Car on a weigh balance with coins

Exploring Car Depreciation: How to Get the Most Value for Your Money

Depreciation is the difference between a car’s value when it’s new and when you sell or trade it in. Depreciation affects new and used cars and increases with age, accidents, and normal wear and tear. A 2020 study by automotive research firm concludes that the average depreciation rate of a car is about 50% after only five years.

Used cars that depreciate fast are typically expensive models like the BMW 7 Series, Cadillac Escalades, and Infiniti QX80s. There’s not much of a mystery with these depreciation-hungry models—they cost a lot to begin with. Plus, gas-guzzling SUVs aren’t as popular as they used to be because of the economy and fuel prices.

Five Used Cars With the Lowest Depreciation

It should come as no surprise that the depreciation value of a car is impacted by its popularity, reliability, and cost to own. There’s no such thing as cars that don’t depreciate, but here are five of the most desirable used vehicles that come pretty close.

1. Jeep Wrangler

Used Jeep Wrangler car depreciation

The Jeep Wrangler continues to lead the pack for retaining the most value. After five years, a Jeep Wrangler depreciates a measly 7.3%, making it an excellent value at any age. Even in the face of numerous competitors, The Wrangler’s iconic reputation for off-road adventures and timeless looks make it one of the most popular and depreciation-proof vehicles you can own.

2. Honda Civic

Honda Civic car depreciation

The Honda Civic is originally a Japanese export, but America’s love affair with the legendary Honda is second to none. It’s fuel-efficient, stylish, reliable, and affordable and it offers exceptional value. Since it’s a Honda, you can count on the latest safety features and one of the highest resale values in the industry. After five years, a Honda Civic only loses 16.3% of its original value.

3. Ford Mustang

Used Ford Mustang car depreciation

Whether due to the model’s decades of popularity or the typical Ford reliability and performance, the Ford Mustang continues to be one of the best-selling sports cars. And it holds its value year after year. A five-year-old Mustang typically loses less than 20% of its original value, ensuring a solid position in the new and used U.S. auto market.

4. Toyota Corolla

Used value car Toyota corolla

For more than a half-century, the Corolla has been a staple on American highways since 1968, when the new price was $1,700! By 1974, the Toyota Corolla was the best-selling car on the planet, and for good reason. It’s one of the most dependable and economical cars ever made, and holds its value for years. The model has always been a great value, but its 5-year depreciation of under 20% is like icing on the cake!

5. Chevrolet Camaro

Used Chevy Camaro car with best value at Car Time Supercenter

Another classic American sports car, the Camaro is in the same legendary league as the Mustang and provides exhilarating performance and plenty of style. The Camaro also provides exceptional resale value because the model only depreciates about 20% after five years. For many drivers, the Chevy Camaro is the American muscle car, and no other model will do!

You now know what the average depreciation rate of a car is, how it affects prices, and which cars and trucks hold their value the longest. But how does all that affect you when it’s time to sell or trade in your vehicle? What if your present vehicle is one of those depreciation-mongers mentioned earlier? Relax. We’ve got you covered.

Can I Reduce My Car Depreciation?

There are things you can do to get the most for your used car, from choosing a reputable car dealership for trade-in to slowing your car’s depreciation. Here’s how to counteract typical depreciation to get the most for your used car.

  • Mileage may be one of the most critical factors for resale value. Driving 10,000 miles or less each year will greatly improve the car’s depreciation and help reduce maintenance and repair costs.
  • Every car and truck requires maintenance to stay in shape and last longer. Recommended oil changes, belt replacements, and other maintenance will help your car retain more value. Like keeping the mileage down, maintenance also minimizes ongoing costs for repairs.
  • Maintenance and repair records don’t prove a vehicle is a good buy, but they can give potential buyers peace of mind. Take a bite out of your vehicle’s typical depreciation by having records of how you’ve cared for your vehicle.
  • Sparkling windows, a fresh-smelling interior, and a brilliant finish do nothing to impact your car’s reliability and driveability. But when it comes time to trade or sell, well-cared-for interiors and exteriors can only help your car’s resale value.

The bottom line is used car depreciation depends on the make, model, cost of ownership, how well it’s maintained, and how it looks. Do what you can to minimize your car’s depreciation, then let us show you how to use depreciation to save on your next used car.

Ready to Put Depreciation to Work For You?

On the flip side, you can put car depreciation to work in your favor when you buy your next used car. Depreciation is a good thing when someone else takes the brunt of it! Instead of buying new and getting hit with a loss right out of the gate, let Car Time Supercenter put depreciation to work for you with a popular late-model car, truck, or SUV.

Shane Vossough

There are good reasons people will buy their next used car in Tucson from Car Time Supercenter. But I think we are one of the most trusted used car dealerships mainly because we treat everyone like family. My family has provided quality, dependable local used cars to Tucson customers since 1984, and I'm proud to be a part of our continued success. Like many family-owned businesses, I grew up going to work with my dad. Falling in love with cars was natural because of my father's passion, and eventually, I came to love the car business just like him. I officially joined the Car Time Supercenter team in 2012, starting in the finance department. Over the past decade, I've learned the used car business and how to treat customers from my family and industry resources. Today, I oversee marketing, social media, inventory, and reconditioning, so I play an essential role in delivering local Tucson used car buyers the best experience possible. I also help our family business keep up with the times while providing old-fashioned customer service. From attending NADA classes to becoming Allstate certified for back-end products, I continue to learn and add skills to serve our customers better.