When it's time for a new car, the first step often involves selling your current vehicle. You want to ensure you get top dollar for it, though, so it's all about retaining your car's value. Below, we'll cover how to get as much as possible when selling it and provide you with a simpler alternative to selling your vehicle. 

Minimize the Initial Cost

Going with a used car has many advantages. Perhaps the best reason to go used is its slowed depreciation. Always opt for a used car that's a few years old. If you buy a new car, it loses 20% of its value in the first year on the road. A used car has already taken this hit and only loses about 10% of its value each year for the first five years on the road. After the five-year point, the depreciation curve levels out. 

Minimize the Potential for Accidental Damage

Small dents, dings, and scrapes can seriously impact a car's resale value. Sure, you can always repair these, but this can be costly. Instead, do everything you can to mitigate the risk of taking this damage. 

Start by picking your parking spaces carefully and park as far away from other vehicles as possible to avoid door dings and other damage. Also, avoid parking near cart corrals, as this increases your chances of damage from a stray cart. 

If you can't park away from other vehicles, choose a spot near a vehicle that's parked in the centre of the space, leaving plenty of room for you and the people in the other car to get in and out. 

Another way to avoid damage is to keep your distance from construction vehicles, like dump trucks. These vehicles tend to have stray rocks and debris laying on their body that may fall off, bounce off the road, and hit your vehicle, causing a dent. When you approach one of these vehicles, leave plenty of space between you and it and pass it when it's safe and legal.

Keep the Odometer Low

The fewer kilometres on your vehicle, the more value it retains. Limit your unnecessary driving and only drive when you must. As an alternative, you can buy a bicycle, leverage rideshare, or get a mass transit pass to keep your kilometres low.

You could also set up a carpool where you only drive once every few weeks, and the other carpool members drive the other weeks. For example, if you had a four-person carpool group, you'd only drive your vehicle to work and back once every four weeks. Yes, you'll put on more kilometres shuttling around three other people, but the three weeks you're not driving should more than make up for that. 

Add Protective Gear

You can add a collection of protective gear to your car to help keep it in top shape and retain its resale value. 

This protective gear starts with a clear plastic coating placed over the front of the vehicle. Generally, this coating, often referred to as a clear bra, covers the entire bumper and about the first 30 cm of the hood and fenders. This clear bra helps prevent damage from rocks, bugs, and other flying debris.

Mud flaps are another sound investment. Rocks and other debris can become lodged in the tire tread as you drive. Eventually, these items become dislodged and can fly up and hit the side of your vehicle. Mudflaps can help prevent this debris from reaching your vehicle, helping you retain your car's value. 

Frequent Wash and Waxes

Likely the best way to retain your car's value is to frequently wash and wax it. Plan to wash your car at least once every two weeks with a quality car soap and car wash mitt or sponge for the best results. During your bi-weekly washes, remember  to vacuum and wipe down the interior. This is also a good time to apply an interior protectant to all leather, vinyl, and plastic. 

As for waxing, plan to wax at least every three months if you're using traditional paste wax. If you use a paint sealer, you can push that back to every six months. 

Other ways to protect your car's finish and help retain its value include using a clay bar to remove paint imperfections and an orbital polisher with automotive polish to remove swirls and water spots. 

Keeping your car washed and waxed protects it from harmful environmental items, like bird droppings, bugs, and dust, while also protecting the paint from the sun's rays.

Protect the Undercarriage

During harsh Canadian winters, local governments do all they can to prevent ice on the roads. This often involves spreading salt and other ice-melting chemicals on the roadways. Salt also speeds up metal corrosion and can cause big-time rust issues on your vehicle's wheel wells and undercarriage. 

Fortunately, you can get a vehicle undercoating to prevent the chemicals from causing corrosion. With undercarriage rust under control, you're preventing rust from impacting the value of your car. 

Get Spare Winter Wheels

Winter can also wreak havoc on your wheels, as the salt and other chemicals can eat away at the finish. Also, there's the risk of sliding and hitting a curb in icy conditions. 

As Canadians, we're used to swapping out our summer or all-season tires for winter tires. Make your life easier and protect your factory wheels by buying an inexpensive set of spare wheels to mount your winter tires on. 

This protects your factory wheels, helping retain the value of your vehicle, and makes it easier to swap to your winter tires when the cold weather hits. 

Follow the Maintenance Schedule and Keep the Records

Vehicle maintenance is also a key to retaining car value. Follow your vehicle's maintenance schedule, which you can find in the owner's manual, exactly as it’s printed. Perform every oil change, tire rotation, inspection, fluid exchange, and belt replacement as prescribed. 

You should also maintain a vehicle history log that includes all the receipts and mileages for this maintenance. This will give a new buyer confidence this car will last a long time and you truly cared for it. 

Get Top Dollar for Your Vehicle at Clutch

Ready to sell your car? Clutch makes the process easy, stress-free and transparent.

Simply enter your vehicle's information into our vehicle valuation system for an estimate, upload images to receive a firm offer, then we’ll pick it up and issue you a cheque. 

You can also use this estimate amount toward a quality pre-owned vehicle in our inventory. 

All our pre-owned vehicles have been through a 210-point inspection and reconditioning process to ensure they're in top shape. They also include a 90-day or 6,000-kilometre warranty at no extra cost to you. 

On top of all that, you get a risk-free 10-day or 750-km test-own period. If you don't love your new Clutch vehicle during this period, you can exchange it for a different one or get a full refund. 

Come check out our full assortment of pre-owned cars, trucks, minivans, crossovers and SUVs, sports cars, compact cars, and more at Clutch. We carry quality cars from all the major automakers, including Toyota, Honda, Chevrolet, Hyundai, Lexus, and more.