With car prices in the US rising, even buyers with strong credit are struggling to afford new cars, forcing them to stick with their old ones or head over to the used car lot. With new car prices not expected to come down any time soon, it’s more important than ever to take good care of the car you already own to avoid going back to the dealership for as long as possible. Thankfully, there are many things you can do to keep your car looking, feeling, and sounding as good as it did when you first bought it.
Keep It Clean
Keeping your car clean is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to maintain its value, yet not many drivers do it enough. Cleaning your car exterior every few days is especially important as it gets rid of dust, dirt, and other unsightly buildups that may damage your paint job over time. The interior does not need to be cleaned as often as the exterior, but you must still do it especially if you have a habit of consuming food and drink in your car or you’re one of the millions of Americans that regularly drive with pets in the car. When cleaning your car’s interior, pay close attention to the upholstery, and make sure you are using tools, supplies, and techniques that suit the type of upholstery.
Store Your Car Properly
Always store your car in a safe place, ideally a garage, where it is adequately protected from the elements, especially if you live in an extremely cold or hot climate. Extremely cold temperatures can damage your engine and related components while too much sun can damage your paint job. Even better, you can ensure that your garage is climate controlled so that you always maintain an optimal environment for your car regardless of the conditions outside.
Schedule Regular Checkups
Following the recommended service schedule for your car is important as it ensures that all your components are working properly and helps you catch potential problems in their early stages when they are easier and cheaper to correct. While there are various checkups you can do on your own, such as checking the oil or tire pressure, your best bet is to hire a mechanic who had the expertise and equipment needed to spot potential issues. Be very careful when choosing your mechanic; you want an honest, knowledgeable, and trustworthy person who will help you keep your car in tip-top condition.
Always Heed Warning Signs
Most cars will tell you when something is not right, especially the modern vehicles that have computers running all sorts of diagnostics as you drive around. If your dashboard lights illuminate or your check engine light turns on, call your trusted mechanic immediately. Even if you don’t get a warning light in your dashboard, there are various signs that could indicate that something is damaged including weird noises when driving, leaking fluids, difficulty shifting gears, or unusual color or amount of smoke coming from the exhaust pipe. Never delay repairs as it could trigger irreparable damage resulting in a much more expensive fix.
Regardless of the type or age of the vehicle you drive, there are many simple steps you can take to slow down its depreciation and keep it in good shape. If successful, you can keep driving your car for many years to come, saving you from having to dig into hard-earned savings to get a new one.