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November 1, 2023 - 2 min read

What is Depreciation?

If you've ever owned a car, you're likely acquainted with the term "depreciation." It's that unavoidable reality where your shiny, new dream-on-wheels gradually loses its value over time. While depreciation isn't exclusive to cars, it’s a nice vehicle to explain the concept. 

The Slow Fade of Value

Depreciation is the gradual decrease in the value of an asset, like your car, over its lifetime. In the realm of vehicles, it's a given – from the moment you drive your brand-new car off the lot, its value starts to slide.

What Causes Depreciation

Several factors come into play:

  • Wear and Tear: Daily use, weather, and road conditions all contribute to your car's aging process. Think of it as the miles and dings that mark the passage of time.
  • Market Demand: As newer models roll onto the scene, your car's desirability dwindles. This is particularly true for fast-evolving tech features.
  • Accidents and Repairs: Car accidents or damage, even if they're expertly repaired, can still dent your vehicle's value.
  • Mileage: The more you drive, the more your car depreciates. High mileage cars tend to be less valuable than low mileage ones.
  • Aging: As the years go by, cars generally become less valuable due to the natural aging process.

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Tax Implications

Depreciation isn't just about the value of your vehicle; it also has tax implications. For businesses using vehicles, depreciation can be a tax-saving opportunity. The IRS allows for the depreciation of business assets, including vehicles, over time, potentially reducing taxable income and resulting in lower tax bills. This tax benefit acknowledges that assets lose value over time and provides businesses with a way to recover some of these costs.

Managing Depreciation

While you can't halt depreciation, you can soften its impact:

  • Regular Maintenance: Keep your car in tip-top shape. Regular servicing and addressing any issues promptly can slow the depreciation process.
  • Drive Wisely: Consider how much you drive and how you drive. Fewer miles and gentle handling can help retain value.
  • Timing: If you're planning to sell, timing can be your ally. Selling before major overhauls or a newer model release might fetch a better price.
  • Resale Value: Choose a make and model known for retaining value. Look into depreciation rates before making a purchase.

In the end, depreciation is an inevitable part of car ownership - and most other assets, actually. But with some care and foresight, you can navigate it wisely, ensuring that you get the best return when it's time to sell.


Investigate depreciation rates for different makes and models before making a purchase. Choosing a vehicle known for retaining value can help mitigate the impact of depreciation when it's time to sell.
Yes, regular maintenance, like timely servicing and addressing issues promptly, can slow down the depreciation process, helping to maintain your vehicle's value.
Depreciation can have tax implications for businesses. The IRS allows for the depreciation of business assets, including vehicles, over time, potentially reducing taxable income and resulting in lower tax bills.

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