Besides your home, deciding to invest in a new car will be one of the most costly decisions you make. In addition to the initial purchase price, the average American spends $9,382 on their car annually, according to AAA's latest research. That equates to almost $800 every month to keep their cars in the best condition possible. Drivers are also holding onto their cars longer before moving onto their next vehicle- around 12 years. When you do decide to change cars, it makes sense that you'll want to get the best value for your old car. However, it is commonly said that cars lose 50 to 60 percent of their value within the first 3 years of ownership. So how can you ensure your car retains as much value as possible?
Keep Your Headlights And Brake Lights In Its Best Condition
The functionality of your car's headlights and brake lights not only impacts its resale value, but it also affects the safety of the vehicle. Non-functioning headlights, signal lights, or brake lights are some of the top factors affecting resale or trade-in value for cars. Yet, many drivers often neglect to check the lighting system on their cars during a vehicle inspection. Around 8 percent of cars failed their inspections during National Car Care Month due to their left, right or, center brake lights not working while another 3 percent failed due to their headlights, side markers, or turn signals not working properly.
Issues like headlight glare are also dangerous. Headlight glare is estimated to cause at least 1 percent of road accidents every year. To keep your lights in good condition, perform regular brake and signal light checks. Drivers should also look out for signs of headlight oxidation which is caused by road debris and UV light. It is important to remember that most lights oxidize over time as their protective coating wears off. As this happens, your lights will become cloudy or fogged, impacting their function.Thankfully, most headlight restoration kits can restore oxidized lights to their former condition. However, if there is moisture on the interior of your headlights, it may be best to get them replaced. Finally, be sure to replace any non-working headlight bulbs as soon as possible. The cost of replacing a halogen bulb average between $15-$20 while replacing an entire headlight can cost you as much as $200.
Keep The Paintwork Pristine With Regular Washes And Waxing
The average American spends 70 billion hours driving every year, so, understandably, your car will show signs of wear and tear- including its aesthetic features and paintwork. However, to minimize those pesky scratches or color fading, it is recommended that you keep up a regular wash and detail routine. Along with regular car washes, be sure to wax your car at least twice a year to avoid paintwork deterioration due to sunlight and harsh element exposure. Your choice of vehicle polish or paint protectant will also play a role in determining how often you need to wax your car.
When choosing a wax, drivers should also consider the finish they want for their car. Car waxes made from Carnuba tend to give a rich, deeper shine but are not as long-lasting as synthetic waxes. Synthetic waxes, on the other hand, are easy to apply and last for as long as 9 months.
Don't Underestimate The Power Of A Clean And Odor-Free Interior
For many used car sellers, one of the best ways to increase a car's value is to maintain a clean and regularly detailed interior. In a 2008 study, a smoke-free car saw its value rise by 7.7 percent compared to one that had the lingering effects of second-hand smoke. Additionally, in a survey by Carbuyer, 87 percent of buyers say they would not consider buying a used car that has been smoked in. This in effect, reduces the price of your car on the market when you decide to sell.
To keep your car's interior in tip-top shape, schedule regular vacuum of the seats, crevices, and floors. Drivers should also treat stains as soon as they occur to minimize long-lasting effects. It can be handy to have a mini car care kit on hand in your trunk. Alternatively, you can try home remedies like ¼ cup of baking soda mixed with warm water to life stains. To get rid of lingering smoke particles, be sure to remove all cigarette and smoke particles as soon as possible. Afterward, try deodorizing the car with a specialty interior cleaning spray or odor neutralizer. Finally, be sure to ventilate your car which can minimize the intensity of any cigarette or food smells in your car. Alternatively, you could opt to pill over to smoke.
A final tip: pay attention to your tires. Neglecting to do regular tire maintenance and repairs can lead to wheel damage- a big no from buyers. These simple maintenance hacks can keep your car not only looking its best but also help it command the best price when you are ready to sell.