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10 simple tricks to maintain the value of your used car

2017-12-14 06:00

Whether you’re planning to sell or hold on to your car, keeping it in tip-top shape will ensure it stays reliable, attractive and above all – valuable. Here’s how.

1. Keep a service history

Not only is a service history – in the form of either a stamped book (preferable) or a file of invoices – proof that you’ve actively cared for your over time car by adhering to service intervals, but it also provides peace of mind for the next buyer. And, dealers will look for every excuse to offer you a lower value when you trade in your car.

2. Keep it clean

If cleanliness is next to godliness, it also pertains to a well-presented vehicle. Bird droppings, sea salt, acid and road grime can all lead to the deterioration of a car’s paintwork. It definitely will relate a different take to a prospective buyers’ perceptions about the vehicle’s general state of health. And inside, worn seats, slashed leather and scuffed bolsters all testify to further deal-breaking neglect.

3. Keep it running

The most obvious – and essential automotive upkeep – remains however largely invisible. Has the oil and other fluids been changed as per the recommended intervals? Are tyres balanced, aligned and running the specified pressure? Have the brake pads and discs regularly been checked for wear, cracks and shuddering? Are there any other leaks? How old is the battery? This is Car Maintenance 101.

4. Keep it healthy

To many on a budget, an out-of-warranty car is a license to skimp on servicing. No longer are you forced to have it serviced at the dealership (although for your hard-earned money, the service booklet does get stamped – see point number one).  The temptation becomes ever-stronger to start using substandard, non-approved fluids and consumables, which can ultimately affect the vehicle’s performance, economy and reliability. Just don’t.

5. Keep it legit

Nothing says “I couldn’t care less about my car” than an outdated license disc, or the last faded five discs that you never took the trouble of removing. Do you have any outstanding fines? It could all come back to haunt you come license renewal - and indeed, change-of-ownership time.

6. Keep it cool

SA’s harsh elements are particularly car-unfriendly. Direct sun fades interiors, munches tyres, rubber linings and wiper blades, while the wind can sandblast the paint job. Not only is a garage-parked car more pleasant to get into, but also less of a magnet for vandals and midnight shoppers. 

7. Keep it standard

Everybody wants to be Vin Diesel, but nothing wrecks a warranty quicker than a modified car. Fuel consumption, reliability and driveability all fall at the altar of engine modification. Not only that, but questions will forever remain over the type of life a vehicle has had; which was most likely “one quarter-mile at a time”. It’s also just as fast as prospective buyers will run away.

8. Keep it real

If you absolutely have to make some amendments to your car’s appearance, such as upsized rims, tow bars or roof racks, then at least use OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts as supplied or approved by your car’s parent company. Invariably these are more expensive than third-party ones, but when it comes to selling time, they’ll save you the hassle of haggling.

9. Keep it scratch-free

Dents, scratched rims and chipped windscreens all point to careless driving and by extension – a carefree approach to maintenance. “Seller’s remorse” will get a new meaning when that few thousand rand you previously couldn’t get yourself to spend on dent removal, makes an even bigger hole in your wallet on the day you start negotiating with the next buyer.

10. Keep it low-mileage

Because mileage is the most tangible evidence of a vehicle’s condition and easily be the difference between a “good buy” and a “goodbye”, it’s prudent to where possible try keeping the kilometres covered under control. Moreover, mileage also affects the warranty and potential cost of future ownership, which explains why certain luxury German cars are often put up for sale just as their up-to-then-free maintenance plans are about to expire.

To find a value for money second-hand car visit AutoTrader South Africa. They have a wide range of new and used cars to suit any price range for sale. For the past 25 years,  AutoTrader South Africa has been the leading media marketplace for the buying and selling of cars, bikes, boats, and commercial vehicles. Whether you are looking for a brand new car or are in the market for a pre-loved model, you’re sure to find your ideal set of wheels on AutoTrader.

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