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How To Maintain The Value Of Your Car And Boost Its Selling Price

According to the estimates provided by The International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturer (http://www.oica.net/wp-content/uploads//total-sales_2012-2014-Q2.pdf ), there were more than 44 million cars in the world in 2014! Cars are everywhere. They have become so ubiquitous that it is hard to imagine there was a time when there were no cars. These days, it is a rare family that does not own a car or more and even rarer that never owned a car. With ever increasing numbers of us working far from home, cars have become an inseparable part of our daily lives. They are no longer a luxury we can do without but a necessity that we cannot do without. Cars are driven by the affluent few as well as the poorest of the poor. It is therefore crucially important that we make the best use of such valuable property by maintaining its value.

Why should you maintain the value of your car?

The simplest and most straightforward answer would be to save money. Cars are so expensive nowadays that few can afford to pay down payment let alone pay the full price in cash. Beside the cost of the car, there are many other car-related expenses to consider such as auto insurance, taxes, monthly car payments, and maintenance. Most people are thus forced to dig deep into their pockets to buy and keep a car. Moreover, most families need more than one car which further increases the total cost of cars for families. Together, all these add up to make owning a car one of the biggest expenses you will ever incur in your life. In fact, many analysts place it 2nd only to home buying in terms of cost. Used cars are less expensive but a reliable one will still cost you thousands of dollars in addition to the inherent risk all used cars come with.

Depreciation is another factor that affects the value of the car. The rate at which cars depreciate in value vary greatly depending on the make and model of the car but according to www.consumerreports.org, depreciation accounts for 48% of total ownership cost and that the average model depreciates at a whopping rate of 65% in five years!

But depreciation is not the only factor that affects the ultimate price of cars. The physical condition of the car also matters in car valuation. Though car depreciation is a common fate that awaits all cars, the value of a well-maintained car will always be much higher than that of a comparable car that was not so well maintained. “You will pay more for a low-mileage, 2-year-old car that smells and shines like new” than you would otherwise according to bankrate.com. Maintaining the value of your car will thus give you an advantage whether you plan to sell or trade it at some point or just intend to keep it for yourself. In either case, you will end up a winner because when you sell or trade it, it will fetch you more money from buyers who will be inclined to pay more for your well-maintained car. If you plan to keep it yourself, on the other hand, you will also enjoy the extra years regular maintenance will add to your car’s life obviating the need to buy another car for a much longer period than you would otherwise. It therefore makes a lot of sense to preserve the value of your car. Now that you know the reasons why you should maintain your car, we can look at how you can maintain the value of your car.

How to maintain the value of your car

Maintaining your car’s value is actually not very difficult. All it requires is that you regularly follow the schedule of maintenance and have problems fixed right away. Here are the details of how to maintain the value of your car.

Minimize Dents and Scratches

Dents and scratches on your car can happen for many reasons but it most commonly occurs during parking. When you or the owner of the car next to yours opens a door, it may result in scratches and dents in your car or the other car. Accidents are another reason for dents and scratches. Though it may be impossible to totally avoid them, you should do everything in your power to minimize them because they are usually quite expensive to fix. More importantly, they can quickly drive away potential customers whose initial impressions will be negatively impacted by these imperfections. By regularly washing your car and parking away from, trees, and other objects, you can greatly minimize scratches or dents to your car and thereby maintain the value of your car.

A Tidy Interior Adds Value

Another important way to maintain the value of your car is to keep the interior clean, neat, and pleasing to the eye. If the interior is not kept clean or well maintained, it will send the wrong signals to a potential buyer who will begin to think that the car was in the hands of a careless owner. Not only should the interior of the car be kept clean and attractive but it should also be free of bad odor. A smelly car is an immediate turn-off to any potential buyer and the car will quickly lose much of its attractiveness and consequently its market value.

But this is a situation that can be minimized or totally avoided by taking a few precautions. First, avoid eating and drinking inside the car. If you must eat or drink, at least make sure you remove any fallen crumbs or spills and clean immediately using a cleaning solution. If you let the stains remain on upholstery for weeks or months, it will become a permanent stain that will be impossible to remove. Red-dye in particular should be cleaned immediately because it is difficult to remove. Second, don’t smoke inside the car. In addition to the discoloration it may cause to surfaces, smoking inside your car will leave a semi-permanent smoking odor.

Keep Wheels in Perfect Condition

When you think of car care, wheels may be the last thing that comes to your mind. Yet, the condition of wheels can significantly affect a car’s market value. The edges of the wheels can get scratched or bent during parallel parking if the wheels are made of alloy. Many buyers of higher-end vehicles are likely to minutely inspect the wheels for any defect and may walk away in a heartbeat if they notice the slightest damage to the wheels. If your wheels are damaged, you don’t always have to replace them. There are professional repair shops that can fix it for you for much less than the cost of replacement.

