Do you know how quickly your vehicle is depreciating every year? Most people don’t know how to answer the question when asked. The word, “depreciate,” is a financial issue in most people’s minds and as such, they leave that to their CPA every year. Perhaps we should examine how it can affect you.

Depreciation is the amount of money your vehicle (or other fixed-asset properties) loses value as it ages. There are ways to slow this process. Perhaps not by much, but taking care of your investment – which is what a vehicle is – can indeed force your vehicle to retain its financial value longer.

The school year is here. This means more parents will be on the road driving their children to and from school, extracurricular activities and other activities families find on their schedules. Indeed, merely driving a car puts miles on it and causes it to depreciate faster. If you have teenage drivers, this value goes down even more quickly. First and foremost, the first thing you can do for a vehicle to have it retain its value longer is to store it in a garage. This protects it from the elements such as sun damage, rain, hail and snow.

As the weather changes, your vehicle can be subject to further harm. Snow, ice and the cold weather in general, can wreak havoc on the value of your car. It can cause slow starts, chipped windshields from ice, and the chances of getting in a vehicular accident go up due to poor driving conditions. Furthermore, cold-weather can cause minor potholes on the road. Driving over these potholes can bend axles and pop tires.

Wow – what can you do to protect your vehicle? You have a lot going against you. Driving only when necessary – for starters – can keep you safe. Planning your routes can be another way that you can shed unnecessary mileage and time off your day. If you live close enough – and if it’s possible – consider walking in all but inclement weather.

Then there’s the maintenance on your vehicle. We’re talking about more than just the required maintenance to keep your vehicle running as recommended by the manufacturer. Keeping your car clean both inside and out, fixing your windshield from minor dents and ticks, and making sure the paint job on your vehicle is in top-notch can ensure that your vehicle will sell for its maximum value when it’s time. Remember that the biggest reason cars lose their value is due to owner neglect.