There are a lot of questions when it comes to determining what an asset is, and if a car is an asset or a liability. 

In this article we will go over some of the most common questions related to cars, and whether they can be considered an asset or a liability.

Can a car be considered an asset?

Yes, a car is a tangible asset for both individuals and companies, that can be sold for cash. However, a car is a depreciating asset, which means that over time its value will continuously decrease.

It is also important to mention that there are several liabilities associated with the ownership of a car. If you own a car you need to maintain it, pay the insurance, and any taxes related to its ownership. If you have a loan on your car, that is also a liability.

Why is a car a depreciating asset?

A car is a depreciating asset because over time its value continuously diminishes. However, this is not true for every car model, and in fact, some cars including classic cars can be considered appreciating assets, since their value tends to increase over time.

What is a depreciating asset?

A depreciating asset is an asset that tends to lose its monetary value as time passes. Usually, these types of assets are bought with a specific intention, to perform a task. With the usage, they may lose their value and that is why they are considered depreciating assets.

Now we discuss the depreciation of the assets, A depreciating asset is a type of asset that may have the potential to lose value. you Can use the vehicle for some types of business. If you have purchased a car at a particular amount last year, that car’s equity can be reduced. However, it is an asset as you may sell it to make a certain amount, 

Are cars always a depreciating asset?

Recently due to the coronavirus, and the disruption of supply chains, used car prices skyrocketed, which put the common notion that cars are depreciating assets to the test.

It is still fair to consider a car a depreciating asset under normal circumstances, but as we have seen there may be a period of time when cars can actually appreciate in value regardless of the model, or brand.

Is a car a liability?

No, a car is an asset. However, it is important to understand that car ownership has its liabilities, including:

  • Fueling
  • Maintenace
  • Auto Insurance
  • Tax costs
  • Auto loan

All of these costs are common if you own a car, and they are considered liabilities. Although a car is not a liability itself, owning a car comes with several liabilities.

Is your car an asset if you have an auto loan?

Yes, your car is still an asset even if you have an auto loan. The car itself is still an asset, but the auto loan or the remaining payments are considered a liability. It is also important to understand the concept of equity.

In the case of a car and its loan, the equity is considered the difference between the value of the car on the second-hand market, and the money you owe on the auto loan.

Is an auto loan a liability?

Yes, an auto loan is considered a liability, and the monthly payments are an expense.

Does your car count as part of your net worth?

Yes, a car should be accounted for when calculating your net worth. Your whole net worth includes all of the assets you own, and your car is an asset. Therefore when calculating your net worth you should always try to determine the value of your car on the used car market, and add it to your net worth calculation.

Is a car part of your liquid net worth?

No, your car is not part of your liquid net worth. The liquid net worth includes assets that you own that can be readily converted into cash, and a car is considered a non-liquid asset. Therefore you cannot use it when calculating your liquid net worth.

How to calculate your net worth with an auto loan

A car loan is a liability, so when you calculate your net worth, you should subtract the remaining value of your car loan from the total amount of your assets.

What are liquid assets?

Liquid assets are assets that an individual or a company owns that can be rapidly converted into cash, without losing any of their fair market value. If you try to sell your car rapidly you may not get the best price. You can always go to a used car dealer to sell your car, but you will likely get a price that is below the market value.

Since a car as an asset lacks liquidity, and you may be forced to take a lower price than its value to rapidly convert it into cash, it is considered an illiquid asset.