5 Common Mistakes That Lower A Car’s Value

A new car can be worth tens of thousands of dollars, but that value can go down quickly if you aren’t careful.

Perhaps you know that a car with minimal mileage and no accidents will be worth more when you trade it in. But what about the little things that could easily knock a hundred dollars or more off of a vehicle’s value? To answer that question, here are five things that you can avoid to make your car more valuable in the future.

1. Spilling Drinks

Stained car seats might not impede a car’s ability to function, but they do stick out like sore thumbs to prospective buyers. While a water spill here and there might not show up on your upholstery, a coffee or soda stain can leave a nasty and noticeable mark.

It is possible to clean your seats using basic do-it-yourself cleaning concoctions. However, even these can damage your upholstery if you’re not careful. As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

2. Neglecting to wash it

Speaking of cleaning, did you know that washing your car can actually extend its lifespan? A lot of sand and debris can get caught on your car, especially after a harsh winter with plenty of salt on the road. If left uncleaned, this can lead to rust. Cleaning your vehicle regularly helps skirt this issue altogether.

Besides, if you do plan to resell your car, its value will actually go way up if you’ve properly cleaned and detailed it throughout its life. Even compared to identical cars on the market, yours will stand out.

3. Smoking

This is a big one. A strong smell can linger in a car forever, and cigarette smoke is a big culprit in decreasing a vehicle’s value. Even if the smell is faint, you can still get penalized in the loss of value.

If you are a smoker, you can mitigate the smell by using air fresheners and liberally opening your windows while you smoke. However, the best way to prevent the cigarette smell is to avoid smoking in your vehicle altogether.

4. Dinging the outside

You don’t have to get into an accident to take some body damage to your car. Anything from a carelessly opened car door to an unfortunately placed tree branch can leave a small ding in your car.

While some dings may be barely noticeable, anyone looking to buy your car will notice they’re there before agreeing on the price. Sure, not every ding or mistake will be your fault, but you should do your best to lower the odds of these mistakes altogether.

5. Skipping scheduled maintenance

Every vehicle needs to get serviced on a routine schedule. Perhaps it’s just a regular oil change, or perhaps it’s part of your warranty. Either way, you do not want to neglect getting your car maintenanced. Otherwise, everything from your brakes to your transmission may wind up suffering long term damage. And naturally, anyone buying a car from you wants to make sure the brakes work.

This may sound overwhelming, but as long as you speak with your car salesperson about when to bring your car in for maintenance, you should have a pretty reliable schedule to follow. Even if you aren’t a mechanic, a little due diligence goes a long way in keeping your car at peak performance. If you can avoid any of the mistakes listed above, your car – and anyone who drives your car – will be sure to thank you.


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