After their homes, the most valuable asset that people typically own is their car. While you are fully aware of the value of your car when you buy it, it’s value may not enter your head again until its time to sell it. However, car depreciation does not just happen overnight; it starts the minute that you leave the forecourt. How you look after your vehicle will influence the amount of money that you get when you come to sell it. To help you keep control of your car’s value, here are seven tips to keeping it inflated:  
  1. Use your garage
As property prices have increased, space in the home has become a premium. It means that the garage is usually used as an extension of the home. Whether you use your garage to store the freezer, use it to house your bikes, or even as a dumping ground for items that don’t fit in the house, the fact remains that you should keep your car in the garage. A car that is kept in the garage is protected from the elements: high temperatures in summer, freezing conditions in winter and year-round rain. If you keep your car on the driveway or out on the road, there is a heightened risk of it being damaged by falling tree debris or other passing vehicles.  
  1. Maintain your car
Just as you need to visit the dentist every six months, your car needs a regular inspection to ensure that it is performing to its optimum capacity. Mechanics are skilled in identifying small problems before they escalate into bigger and pricier ones. If you hear any unusual noises, or the car feels different when you are driving it, these are clear indicators that something is amiss. Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away. So even if you have to take out a loan from Bonsai Finance to pay for the repairs, you are making an investment to protect your asset.  
  1. Smoke free
Did you know that nowadays only 15% of UK’s population smoke? The numbers have dramatically reduced over the past 20 years, and so by lighting up in your car, you are immediately alienating 85% of your potential buyers. Buyers do not like to buy cars that have been smoked in. Not only does the smell linger on the upholstery but the nicotine stains the interiors.  
  1. Regularly clean the car exterior
Cleaning your car should be a regular occurrence, and not reluctantly done in response to ‘clean me’ being written into the dirt. You may think that cleaning your car is important solely for cosmetic reasons. However, the bird mess, dust, pollen and mud can cause permanent damage to your car’s paintwork. It can also mask any rust spots that may have developed on the bodywork which need to have attention. Regularly cleaning your car gives you the opportunity to thoroughly inspect it. You may notice that the tyres need more air or are heading towards needing to be replaced. Waxing your car gives the paintwork a protective layer against the elements by acting as a barrier between it and the contaminants that can cause damage. Waxing is an inexpensive way of maintaining your car’s value.  
  1. Clean up stains
If you use your car daily, have pets or children, the chances are high that your car’s upholstery has become stained over the time that you have owned it. While paying for a professional valet can remove the lion’s share of stains, old worn in stains can cause permanent stains. If you notice a spillage, react to it. Clean it up. It is especially important with spills that are likely to cause unpleasant odour such as milk from a baby’s bottle. People often think that to clean well, you need to use a lot of water. However, this is a misconception, especially for cleaning fabrics. Water is terrible for fabrics as the moisture can seep through to the upholstery and leave a nasty musty smell because it fails to dry quickly. How to remove stains from car upholstery:
  • Apply a paste of bicarbonate soda and water to the stain.
  • After 30 minutes, blot the stain with kitchen roll to absorb as much of the liquid as you can.
  • Mix warm water, a quarter cup of white vinegar, and a couple of drops of washing detergent.
  • Sparingly apply the mix with a spray bottle. Be careful not to soak the upholstery.
  • Use a stiff brush to work in the solution gently.
  • After 15 minutes, again, use kitchen roll to absorb the moisture.
  1. Drive well
How you drive your car directly impacts its value. If you accelerate hard, break at the last minute and don’t change gear when you should, you are inadvertently reducing its value. Cars are not designed to be poorly driven, and hard-driving exacerbates and accelerates any mechanical issues that the vehicle may have. Drive for the road that you are on, anticipate the road ahead by decreasing speed in accordance with your surroundings. By driving more considerately, you prolong the life of the car and will also save money on fuel consumption.  
  1. Keep mileage down
When either a private individual or a garage inspect your car to buy it, the first thing that they will want to clarify with you is how many miles the vehicle has done. The more miles, the lower the value. We are all too quick to use the car when instead we could walk, bike, or bus. Convenience comes at a price, and every time you use your car you are losing money. Try and think ahead about what you need the car for in the day. If you can consolidate trips, do so. Cars are more efficient when the engine is warm, so if you need to make several trips in one day, plan your schedule so that you can do them in one hit. If there are a few of you going to the same venue, try and organise a lift share. Not only is this an environmentally sound decision but it is better for your car.   Maintaining your car is vital for retaining its value and its safety. It’s all about adjusting your car care habits and working out the financial worth of doing so. By following these seven tips, you can make a significant impact on the value of your motor.

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