How much is my car worth? Here's How to Calculate

Kamilya - January 8, 2024

A shiny new car is a status symbol, and for some people the smell of a new car alone is the most beautiful perfume in the room. But the moment you get behind the wheel of your new car for the first time, the depreciation begins. It is particularly high in the first year after the car is put on the market. You can see just how serious the effect of just one day is by the price reduction for vehicles with one-day registration. Although they have never been moved and have only been registered for one day by the car dealer, you can enjoy a substantial discount on these cars. They are considered used cars.

If you want to sell your car or buy a used one, you should know the vehicle value as accurately as possible. One way to do this is by calculating the current value. Value-decreasing or value-increasing factors are added to the overall loss in value of the car since registration with the road traffic office. In this article, we at CARIFY will tell you what these are and how you can increase the value of a vehicle.

How much does a car lose in value per year?

The depreciation of cars follows a curve, as it is particularly high in the first few years and then levels off at a lower level:

- After one year, the loss in value is 25%.

- After three years, the car is only worth 50%.

- In the following years, it loses 5 to 6 % annually.

- If the vehicle is 20 years old or more, it is usually only worth scrap value.

You can slow down this overall loss in value through your driving behavior and good maintenance. We'll tell you more about this later. There are also cars that retain their value better than others. We'll also come to this later.

What factors play a role in depreciation?

The year of manufacture and registration date have the greatest influence on the vehicle value. If the car has already passed through many hands, this further reduces its value. From a certain vehicle age, engine and vehicle parts that are prone to wear and tear need to be replaced. The number of kilometers driven also has an influence on when this needs to be done. A high mileage reduces the value of the vehicle considerably. Tip: Try to sell the car before the threshold value of 100,000 km mileage. After that, the value drops significantly.

Let's talk about the color of the paint: Your beloved bright green "leaf frog" will probably turn out to be a slow seller and can only be sold at a discount - unless you find someone who loves the color as much as you do. With paint colors such as black, anthracite, white or silver, you will hardly have any problems attracting buyers. Special paintwork or foiling, on the other hand, are not very sales-promoting. The interior should also not be decorated in overly eye-catching designs.

Dents and scratches in the paintwork as well as rust spots are also detrimental to the value of the vehicle, even more so damage caused by an accident. This also applies if the car has been professionally repaired. If the interior of the car looks scruffy or worn, the sales value drops. Other factors that reduce the value include a soon due or expired MFK or a missing/only briefly valid exhaust maintenance document.

Which cars have the lowest depreciation?

The massive depreciation of cars in the first few years is due to an oversupply of used vehicles in this age category. Demonstration cars are joined by lease returns and former rental cars. However, there are car makes or models whose value depreciates much more slowly:

- A good brand image has a stabilizing effect on value. Cult brands such as Mini or Ferrari still achieve relatively good prices, even when used. The same applies to popular used cars such as the VW Golf.

- In the past, the smallest and smallest cars of the VW, Dacia and Skoda brands as well as the Mini One recorded the lowest loss in value in the first three years at around 40%.

- In the business class, the VW Passat, Skoda Octavia and Ford Mondeo impress with a residual value of 53.5% after three years.

- Luxury class vehicles such as the Porsche Macan (65%) and the BMW X1 Drive (59%) are also very stable in value.

- Electric cars are currently suffering the highest loss in value. This is due to their once high purchase price, the loss of battery power, but above all to technological progress and the much greater ranges of newer models. In addition, an increasing supply is currently meeting with a decreasing demand, which is also depressing the prices of new electric cars.

In terms of fuel types, major shifts are to be expected in the coming years. Changes in the political framework will cause demand for e-cars to rise again, while the prices of new electric cars will fall. The importance of hybrid vehicles will then also decline, which will be reflected in a greater drop in value. Diesel and petrol cars will also soon be among the losers, as they are considered obsolete models under the EU's "Fit for 55" program. More and more cities are already banning vehicles with excessive emissions. Combustion-free zones will follow. If you are considering buying a combustion engine, you should keep these circumstances in mind.

How can I stop the depreciation of my car?

You can do a lot yourself to preserve the value of your vehicle for longer. You only have limited influence on things like mileage - after all, as a frequent or long-distance driver, you have to cover a lot of kilometers a year. The more care you take of your car, the better your chances of reselling it. These are our tips:

- Do not smoke in the car.

- If possible, don't eat anything in the car that spills.

- Only transport animals (especially dogs) in a box on the loading area.

- Park the car mainly in a garage.

- Regularly wash the car and engine, apply underbody protection and clean the interior.

- Attend service and maintenance appointments. Cars with a checkbook can be sold at a significantly higher price.

- Have repairs carried out professionally by garages and replace wearing parts with original spare parts.

Another option to counteract the loss in value of the car is to upgrade the equipment. Retrofitting basic or optional equipment can increase the value.

You can also enhance the appearance of a vehicle by giving it stylish alloy wheels, polishing up the paintwork and repairing small scratches. New windshield wipers are also a good idea. In the interior, replace the old floor mats with new ones and remove stains from the seat upholstery. A cup holder can be retrofitted for little money.


As nice as it is to drive a new car, the value of the vehicle drops sharply, especially in the first year, and after three years is only half of the new price. You can slow down the depreciation somewhat by taking good care of your car, but not by much. This makes new and as-new vehicles a costly affair. But there are alternatives!

Avoid the issue of depreciation and discover cars with a flexible subscription from CARIFY

Always drive a new car without any depreciation? That's possible with a car subscription from CARIFY. We work with partner garages and car dealers throughout Switzerland (support the locals!) and therefore always have a large selection of vehicles. With us you will find:

- 41 brands

- in many model variants

- as well as different equipment and colors

- with all common fuel types and gearboxes.

All vehicles are:

- new or as good as new,

- technically flawless,

- 1A maintained and

- equipped with seasonally suitable tires.

Whether you are a private or business customer - with our car subscriptions, depreciation is no longer an issue you have to worry about. If the emissions regulations change where you live, you can simply switch to an electric vehicle. You pay a monthly installment that already covers all the costs for your car. This includes registration fees, taxes and insurance premiums as well as regular maintenance, services and tire changes. When your subscription has expired, you can return your subscription car, exchange it for a newer model or (with the Flex subscription) extend the subscription for as long as you like.

Do you use your vehicle as a prestigious company car? Take a look at our selection of upper mid-range and luxury vehicles from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

How about a car that adapts to the growing space requirements of a young family? Discover spacious estate cars, SUVs and minivans. Or simply fulfill your dream of a really fast car with our coupés and sports cars.

With our vehicles with mild hybrid, plug-in hybrid, full hybrid or electric motors, you can travel without any loss of value and at the same time in an environmentally friendly and low-emission manner.

From commercial vehicles to pick-up trucks and delivery vans, we have the right van for you and your cargo.

Looking for a compact city runabout or want to drive a convertible in summer? No problem!


How much does a car lose after 5 years?

As a rule, a 5-year-old vehicle is only worth 40 to 50% of its original price.

What is a car still worth after 10 years?

After 10 years, cars lose around 80% of their value.

Which cars have high depreciation?

As a general rule, the higher the price of a new car, the greater the loss in value. If you buy an unpopular or less popular car, you risk even greater depreciation. There are differences in fuel types, for example. Changes are expected here in the future due to political guidelines.

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