10 Tips for Maintaining Your Car’s Value
Buying a car is one of the biggest investments most people will make during their lifetime. Unfortunately, no matter how much you initially spend, no vehicle will hold its value. In fact, they start depreciating the moment you drive them off the lot. However, you will still have value in that vehicle when the time comes to sell it if you take care of it. And the better you maintain it, the more money you will get for it when the time comes to sell or trade. Using these tips for maintaining your car’s value can help you get the best price for your car when it’s time for a new one.
Know Which Vehicles Retain Their Value Best
Some cars are known for retaining their value more than others. When you go to buy a car, be a savvy shopper and do your research first. Compare the price of both new and used vehicles and try to pick a car that is known to hold its value. Don’t buy based on appearance and price alone. instead, take the time to assess all of the financial implications of long-term ownership.
Think of Your Vehicle as an Investment
While a car is never worth as much tomorrow as it is today, it does have some value when resold or traded in at the dealership and used as a down payment on a new vehicle. Therefore it helps if you think of your vehicle as an investment – one you plan to get some more for once you decide to sell. Keeping this mindset can go a long way to helping you treat your car with respect and care. People who tend to think of their car as nothing more than a tool for getting from point A to point B, are less likely to look after that vehicle.
Keep the Vehicle Clean
One of the most obvious ways to help your car maintain its value is by keeping it clean – inside and out. A persistently dirty interior and exterior can lead to faded carpets and upholstery, permanent stains and body corrosion – all of which can impact your vehicle’s performance and make the car look bad when it comes time to sell. Unfortunately keeping you can clean is often easier said than done – especially if you have kids! Luckily there are lots of vehicle accessories that can help you control clutter and keep your car clean including floor mats, seat covers, trash cans, and organizers. I’ve also found it helps to set aside an hour once every week or two to go through and remove trash and clutter, give the car a quick vacuum, and take it through a touchless car wash. At least twice a year I have it detailed, washed and waxed.
Don’t Eat, Drink or Smoke in Your Car
Going right along with keeping the car clean… ideally, you should not eat, drink or smoke inside your vehicle. However, as a busy mom, I know that there are times where this is simply not feasible. It’s these times where the seat covers and trash cans I mentioned above can really come in handy. If you absolutely cannot avoid eating and drinking, make sure you regularly remove any crumbs, sticky fingerprints, empty wrappers and all the other daily debris that accumulates with kids. Coffee, juice and soft drink spills can permanently stain the upholstery and hurt your vehicle’s value, as well. I also keep a pack of wipes and some paper towels in the car to take care of any accidental spills – immediately.
As for smoking inside your car, don’t do it. Nothing hurts the resale value of a vehicle more than if it smells like an ashtray inside.
Avoid Excessive Mileage
The first question on everyone’s mind when buying a car is: “How many miles does it have on it?” It’s well known that the number of miles on a vehicle determines how much it is worth. The more miles a car has, the less it is going to be worth. The yearly average of miles put on a vehicle for most people is between 12,000 and 15,000 miles. Over 20,000 miles a year is considered heavy usage. A car’s value will drop steeply once it passes the 100,000-mile mark, and after 200,000 miles the value plummets even further. So watching the mileage you put on your car and keeping it low is very important. There are plenty of ways you can cut down on mileage including carpooling, avoiding unnecessary errands, and even considering renting a car when taking a road trip.
Take Care When Driving
How you treat your car will directly affect how well and long your car runs. Actions such as start-and-stop driving, towing, excessive weight and speeds, or even driving in areas that have unpaved or poor road conditions can all hurt your car in the long run. On the other hand, driving the speed limits, gentle acceleration, and braking, and avoiding bad spots in the road can help your car age with dignity and retain more value.
Keep Up with Proper Maintainance
When was the last time you had your oil changed? How about the air in your tires checked? These things and more fall under proper maintenance and they are important when it comes to keeping your vehicle running smoothly. Many are inexpensive and easy enough to do yourself, too. Refer to your owner’s manual to see the recommended maintenance times and make a point to stick to that schedule. Not only will it help keep your car in top shape, but it will also keep you safe too.
Avoid Repairing Your Car by Yourself
Home repair jobs can often end up doing serious damage to the resale value of any vehicle. While I am not suggesting you run to a mechanic or repair shop every time something needs fixing or maintaining, it is best to have professionals like those at Hillview Motors do all major maintenance and repairs on a car. Not only does this ensure the job gets done right, but it also ensures your car looks good and retains its value.
Store Your Vehicle Properly
If you have a garage, use it. Weather can wreak havoc on a car’s exterior. Too much sun can fade the paint and the interior, hail can crack the windshield, snow and ice can hurt the paint over time. Even the temperature can affect your car’s exterior and engine components. Therefore, if you have a garage or even a carport, use it. If you do not have one, covering your car with a tarp can help keep the elements at bay.
Thinking of trading your car for a new one? Kayser Chrysler Center of Watertown has a great selection of both new and used cars and specializes in Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and RAM – all known for holding their value over time.