What Makes A Car Appreciate? Here’s What You Should Know


We all know that cars have a tendency to depreciate, meaning their worth decreases over time simply because of their age. While some cars depreciate faster than others, some may wonder if there’s ever a point in a car’s life where their value begins to appreciate or increase in value. I’ve found myself wondering this and have also thought that if this is a possibility, what is it that would increase the value of a car.

So, what makes a car appreciate? A car’s appreciation depends on the it’s rarity and and popularity. Unfortunately, it usually takes time for a car to appreciate, at least 20 years, when people become nostalgic and are willing to pay more for a car which is usually considered a classic by that time.

There is a lot more to understanding the appreciation of a car. I have done many hours of research to understand better what makes a car increase it’s value. If you plan on owning a car for a while in hopes to sell it at some point to make money from it, then you’ve come to the right place to understand how you can accomplish such a goal.

How A Car Appreciates

It’s only in our dreams where we purchase a vehicle and sell it for significantly more than we bought it for only a few years later without doing any work on it.

The appreciation of cars go up simply because of what society finds desirable and beautiful. Society is what sets the standards of what a car is worth and what people are generally willing to pay.

Time will only tell if a car will appreciate and it is not guaranteed that it will appreciate in the first place. In fact, most cars don’t appreciate at all. One of the biggest reasons a car appreciates has a lot to do with time. As stated before, a car has to be out in production for at least 20 years for people to start thinking it’s worth a little more. And as the car continues to get older, the chances of appreciation goes up.

Typically, if there is a mass production of a certain car, you can probably guess that later down the road it won’t appreciate since you can find them anywhere. People generally don’t find value in a car that anyone can have years later.

When a car is produced in small numbers for only a certain amount of time, that will increase it’s chances of eventual appreciation. Rarity in a person’s mind is desirable and will shift society into claiming that it is worth more.

If there is some sort of new regulation made to all vehicles after a small amount of a certain produced car is manufactured, that can also eventually increase it’s value. For example, in the 1970’s, there were more strict laws concerning emissions testing and regulations that came into effect. This caused a lot of cars that were built before that time to appreciate in value later because they were built with high power vintage machinery which is something you can’t find in cars nowadays.

Maintaining it’s originality is a great way to increase the chances of appreciation. People admire original paint jobs and engines on classic cars. Keeping the owner’s manuals and car information stickers in good shape will also be a plus as that is a rarity that few cars have.

What Makes A Car Depreciate

There are several ways to make a car depreciate; some ways can make the value go down a lot faster than others. The first and biggest way to make a car depreciate is not taking good care of it.

If you don’t perform regular maintenance on a car, the car will begin to break down. Such forms of maintenance include regular oil changes, topping off fluids, changing the timing belt, rotating tires, getting new tires, etc. Most people don’t want a car that isn’t running right or wasn’t well taken care of.

Another way to depreciate a car’s value is to replace some of the major components on it. Having to replace the engine or doing a completely new paint job on a car will turn a lot of nostalgic noses away immediately. When people look to buy a car that is potentially considered classic, people appreciate more the originality of the car. Original motor, original paint job, original everything as much as possible is important.

Being a reckless driver is another way to decrease your car’s value. If you’re constantly getting into fender benders and/or full on accidents, you’re going to need to replace a lot of parts. That can cause a lot of wear and tear on your car and won’t make it last near as long down the road.

How To Maintain A Car And Sell It When It Appreciates

If you have any suspicion or inkling that a car may be worth a lot more in the future, there are a few things you can do to your car to ensure it’s in pristine shape and that you can get the highest dollar amount for it if it does eventually appreciate.

Aside from performing regular maintenance, driving it carefully, and keeping the original main components, maintaining pictures and keeping a journal about the history of the car is a great way to convince people to buy it for more. If you are the original and only owner for the first part of the car’s life, that’s even better. Potential buyers love knowing the history of the particular cars they buy and having actual documentation and pictures of the whole thing is an absolute plus.

Keeping the original paint is one thing, but keeping it in pristine shape is another. If you’re able, make sure your car is always parked inside a garage or has a cover on it when it isn’t being used. This will ensure that weather damage doesn’t get to it. The sun is the worst enemy to a car’s body paint.

Obviously, if you purchase a car your intent is to drive it. If your every intention is to use it as an investment and later sell it for a lot more, less mileage is better. Less mileage is more desirable when people are potentially looking into buying a classic car because the buyer knows the car was trashed and abused.

What Cars Can I Buy That Will Appreciate In Value

It’s impossible to guess what people are going to find desirable 20-30 plus years down the road, but we can certainly speculate. There are a few cars you can invest in that people are guessing will be worth a lot in years to come and be considered a classic.

The Ford Raptor would be a good gamble. Many people are saying that it’s already becoming a classic. Anyone who sees one automatically gawks at it’s beauty and anyone who has owned one knows exactly why people speculate it’ll be a classic. There are even some versions of the Raptor that people are paying more now than when it initially came out into production.

A Dodge Challenger Demon would also be a safe bet. Time has already proven that older challengers are still worth a lot. Now that they’ve started making the newer Challengers body shaped just as they were years ago will again strike the nostalgic button in people’s hearts

Another safe bet would be the Fisker Karma. The Fisker Karma is one of the first electric super cars made. And the crazy thing is that they’re priced around $30,000 right now which is really cheap. They do have some wild styling but everyone seems to love it. Because they’re some the first electric super cars made, they’ll probably be worth a bunch some day.

Related Questions

When can you put antique plates on a car? Each state is a little different with their rules, but generally a car can start using antique license plates (the license plates that have an antique car on them) when the car is 25 years or older. Keep in mind that antique plates do limit your ability to use your vintage car.

At what point does a car depreciate the most? A car depreciates the most when it is purchased brand new from a dealership and is driven off the lot. Generally, a car can lose up to 10% of it’s value when you drive it off the lot and an additional 10% of it’s value is lost the following year.

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