Unless you plan on holding onto your car until it’s no longer drivable, chances are you’ll want to sell it or trade it in at some point. The best way to protect your investment and improve the chances of getting as much as possible for your sale or trade-in is to maintain your car over the course of your ownership. Here are 5 tips for keeping your vehicle in tip-top shape over time.
Get regular oil changes. Seems simple enough, but this is one of the most often neglected components of car ownership. Check the level of oil in your car every couple of weeks to make sure it’s steady. If you notice a sudden drop, it could be a sign that you have a leak somewhere that needs immediate attention. You should also be having your oil changed as frequently as the owner’s manual states.
Change the air filter from time to time. The air filter is essentially what allows your vehicle to breathe. When it is clogged, it can cause lots of problems. Consult your owner’s manual or check with your mechanic to determine how often you should have this changed and stick to the schedule.
Stay on top of shocks and brakes. If you let either of these things wear down, the results can be massive throughout your entire vehicle. Worn brake pads can cause damage to the rotors and damaged shocks can cause problems with your entire suspension system. Your brakes should be changed approximately every 35,000 miles – sooner if you’re particularly hard on your car. Shocks should be checked every time you have an oil change and swapped out when wear becomes apparent.
Avoid exposure to extreme temperatures and weather. This isn’t always feasible, but it’s important nonetheless. When a car is left in hot sun and extreme temperatures, both the exterior and interior can become worn and damaged. Likewise, exposure to extreme cold and/or other weather can be a problem – particularly for your engine. Have your car’s coolant changed every 2-3 years and allow your vehicle sufficient time to warm up in cold temps. And, of course, park it in a garage whenever possible.
Get it cleaned regularly. Washing your car and applying preventatives like wax are important in maintaining vehicle health over time. You can do it yourself once a week, but it’s also a good idea to have your car professionally cleaned and detailed at your local Nashville carwash from time to time to add that extra level of protection. A car is a big investment. Protect that investment by following these five simple maintenance tips and you’ll have a much better chance of getting a decent return when it comes time to sell or trade it in.