I have seen a lot of cars and trucks in my lifetime. It was part of my job as a car salesman to observe and evaluate the condition of customer’s cars. Through experience, I got a “feel” for the trade-in value of cars. Cars that had been well maintained, mechanically and cosmetically, were valued hundreds, even thousands of dollars more than the same make, model and year of cars that had been neglected.
This article will tell you how to maintain your car so that when it is time to sell or trade it you will receive the maximum value.
Guideline#1: Clean the exterior of your car – wash, clean and wax.
Keeping the finish of your car clean from bird droppings, dirt, chemicals and acid rain, cleaning the exterior at least twice a month will minimize any damage to its finish.
Guideline #2: Buy and use auto protective sprays to protect and preserve the exterior vinyl (plastic) trim.
Armor All Outlast is an excellent product for this purpose. Use Turtle Wax Bug and Tar Remover to remove tar and bugs from body panels and bumpers.
Guideline #3: Keep interior clean and shiny.
Try to avoid getting scratches in the dash, doors and instrument panel. Here are some examples of protective interior sprays:
Armor All(tm): Interior Detailer Spray and Armor All(tm): Outlast Interior Restorer Cream.
Vacuum upholstery, carpeting and mats. Use Turtle Wax: Power Out Upholstery Cleaner to remove stains and dirt from fabric and leather seats. After vacuuming, wash and dry floor mats. Use car carpet cleaners to remove dirt from carpeted mats.
Another very important consideration when maintaining your interior is to keep it smelling clean. There are numerous auto deoderants available to keep the interior smelling clean and pleasant. Avoid smoking inside the car as cigarette smoke is a major deterrent to potential car buyers.
Guideline #4: Dings and Dents
Have exterior dings and dents repaired by an auto professional before selling or trading-in car.
Guideline #5: Keep the car in good “running” condition.
Have the oil and filter changed every 3000 to 4000 miles. Keep fluids at the proper level. Periodically check all belts and hoses for wear and replace when necessary. Replace spark plugs at 105,000 miles or check in owner’s manual for your car’s time table to change spark plugs. Any unusual noises or vibrations should be investigated. Of primary concern are noises emanating from the engine, transmission and suspension system.
Guideline #6: Have minor issues resolved before they turn into major problems.
Major problems equal major expenditures. By keeping up with small issues you will avoid spending a lot of money on repairs “down the road.” I know some people prefer to fix their own cars in order to save money. I advocate this if you have the time available to do the work and if you know how to professionally repair your car. But, most people realize that many mechanical problems require the use of diagnostic computers that pin-point the problem, and this can only be done at the car dealership. Minor problems can be repaired by a trusted and reputable repair shop.
Guideline #7: Keep your alloy wheels clean and shiny.
Before selling your car, have scratches and dings removed by professional alloy wheel re-conditioners.
Guideline #8: Keep your lights clean.
There are special cleaners such as Turtle Wax Headlight Lens Restorer, that give your lights that “new car look.” For “very clouded” lights you can go to repair shops that can recondition the light bezels (covers).
Guideline #9: Maintain records.
Keep all repair bills, oil changes, parts bills, emission reports, history of ownership and title documents.
These are simple guidelines to keep your car properly maintained. A well-maintained car runs smoothly and looks great, which equates to a car that, when ready to sell or trade, will command a considerably higher resale value than a similar model that has been neglected. If you follow the nine guidelines laid out in this article, you are virtually guaranteed the highest resale value for your car.
Remember for your auto parts, please shop online from Amazon.com, Tirerack.com, and Vividracing.com.