Polish Faded Headlights

Another thing about car care most car owners will pay less attention to is the headlights. Faded headlights or a change to yellow color is a tell-tale sign of the car’s real age. Years of exposure to the sun and environment can do that to your car’s headlights. The plastic headlight lenses will show signs of age long before the rest of the car does. Fortunately, taking care of this issue is actually quite simple. Just have it polished at auto detailers which shouldn’t cost you much. This will make your car more attractive to potential buyers when they compare yours to other cars of the same age.

Protect Your Car In the garage

If you have a garage, count your blessing. Inside a garage, your car is maximally protected from many natural elements including wind, heat, branches, or snowstorms. A car that is exposed to the ravages of nature like heat and wind will lose its value much faster than one that is kept in the garage. Keeping it in the garage also protects it from accidental scratches or dents by cars parked too close to yours.

Tune-Ups Add Value And Years to your Car’s Life

By far, this may be the most important task you perform to maintain the value of your car. Since you may never know when you might decide to sell or trade your car, it is wise to maintain a regular tune-up. It is also important to listen for and repair unusual noises in the car particularly those originating in the engine and have them repaired right away. If check engine light keeps appearing, don’t ignore it and have your car inspected immediately. Noises and lights are some of the first things experienced buyers or their hired mechanics will diligently look for and this may force you to substantially lower the car price of the car you are selling or trading. Performing regular tune-ups and fixing problems as soon as possible will not only save you from major repair costs down the road by catching problems early but also increase your car’s appeal since a well-tuned car drives smoothly and quietly.

Save Service Records

Above all, save your service records to prove that you have been taking care of your car! A buyer will have no reason to believe your claims about the condition of your car but if you can produce a meticulously kept service record, you will not only corroborate your claims and shore up the potential customer’s confidence in you but will increase your bargaining power. The customer will likely be happy to pay more for such a carefully maintained car. Furthermore, the more complete the service record and the closer it is to the factory service requirements, the better. If nothing else, you should at least make sure you regularly change your oil and keep the receipts. An engine oil change costs about £89.00per change and is definitely a very small price to pay for maintaining the value of your car and for extending its life.

Here are some additional notes or tips to keep in mind during winter: If you will be travelling or leaving your car for more than three to four weeks, make sure you keep the battery charged by disconnecting the negative terminal. Additionally, check your tires and consider getting winter tires which will preserve them and provide for a better control during snowy conditions. Also, warm your car before you drive in cold weather condition.

Checklist For Maintaining The Value of your Car

  1. Park your car as far apart as possible from other cars or objects to avoid dents and scratches.
  2. Keep your car squeaky clean inside and out by regularly washing and cleaning.
  3. Keep the car in the garage if you have one to protect it from excessive wind and heat.
  4. Have your headlights polished and looking bright and in good shape.
  5. Make sure your wheels are in perfect shape and repair them quickly at the slightest damage
  6. Have your car serviced regularly.
  7. Keep a meticulous record of all maintenance work you did for your car.

How to sell your car

If you follow the above guidelines, selling your car will be a breeze. There are three simple rules that will help you sell your car for a better price. First, have it checked for any problems by taking it to a mechanic to conduct a full diagnostic test. Second, immediately fix problems particularly engine or transmission related troubles that such an inspection uncovers. Most buyers will have your car checked by a qualified mechanic anyway and are likely to discover the same problems you did. This will make them lose interest in the car. Third, take care or repair any cosmetic damages to your car such as dents, scratched, and fading paints or colors. Furthermore, ensure that the interior is neat and attractive and that the upholstery is in good condition. Fourth and finally, go to online sites that can estimate the value of your car. You can get such information at car valuation services such as Kelley Blue Book, easycarbuyers.com, webuyanycar.com, consumerreports.org, Parkers, and National Automobile Dealers Association. You will be asked to provide your postal code, year, mileage etc…and receive a report that shows a range of values you can get for your car depending on its actual condition.

As an example, here is the estimated current value we received from Parkers for a 2012/61 BMW 3-Series Saloon in the SW1A 0AA postal code.

Poor condition: £11,735

Good condition: £13,205

As you can see above, the difference between what you can get for a well-maintained car (excellent condition) is significantly greater than what you would get for a car in fair condition which means not well-maintained. The dollar difference between the two is almost three thousand!

If you follow the advice we give above and your car runs well, you will be able to sell it at a reasonable price and even for more than your car is really worth!