1. It might seem obvious, but when it comes to maintaining the value of your vehicle, its important to avoid driving excessive miles. If you plan on taking a long road trip, opt for a rental car. The cost of the rental will probably be much less than the mileage overage charges you'll pay at the end of your lease or the potential depreciation in the value of your high mileage car at resale time.
2. Have your vehicle serviced on a regular basis and keep all records of maintenance and repair. Not only will routine car care help you avoid costly and unnecessary repairs, it also demonstrates to a potential buyer that you cared for and maintained the car properly and regularly during the time you owned the vehicle. Some prospective buyers might be willing to pay more for a car thats been routinely serviced.
3. Avoid excessive wear and tear. Treat your vehicle with respect to maintain its value over the long haul avoid extreme start-and-stop driving, over-towing (or towing more weight than is recommended in your owners manual), excessive speeds or driving your vehicle in areas where road conditions are poor.
4. Keep your car clean. Have it detailed on a regular basis inside and out and be sure to use a coat of wax to protect your vehicles paint surface from natures elements. Cleaning your car frequently will help maintain its value over time.
5. Store your car properly. If you live in an extremely cold or warm environment and you have the facility to store your car inside, do it. Excessive sun can fade the outer surfaces of your car, including paint, trim and moldings. Additionally, extremely cold temperatures and environmental conditions can wreak havoc on your cars internal engine components. By storing your car inside in a climate-controlled environment, you can help avoid costly and unnecessary repairs in the future.
6. Rust is the enemy. If you live in a cold climate with harsh winters, be sure to wash your vehicle often to remove salt deposits that can eventually lead to rust and whenever possible, have your car undercoated to avoid salt deposits from building up on the frame and the underside of the quarter panels and fenders.
7. If you own a classic car (or are thinking of buying one), treat it as an investment. Store it inside to avoid damage from outside elements and have the car serviced on a regular basis. Don't forget to check the fluids and replace worn hoses and belts. Although you may not drive your classic car many miles, it is important to maintain tire pressure and use time rather than miles as a measure to change your fluids. Classic cars are unique and require extra special care to maintain their value over time. It helps to consult a specialist who is aware of the special requirements that your car may need, and have the knowledge of where to locate the correct parts. At the end of the day, it might be beneficial for you to consult a classic car specialist or a certified mechanic to implement a routine service itinerary and schedule.
8. Don't treat your vehicle like a restaurant. Avoid eating and drinking inside your car and by all means, don't smoke. Spills, cigarette smoke and stains can ruin the inside appearance and smell of your car which can ultimately be a detriment to its resale value.
9. Avoid conditions that can damage the exterior finish of your car. Paint chips, gouges or fading can decrease a cars value. If your vehicles paint is less than ideal, consider having it painted prior to resale time and be sure to have a reputable paint expert or body shop perform the work. A nice looking exterior finish can increase a cars curb appeal and ultimately, its value.
10. Sure its important to maintain your vehicles value, but more importantly, be a smart car buyer from the get-go. If you're interested in determining which vehicles hold their value better than others over time, be sure to refer to the Used Car Information Center at NADAguides.com to compare the price of virtually every new and used vehicle on the market today.