For the last post in our new car owner series, we are going to shake things up a bit and focus on the things you shouldn’t do. If you recently purchased a new car (congrats!), there are a few habits you should avoid from the get-go so you can maintain your car’s value if you ever decide to sell. While it might sound counterintuitive to start thinking about selling your car soon after buying it, you will get the most bang for your buck when you take good care of your valuable investment from day one.
Ditch the dirt.
There’s no harm in becoming borderline-obsessed with keeping your new ride squeaky clean. While it’s totally fine to skip a wash or two, don’t let it become a habit. Things like sunlight, rain and even bird poop can wear away at a new car’s finish. Stay mindful of the dirt that can build up and have your car washed a couple times each month, either at your local carwash or at home if you have space (a great way to save money). If you are living in California amidst the drought, check out this article about how to wash your car with a single cup of water. It is also recommended that you get a full detail a few times a year, which is likely offered at the carwash as well.
Avoid aftermarket accessories.
It’s tempting to personalize your car to truly make it “yours”, but be weary of tweaks that can’t be undone. Avoid any add-ons that alter powertrain or safety equipment – this can interfere with your car’s warranty. Even things like bumper stickers can leave residue and reduce your car’s value. Stick to things that can be easily switched out like an air freshener or the classic fuzzy steering wheel cover.
Control the mess.
It’s your car, so you can do whatever you want in there. But do keep in mind that every time you take your dog for a spin, light a cigarette or chow down on a burger, there is a chance you could damage the interior. Plus, eating while driving is considered distracted driving and unsafe. Be mindful of how you treat your car’s interior and you’ll be proud to give your friends a ride instead of trying to mask a lingering stench.
No stranger danger.
After all the money you just spent on your new purchase, it might be tempting to save some cash by having a friend or neighbor diagnose and fix any mechanical problems. But cutting corners could lead to expensive repairs down the road. Be just as meticulous with finding the right mechanic as you were with finding the right car. Yelp, word-of-mouth and Google are great ways to find a reliable mechanic, and keep an eye out for those who are ASE-certified. You can also locate a “factory trained” mechanic which means they are specialized in your car’s make and will use certified (and therefore reliable) parts.
Don’t lose track.
This is the simplest trick of them all, but many people still develop this “bad habit”. Keep all of your paperwork stored in a safe place, including every service record. By showing proof that your car’s components are in good condition, you have a better chance to sell your car for the best price possible. You will also stay savvy to what repairs actually need to be done, and won’t get tricked into thinking you need to fix something that you really don’t.
Follow these tips from day one to ensure you don’t pick up any “bad habits”. Happy driving!