Your vehicle is an investment and investments must be maintained to ensure top value. One day, you may be looking to sell or trade in your car, and its value will be dependent on many factors, from the type of engine it has to its interior condition to how it smells. Here are 11 ways to maintain the value of your car.
Keep your car clean and tidy
One of the top ways to maintain the value of your car is keeping it neat and clean. Frequently clean the interior and exterior of your vehicle to prevent grime from accumulating, scratches from occurring on your paint job, and spots from staining your upholstery.
Protect your car’s interior from damage
In addition to ensuring your vehicle is clean, protect its interior from damage, too. Some recommended options include floor mats, car seat covers, and vehicle and trunk organizers. Small trash bins can also keep the mess at bay. Also, utilize protective sealants on vinyl and plastic to prevent sun damage.
Don’t smoke in your car
The smell of cigarette smoke will permeate the fabric in a vehicle and is a smell that is difficult, if not impossible, to remove. In addition, cigarette burns in carpet or upholstery will also diminish a car’s value. If you are a cigarette smoker, never smoke in your vehicle.
Stay on top of maintenance needs
Keep your vehicle properly maintained to reduce the potential of catastrophic damage or failure to the vehicle itself. Stay on top of oil change needs, based on your vehicle’s recommended service schedule (typically 3,000-5,000 miles).
Visually check for low tire pressure each time you drive and fully test at each oil change, filling as needed. Tires should be rotated every 5,000-10,000 miles to maintain even wear.
Keep your fluids topped off, checking and filling as needed at each oil change interval, or more often if you have an older vehicle. When warmer or colder weather starts ramping up, it’s a good idea to check all fluid levels and tire pressure as well.
In addition, follow your car’s service manual for additional recommended maintenance and service requirements.
Protect the exterior and keep it covered
Where you store your vehicle when not in use is extremely important. If possible, keep it garaged and safe from the elements, other vehicles, and thieves. If you do not have access to a garage, covered or pop-up carports are also good options.
If you are forced to use exposed street parking, try to avoid trees. While they may provide shade, they can also drip sap onto your car, damaging your paint job. If you have to park under trees or in an always exposed area, consider using a car cover to keep your paint damage free.
Park smartly to keep your car safe
When you are out and about, remember to park your car to avoid dents and dings from more careless drivers. Ideally, park right between your lines with an empty parking space between your car and the one next to you to give drivers room to enter and exit their vehicles without bumping into yours.
Also look for spots that face into a walkway, that way other cars will not be able to damage your bumpers. Park in a well-lit area and keep valuables out of sight to keep thieves from breaking into and damaging your vehicle as well.
Drive safely to avoid damage
One factor many drivers don’t consider when it comes to the value of their vehicle is the wear-and-tear aggressive driving can put on a car. Drive safely and efficiently to keep your vehicle in good working order; reduce the number of brake jobs, tire replacements, and maintenance needs; and help avoid crashes that can severely damage or even total your car.
Keep the mileage low
A low-mileage car is a desirable vehicle in the resale market. Drive your car fewer miles to maintain a high-value. Consider utilizing a rental car when going on a road trip or see if there are carpool options available for frequent commutes, such as work or school.
Avoid adverse driving conditions
Every day on the road, your car is barraged with debris and rocks. Pay attention to road conditions and drive slowly on rockier roads to help prevent damage. Weather can also be an enemy of your car. Dust storms can scratch your paint and hail storms can do serious damage to a car’s body and glass.
Snow and ice can cause slick roads and a higher chance of a crash. If adverse weather is a possibility, consider keeping your car garaged and staying in doors.
Keep all of your repair and maintenance records
When you are looking to resell your carefully maintained vehicle, a potential buyer is going to want to know that it’s been well taken care of. Keep records of maintenance and repair work done on your vehicle to increase your vehicle’s value.
Consider resale at time of purchase
Finally, the value of your car depends highly on the vehicle you have in the first place. When you purchase your car, keep its resale value in mind. Vehicles that are heavily discounted due to an odd paint color, interior scheme, or even a lack of amenities can negatively impact resale value down the line.