Your vehicle is most likely the second most expensive purchase you have made after your home. For this reason it is very important to keep the value of your vehicle as high as possible, whether it’s going forward if you plan on selling it, or whether you are looking at trading it in or even keeping it for a long time. We all know the stories about how the average car loses 30% of its value as soon as you leave the lot, but in most cases if take care of it and do some very basic things you would be surprised how much of its value you can maintain, and in some cases you could even make money from it.
In the next few pages you will have a guideline on how you can maintain as much of your car’s value as possible.
Choosing a safe parking spot
Choosing a parking spot may seem insignificant to some, but it is an important first step to maintaining the value of your car. Things to look out for are not just parking far away from others, but also where you will park is important as well as for how long you will be leaving it there during the day. If you have access to an underground parking, it is definitely worth it to park there. This will ensure that your vehicle is safe from too much exposure to the harmful rays of the summer sun, and from any unforeseen violent storm producing harmful elements such as hale and falling tree branches.
The second factor quite often overlooked is trying not to park next to two door coupes, since they tend to have longer doors and require the doors be opened wide in order for the occupant to enter and exit.
How to prevent exterior damage
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure. The same goes for your car’s exterior finish. It is important especially if you will be parking your car outside in harmful rays of heat and in extreme climates to protect the outside of your car with some type of cover. Car covers will keep the car in the shade, preventing the fading of the paint, it will also offer a certain level of protection from dings and scratches from other cars nearby and from falling light branches and light hale.
For a relatively small price you can order a cover to suit your vehicle which will offer years of protection from the sun, sand, light dings, and small hale.
Of course parking your car in a spacious interior garage would be the ultimate in protection.
Fix dents & scratches
Nobody wants to come to his or her car after a day shopping or at work and find that it has been scratched or has a dent from a shopping cart from another door, but sometimes no matter how careful we are to park it away from dangerous elements things like this will happen. At this point the most important thing to do is to take care of the scratches and dents as soon as possible. Calling in an expert in paintless dent repair such as firstname.lastname@example.org is the quickest and least expensive way to deal with dents. Dentless paint repair services will be able to fix most dents in a matter of a few hours bringing the cars sheet metal back to factory without the necessity of repainting the body panel. PDR (paintless dent repair), offers a service where you don’t lose access to your car for a few days, the original factory paint ids maintained, and no insurance claim needs to be made because the cost of PDR is almost always less than most deductibles.
Light scratches can almost always be polished or wet sanded out bringing the car to original, and in case you do have a paint chip a professional service provider such as email@example.com can help professionally do a touch up and polish it in so that there is little if any evidence of the previous small damage.
Rust prevention is an integral part of maintaining the appearance, durability and value of your vehicle for as long as possible.
Most of today’s vehicles come from the manufacturer with an excellent rust prevention coating. There are various services offered especially in climates where there is a lot of snow and calcium on the road during the winter months where an extra layer of protection is added.
If you do live in an area where the road conditions are harsh during the winter months, then it could be a good idea to have extra rust protection added by the dealer or an external specialty garage offering this service.
More importantly though it is imperative to maintain a good coating of wax before the start of the winter season, and also to make sure that if you have any damage on the paint such as small dings and paint chips that they be repaired professionally so that the vehicle does not start to rust from an easily repaired damage.
Getting a professional wash after the winter season is over, including a good washing of the undercarriage and the inside of the wheel wells which are the most exposed to the harmful elements of slush and calcium will keep the car looking dapper for a very long time.
Keep interior clean
The most important element for the resale value of any car is its appearance, and a commonly overlooked part is keeping the interior looking and smelling clean.
It is imperative that you don’t overlook the maintenance of the interior of your car. With every car wash whether you do it yourself or you bring it to a car wash center, it is very important that you have the interior cleaned as well. This must in the bare minimum mean vacuuming of the upholstery and carpets, wiping down the dash, using non abrasive solvents to clean the interior of the windows and the interior trim to keep it looking clean and new. Most of today’s cars come with a protective coating for the carpets and upholstery to prevent stains from dirt and spills, but this in itself is not enough. You must clean all these areas as soon as a spill has occurred, and leather upholstery must be maintained supple and clean with the proper products so that it won’t age and crack.
Avoid eating inside your car, and avoid, if possible smoking in it also.
Use a pet liner if you will be transporting your pet in order to prevent shedding on the upholstery.
Have the interior detailed at least once a year, especially after winter to remove any calcium on the carpets.
If you do smoke in the car, look at having it deodorized at least once a year.
A spotless interior might not be the first thing you see on a car, but it is what clinches the resale value, after all it’s that clean new car smell that makes you want to buy a car.
Fixing exterior damage
Sometimes no matter how much we try to be careful, accidents do happen. It’s important though when they do happen that we repair them as soon as possible.
Common issues are scratched or torn leather seats, steering wheels, or door panels.
Cuts or cigarette burns or seats, roof liners, or dashes are another very common issue.
Know that there are professional services that can take care of the problem quickly and in most cases relatively inexpensive as compared to going to the dealer and having that part replaced.
Most repairs if done within a relatively short time lapse since the occurrence can be repaired with in most cases almost no evidence of the damage at all.
Contacting a professional in the industry such as firstname.lastname@example.org can definitely be of great advantage because they will be able to guide you to repair the problem as soon as possible.
Keep exterior looking new
In a previous section we mentioned how important it was to keep the exterior of the car looking new, by preventing damage from happening, and by repairing damage as soon as possible. In this section we will touch on what else should be done on a regular basis to keep it looking new.
First and most importantly, you must wash your car at least once a month if not more. Keeping a clean exterior prevents the surface of your clear coat from fading and giving the car a dull finish. If you can’t wash it at home, then be sure to carefully choose a reputable car wash, one where certain standards are maintained and the car is hand washed rather than being put through a machine.
Have the car waxed at least twice a year by a professional detailer such as email@example.com and have it polished at least once a year to make sure that the road grime and chemicals from road debris are removed to maintain the finish of your car.
It is also an excellent idea to give the car a Ceramic Coating (those usually last between 3 to 5 years) and besides keeping the car looking showroom shine they also provide a hydrophobic effect on the finish of the metal making anything spilled on the car slide off.
Maintain service & records
Often overlooked, it is so very important to maintain the vehicle according to the service scheduled by the manufacturer and to also keep any receipts and records of the service being done, including the date and mileage on the car, This will ensure that the car is always in perfect running order and that all service has been done according to what the manufacturer recommends. It is not necessary to have this service done at the dealer, but it is advised that the service be done by an expert that is preferably trained and certified to work on that particular car. All recalls must have been taken care of and you must have an organized folder with the records showing all this information.
In conclusion, maintaining the value of your vehicle involves basic common sense.
Prevent damage by parking in a safe location
If the car is damaged, have it repaired as soon as possible
Keep the car rust free by washing often and using mentioned prevention
The interior of the car is as important as the exterior
If there is damage inside, take care of it right away
Washing and waxing the car keeps it looking new longer
Adhere to manufacturers service schedule and keep copies
The car is like you. Keep it clean on the outside and clean on the inside to make it last longer and always look new.
In the case of the car being a lease, you will be surprised how adhering to these above rules will keep the vehicles value to the point that you will often be able to actually even sell the vehicle above the buy back value, and make some extra money.
For any help on lease returns and helping you evaluate the vehicle before going to the dealer and getting shocked with repairs to be done, contacting a professional such as firstname.lastname@example.org can save you a lot of time and money when it comes time to return or trade in your car.