A new car’s value depreciates exponentially—starting from the instant you drive it off the dealership lot. In fact, the value of a new car plummets approximately fifty percent on the first day you buy it. Of course, most people need cars to get around and buying a new car is the best option for many drivers.
So let’s say you purchase a new Ford Escape, how do you prevent its value from nosediving throughout the time you own it so you can sell it for as much as possible when you eventually want to trade it in for a different model? It’s important to accept that the value of your car will inevitably depreciate over time, but learning how to maintain the value of your Ford Escape can help you minimize that depreciation.
1. Don’t Let Stains Sink In
A spot of ketchup your kids leave in the backseat of your car might not seem like such a big deal at first, but even minor stains can turn into much bigger problems if you let them sink into your car’s upholstery.
Try to minimize staining your car’s interior by taking precautions—like not eating inside your car. No matter how careful you are, though, your car will probably accumulate at least a few stains while you own it. The most important thing to do is be proactive and thoroughly clean any stains as soon as you notice them—no matter how small they are. Stains aren’t a big deal if you are able to remove them, but they can significantly decrease the value of your car once they become permanent.
2. Protect Against Sun Damage
Severe sun damage can be detrimental to the value of your car, but it can also be tough to avoid. Minor sun damage to the interior and exterior of your car is virtually inevitable, but there are many easy ways to minimize the amount of sun damage your car sustains while you own it.
If possible, always park your car in your garage at home. When you’re out, try to find a shady spot to park your car or park it in a parking garage if one is available. Also, washing and waxing your car regularly can help protect its exterior from harmful UV rays that can severely damage its paint job.
3. Cover Your Seats
Excess interior wear and tear can significantly decrease the value of your car as a whole. Your cars’ seats are the most likely part of its interior to endure the most noticeable wear and tear over time.
Covering your seats is a simple but very effective way to maintain your car’s value. Simple and comfortable seat covers are fairly inexpensive; you can buy a decent set of seat covers for $100 or less. The return you get on this minor investment is well worth it when the time comes to sell your car.
4. Schedule Tune-Ups
Every car has its own recommended maintenance schedule that outlines when you should plan to take it in for regular tune-ups like an oil change, tire rotation, and other minor services that are necessary to keep it running smoothly. Most modern cars’ recommended maintenance schedules are fairly similar, but you can find your car’s specific service intervals inside its official manual.
Scheduling tune-ups for your car to keep up with its recommended maintenance schedule is a key component of taking good care of your car and maintaining its value. If you don’t take your car in for scheduled maintenance at its recommended service intervals, you won’t be able to prove to potential buyers that your car is still in good condition. Taking your car in for tune-up services in a timely manner can help you get more money for it when you want to see it. Just be sure to keep your receipts from these services as proof.
5. Be Careful Where You Go for Service
It’s important to keep up with scheduled maintenance for your car, but where you choose to get your car serviced is just as important as the service itself. Whether your car just needs an oil change or requires a major repair, a sub-par repair shop can wreak havoc on your car and cause its value to plummet if they use shoddy replacement parts or if their technical work is sloppy.
Getting your car serviced at a dealership is generally the best option if you really want to maintain the value of your car. If you decide to take your car to an external repair shop rather than a dealership, do your research first. Pay attention to reviews and don’t blindly take your car to a repair shop just because it advertises lower prices for tune-ups and repairs. Saving twenty bucks by getting your car’s oil changed at a low-quality repair shop is not worth the thousands of dollars you’ll lose out on when you sell your car if a sketchy repair shop has damaged it.