Five Simple Ways to NOT Sink your Ride’s Resale Value

Drivers are keeping their cars for longer. Make sure you know how to maintain your ride’s resale value.

With the economy still a bit tight, today’s drivers are waiting longer to trade in their vehicles. A 2012 survey showed that car owners reported plans to hold onto their cars for an average six years, up from four years in 2011. Now, a new survey shows 78 percent of vehicle owners are planning to wait nearly double that – ten years or more – before selling or trading in their rides.

Of course, a whole lot can happen in a decade on the road. And much of it can sink your chances of getting a decent chunk of change for your long-beloved ride. E3 Spark Plugs offers a few tips for maintaining your vehicle’s resale value:

  1. Keep it smooth: Avoid denting and scratching your vehicle’s body by watching where you park. Skip spots near the buggy return in the grocery store parking lot. If possible, park in a less-populated spot, but not far enough away that your car becomes an easy target for thieves. Remember that shady spots are great, unless the shade s a tree that sheds paint-dingers like acorns. Don’t use your car’s roof or hood as a momentary shelf for your stuff. And keep your car clean, as sand is a notorious paint scratcher.
  2. Watch your wheels: Speaking of parking, don’t get carried away when you find a great curb spot. A wonky parking job can do a real number on alloy wheels. And that can do a real number on your car’s resale value, particularly when it comes to high-end cars.
  3. Shine ‘em up: Nothing dulls a car’s resale shine like a pair of yellowed headlights. They’re a tell-tale sign of your car’s true age, even if the rest of your ride is in mint condition. There are lots of products and multiple methods that can help clear away that yellow tint and shine them up.
  4. Mind the inside: A bad gift wrapped up in beautiful gift wrapping is still a bad gift. Such is the case with a car that’s mint on the outside, mess on the inside. Stains and funky odors will send a prospective buyer looking elsewhere quickly. Avoid eating and drinking in your car. Clean, wipe down and vacuum your car’s interior regularly.
  5. Hold on to your service records: Any car can be made to look showroom-gorgeous inside and out. But its real value is in the way it runs, and in the probability that it will continue running for a good long time. The best way to prove to a prospective buyer that you’ve taken good care of your ride over the years is to keep all of your service records. Scan all records and receipts and keep them in a digital file. Or do it the old school way – keep them in a plastic file folder in your glove compartment.

Any other tips for protecting a car’s retail value? Post them on the E3 Spark Plugs Facebook Fan Page.