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Car Buying

Resale Value: Tips to Preserve Your Car's Value

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author photo by Doug DeMuro February 2014

Although you might not think about it when you're buying a car, resale value is among the most important aspects of car ownership. That's because when the time comes to sell, a car that holds its value well can be worth thousands of dollars more than one that doesn't. So we've listed a few tips you can use to help preserve your car's value, ensuring you'll get the most money possible when the time comes to sell.

Maintain Your Car, and Keep Service Records

We can't stress this one enough. If you want the next owner to be sure your car is in good shape, make sure to maintain the car properly, and save all of the service records somewhere you won't lose them. That way you can give them to the buyer when the time comes to sell the car, and he or she will know you've not only taken good care of the vehicle but also that you're competent enough to keep the records to prove it.

You'll also want to keep the service records to vouch for any work that you've done to the car. For instance, telling a potential buyer that you changed the clutch doesn't mean much unless you have receipts to back it up. Most buyers will also likely be more interested in cars with service records, since they can show those same records to their potential buyers when it comes time to sell.

Repair Dings, Dents and Scratches

Nothing shows a potential buyer that a car hasn't been maintained properly like dozens of careless dings, dents and scratches. After all, if a seller hasn't taken care when parking or driving in tight spaces, it makes sense to assume that he or she also hasn't taken care to have routine services or other maintenance performed in a timely fashion. Fixing dings, dents and scratches isn't very expensive, and we highly recommend that you do so before selling a car.

Wash Your Car Regularly

We know it can be an inconvenience, but washing your car regularly is an excellent way to preserve its value. Cars that don't get washed can accumulate grime, dirt and dust. Over time, this can wear away the paint and fade the interior. Wash your car regularly to keep it looking good and you shouldn't have those problems, and that will keep your resale value high.

Sweat the Small Stuff

Sometimes owning a car can be annoying. First, one of the back windows stops rolling down. Then the taillight goes out. Then a hubcap falls off. If you're like most car owners, you might be tempted to ignore these problems, but we wouldn't recommend it.

Ignore too many problems and potential buyers will avoid your car. If you have a common vehicle, most shoppers would probably rather search for one that doesn't require a lot of work than buy yours and pay to get it back into excellent shape. That's why we suggest fixing small issues as much as possible to keep your car in excellent condition.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
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Resale Value: Tips to Preserve Your Car's Value - Autotrader