get the best price for your car, it must look like new. If your passenger foot well looks like a landfill and you have enough dents to affect the aero dynamics, expect to get peanuts.
Even those of us who try to take care of our cars are not immune to mobile curbs, lamp posts, tequila shots and trees. While you are trying to gather 1 million names for the “stop trees from moving” cause, there are some simple and cost effective ways to keep the scratches and dents at bay. The reason we neglect these minor issues with our cars, is because they can be expensive to fix and the excess on an insurance claim may be more than fixing it ourselves. The smart solution is to invest in a Scratch and Dent policy. For the cost of a few designer lattes, you can keep your car in pristine condition. By keeping your car scratch and dent free you can significantly improve its value. Would you pay R1500 annually to get R10,000 to R30,000 (depending on the wheels) more on resale? You would be crazy not to.