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Your car’s value starts to dwindle as soon as you drive it off the lot—it’s just a fact of life. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t get top dollar for it when you choose to sell it years from now. With some basic consideration, maintenance, and careful driving, you can keep it a desirable vehicle for years to come. Here’s how to maintain a high car resale value with the barest effort.
Keep It Clean
No one wants to buy a filthy, rusted-out beater with broken windshields and a leaky engine. For that same reason, buyers avoid paying much for a vehicle that looks destined for the junkyard. You don’t have to bring your car to the detailer once a week or wipe it down every day, but you should try to keep it clean, inside and out. Washing the car doesn’t just make it look pretty—it goes a long way toward preventing rust and corrosion, and it keeps the parts exposed to the road free from dirt and grime and running smoothly. Pay attention to the interior as well. Even when your vehicle loses its new car smell, a pleasant scent in the cabin will sway a buyer more than cigarette smoke and spilled food.
Get Regular Inspections and Maintenance
Keep your car to a maintenance schedule, bringing it in for periodic inspections that should be outlined in your owner’s manual. Oil needs to be changed every three months to 3,000 miles. Have your tires inspected and rotated every six months and replace them after six years. Tune-ups are necessary at least once a year. Your mechanic or other service provider should give your car a multipoint inspection, checking and replacing your brake pads, filters, lights, or other parts nearing the end of their life. Replacing broken parts extends the car’s life as well, thereby retaining its value. As you drive, listen; your car might be telling you something is wrong.
Keep Good Records
In this computerized age, your car has a history stored somewhere, charting every maintenance session, service appointment, repair, or accident it has experienced. This history is accessible by any potential buyer. Be prepared to answer questions about the car’s background by maintaining decent records. Use a binder or notebook to chart mileage, save receipts, and store paperwork related to the car. Being honest about the quality of the vehicle can only help. Plus, keeping records reminds you about upcoming maintenance and indicates whether you’re getting fewer miles to the gallon, as well as about other issues.
When considering how to maintain a high car resale value, you’ve got it covered. More specifically, keep your car covered by parking it in a garage or similar shelter. You can’t judge a book by its cover, but plenty of buyers will judge your car by its appearance. Keeping it away from the bad effects of sunlight, rain, snow, ice, and other cars will leave the body dent- and scratch-free, and thus more desirable.