Aside from your home, your car may be your most valuable asset. And although it will certainly lose value over time, mainly through usage but possibly due to accidents and other issues, that doesn’t mean you want to give up on maintenance and let it go completely to pot. The better care you take of your vehicle from the get-go, the longer it’s going to continue taking you from point A to point B. And a clean title, a clear history, and proof of proper maintenance will help you to preserve the value as much as possible for eventual resale. Heck, you might even keep it long enough that it becomes a classic, actually raising the value in the future (although you shouldn’t count on that unless you have a fairly pricy or rare car to begin with).
In any case, here are a few tips for care that will ensure your car stays in ship-shape for as long as possible:
Regular maintenance. Perhaps the best overall way to keep your vehicle in top condition is to take it in for regular tune-ups and fluid changes. Some tasks you can complete on your own, like changing the oil and filters, if you so choose. And if you have some mechanical knowledge or experience, as well as the proper tools, you may be able to do a lot more. But most people need the help of a professional to check the engine and all the moving parts on a regular schedule in order to ensure that everything is running smoothly. This will not only keep your wheels a-rollin’, but if you keep good records you can show a buyer proof that you’ve taken good care of your vehicle, raising your potential to get full value out of your car upon sale.
Regular cleaning. A good mechanic will service your engine, but the onus is on you to take care of the cosmetic details. Depending on how much use your car gets and the environment you drive through, it could be in need of a wash anywhere from once a week to once a month. You should be able to figure out a regular cleaning schedule that works for your vehicle over time. But you should also clean the interior, condition any parts that need it (leather upholstery, tires, etc.), and wax your car on a regular basis, as well.
Addressing damage. If you suffer a fender bender or major accident, chances are your car will go straight to the shop for repair, especially if someone else is at fault and footing the bill, or your car is out of commission until you have it fixed. But you might not be so quick to address minor damage like the scratches, dents, and dings that comprise run-of-the-mill wear and tear. This, however, could be a costly mistake, especially if you live in a wet area where rust could set in.
Frequent use. Believe it or not, using your car regularly can actually help to preserve its condition, especially in cases where it is sitting idle for a while. There may be times where you leave your car sitting for weeks or even months at a time. This is pretty common for people who own leisure vehicles in addition to their everyday, around-town car. But if you’re going to leave fluids in the car rather than putting it in dry-dock, so to speak, you need to fire it up and cruise it around every so often to ensure that corrosion and particulate build-up don’t foul the entire system.
Covered storage. It’s not a bad idea to keep car covers in the trunk if you live in an area where extreme weather conditions could affect your car. You could either use generic options or find Ford, BMW, or even Hyundai car covers to advertise your love of a particular brand. This is a great option for times when you can’t ensure covered parking. But when you’re at home, the best way to keep your car looking fantastic is to park it in a solid structure. A carport is nice, but an enclosed garage is ideal.