Okay, so I happen to label myself a car fanatic, freak, and whatever else you want to call me. I am obsessed with my pick-up truck and obsessed with my dad’s beautiful, impeccable blue 1969 SS Camaro. I want to cry when either of these two cars gets dirty, so I paid close attention when my father taught me everything I needed to know about keeping cars in the best of conditions.
I go to car shows all the time and notice cars that have lost significant value when they shouldn’t have– a little bit of elbow grease could have helped out immensely. The appreciation and love of a car is all you really need to feel extremely motivated to do everything and anything in your power to keep it in tip top shape. These ten things are just a few of the things me and my dad do in order to keep the value of our vehicles consistent.
1. Washing Your Car
Keeping your car clean helps prevent a lot of different problems that can develop later on down the road and chip away at the value of your car, not the least of which being rust and corrosion. If you live in an area where it snows, prioritize cleaning your car because the salt used to absorb snow is also harmful to your car and can lead to additional corrosion.
If excess dirt has gathered all over your car, which is a problem everywhere, it needs to get washed off ASAP because it can cause rust.
My Dad and I wash our cars once a week and that seems to be the perfect balance. Rust and corrosion aren’t something anybody wants, and they definitely will not help the value of your car.
2. Hand Wash if You Can
It is better to wash your car than do nothing at all, but if you can hand wash, you should. It is the best option for the value of a car to stay up.
Car washes use machinery that messes up paint and wears down and scratches the clear coat. Once your clear coat is gone, your car will end up looking dull and unmaintained.
Cars that are hand washed look better for much longer, and if you really love your car hand washing does make it look the best in the short-term, too. If you simply cannot manage to hand wash your car either due to lack of time or ability, it may be beneficial to hire somebody to do it for you.
3. Take Some Time and Wax Your Car
Yes, this is time consuming; yes, this requires effort but it is worth it! Waxing your car leaves a barrier between outside elements and the paint on your car.
Bugs can destroy the paint if left ignored for too long, but just as wax protects against the elements, it also protects against insects that find themselves smashed against your hood. Waxing your car makes it super easy to wash it and everything comes right off.
Paint chips also are avoided with a coat of wax on your car and wax in general makes paint look better than it ever would be without.
4. Keep Your Lights in Great Shape
A car with drab lights is just that: drab! Lights make a huge difference between a car that looks valuable or not.
Cleaning your headlights with specific materials made for doing it (don’t try to use a general purpose cleaner like Windex) can make them, and your car; look a little more new and bright!
5. Keep Track of What You Have Done
If you have performed regular maintenance and taken great care of your car, keep a record of what you have done. This way, if you did ever want to sell your car, you would have proof that you have put work and time into the health of your car.
A car with regular maintenance and a log of what has been done is a lot more valuable than a car that been claimed to have a lot of work done, but with zero proof.
6. Fix Dents and Scratches
It may not seem worth the money, but fixing any dents and scratches on your car will help make the value of your car last longer.
Dents and scratches, accumulating over time, are not aesthetically pleasing and once too much damage is done, it might be too late for a simple fix and you may need a whole new paint job!
7. Stay on Top of Problems
Even the smallest of problems, like topping off low oil, can help the value of the car last longer. If you leave your oil low or let it run out and then develop problems such as damage to your engine, and that will greatly lower the value of your car.
Take the time to make the easy fix first rather than having to deal with the larger problem farther on down the road.
8. Interior, Interior, Interior, not Just the Exterior!
Shampoo those mats, vacuum the floor, and clean the windows! Anything that can be done to keep the interior glistening should be done.
If you need new mats, get some. Stains, holes and overall wear and tear on the mats do not look good. It could create the impression that you actually don’t take care of your car regardless of how good it looks on the outside or how well maintained its inner workings are.
9. Tires That Shimmer
Make your tires glisten. Clean the rims of dirt and make the black part of the actual tire shimmer, too. Clean tires look amazing, and create the impression that they look new as opposed to poorly maintained tires that seem like they could go flat at any time – further depreciating the value of your vehicle.
10. Drive Safely
Not that you can always prevent accidents, but just drive cautiously and as safely as possible. Avoiding accidents is a huge part of maintaining a car’s value. This may seem like a no-brainer, but sadly, many people don’t maintain the extra vigilance necessary. Furthermore, even if you fix the damage, just the record of having been in an accident can damage value in and of itself.
If you love your car, take good care of it. Do at least these ten things and the value of your car should remain constant – or for certain rare or collector’s models perhaps even increase. So give your car that extra bit of care, and it should remain an asset to you for decades to come.
Taylor Thomas is a car enthusiast who loves writing articles to help others out with keeping their car in peak condition. When not doing that he works full time as a car value appraiser at Dallas Auto Appraisers. Off the clock, he often refers friends to Linear Automotive Repair to help maintain the value of their vehicles.