Five Tips to Maintain the Value of Your Used Car

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Advice to help maintain your car's value over the long haul

Even though you saved money buying a used car, it's still a significant investment — one that should be protected as much as possible during the time you own it. Below, we offer simple tips to help you maintain the value of your used car. 
 

Tip1:  Consider value before you buy

When it comes to used cars, certain makes and models hold their value better than others over time.  For example, cars that have proven themselves among car buyers — ones that are built better, offer more functionality and hold up better the older they get — usually always maintain their value better than ones with less-than-stellar reputations among consumers.  Along those same lines, a car's value can be negatively impacted if a particular model is no longer offered.  Your best bet is to check the values of the used cars you're interested in buying before you buy (from one year ago, two years ago, even five years ago, if applicable) to determine which cars hold their value better than others. 
 

Tip 2:  Regularly service your car

  It's important to have your car serviced on a regular basis by an accredited, certified mechanic, especially if your car is older.  The care your car receives throughout its lifetime is crucial in not only keeping it running properly, but also in maintaining its value over time.  Be sure to keep records of all maintenance and service appointments.  You may be able to ask a higher sales price if your car has been routinely serviced during the period in which you owned it.
 

Tip 3:  Keep your car in good condition

  The condition of your car has a significant impact on its value.  That's why it's important to have it detailed on a regular basis.  Make sure it's washed and waxed regularly to protect the finish from outside elements.  Have a qualified detailing company buff out surface scratches and whenever possible, fix minor body damage such as dents and dings.  If your used car has sustained major damage, consult your insurance company to determine if it should be repaired or totaled depending on the cost.
 

Tip 4:  Consider an extended warranty

When it comes to used cars, especially older models, consider purchasing an extended warranty to cover costly, unexpected repairs.
As a general rule, it makes sense to purchase an extended warranty after your car hits 100,000 miles. This is usually the time when older cars begin to experience mechanical problems and are no longer covered by most warranty plans.     
 

Tip 5:  Store your car properly

  Be sure to store your car properly to avoid extreme weather conditions such as sun, rain, ice and snow.  Sun causes paint, moldings, tires and trims to lose color.  Salt deposits and acid rain buildup can cause rust, water spots and mottling to the car's exterior finish, while extreme cold and heat can damage engine parts. Whenever possible, store your car in a garage or under cover.  An interior, climate controlled environment is ideal. 
 

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