1) Upgrades that protect or increase the safety or general performance of your car will help maintain resale value more than cosmetic or “vanity” ones
If you have your windows tinted to industry standards, it will protect the interior of your car, which can increase its resale value. Having your windows tinted abnormally dark, however, can actually decrease its retail value. Similarly, a custom paint job can also potentially decrease a car’s value rather than increasing it. Here are some other upgrades or add-ons that can either increase or decrease the value of your car.
2) Do regular maintenance and keep records
Most car manufacturers have a recommended schedule of maintenance for your individual vehicle. You can find the scheduled maintenance recommendations for almost any car here. The important thing, however, is not to just do the maintenance but keep records of it. Doing the maintenance will help maintain the performance of your car, but being able to prove you did it will help maintain the resale value of your car. Regularly scheduled maintenance will also help you avoid far more costly repairs. An oil change is will generally run you less than $50, but blowing a head gasket because your engine didn’t remain well-lubricated as a result of not getting regular oil changes can cost you thousands.
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3) Wash and protect regularly
This is particularly important if you live in a cold climate, where salt is used to melt snow and ice on roadways. Salt speeds up the corrosion process and can quickly rust away the bottom of your car. But even if you do not live in a cold climate there are a number of substances that will eat away at the protective surface that covers the paint (known as a “clear coat”), including concrete, bird droppings and gas that drips when you fill up. Washing and conditioning the interior of your car regularly can go a long way to keeping interior surfaces from cracking, splitting and fraying. Using floor mats and seat protectors will also protect the original materials, which will also help maintain the value of your car.
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While your car is unlikely to ever appreciate in value, you can keep it from depreciating severely by doing regular maintenance. Caring for your car and doing regular maintenance will also help extend the life of your car, so even if you don’t sell it, it will provide a strong monetary value for you.