Conventional wisdom holds that, with rare exceptions, automobiles should not be thought of as investments. Everyday driving and normal wear and tear will inevitably decrease a car’s value over time. However, there are ways to maintain some level of value when the time comes to trade it in for something newer.
Regular maintenance goes a long way towards maintaining the functionality and reliability of a vehicle, thereby increasing its perceived value. Changing the oil every 3000 miles, making sure transmission fluid levels are maintained, scheduling regular tune ups, all are benefits when it comes to making the vehicle attractive to a dealer or prospective buyer.
It is also a good idea to keep records of your vehicle’s maintenance. This provides credibility to the claim that the car has been properly maintained.
When replacing parts, use only brand name parts that are specifically designed to fit your particular car. Lesser brands usually represent a corresponding drop in quality and performance.
In addition, it is important to keep up appearances. Buildups of dirt and bugs can wreak havoc on a car’s finish. Keeping it washed and waxed not only increases the visual appeal, but can actually improve performance, and to a degree, fuel economy.
Don’t overly customize the vehicle. Adding flashy rims or ground effects do nothing to increase the value of a car and may actually diminish it. If you do customize the vehicle, make sure to save the original parts or components so that it can be restored to “stock” before attempting a trade.
Lastly, have the car detailed. A thorough detailing goes a long way towards creating a memorable first impression, one that says the car has been meticulously cared for.
Common sense techniques can improve your trade in value considerably.