It's In The Details

By Kristen Castillo

September 21, 2016 4 min read

These days, we're all about instant gratification. Not many people consider that car care and maintenance is essential to not only extending the life and health of your car but your ability to turn a profit years from now when you want to sell. We tend to neglect our cars more than we should. But the reality is, potential buyers are as concerned with a car's inside and outside as they are with what's going on under the hood. In fact, a car's physical appearance is one of the biggest indicators to a buyer as to how well a seller has taken care of the vehicle's mechanics. There are several things you should be aware of if you'd like to keep your car in the best possible shape for resale.

Some of the greatest threats to a car's exterior are the UV rays given off by the sun. Keeping your car covered and out of the sun as much as possible is the simplest preventative method to keep the car paint from rusting, the car lights from turning dingy and yellow, and the window tint from peeling. Proper waxing is important to keep car paint shiny and protect it from rust. Don't forget that UV rays can damage the inside of your vehicle as well. Dashboards are susceptible to drying and cracking over time, from long-term sun exposure. Buy a fun, colorful sunshade to put up in your dashboard. It's an inexpensive, efficient way to prevent your dashboard from fading, cracking and warping. Plus, the cabin will be much, much cooler on those hot summer days.

Just like anything else -- clothes, bedding, furniture -- the inside of your car needs tender, loving care every once in a while. From soccer practice to beach vacations to rainy days, it's impossible to avoid bringing the muck and gunk from everyday life into our cars. But the longer stains and grime are allowed to settle into the seats, carpets and consoles, the harder they are to remove. Make sure to regularly vacuum, dust and shampoo your car interior. Additionally, consider purchasing easy-to-clean rubber car mats to replace carpet mats. They are easier to clean, and will be easy to remove and replace with the carpeted mats for a brand-new appearance when you sell. This short-term cleanliness will promote long-term value.

Trunks are especially susceptible to messy situations, as they carry our groceries, suitcases, sports equipment and, let's face it, our junk. Purchasing a rubber trunk mat is a great investment to protect the trunk from spills and messes. There are often mats built specifically for your vehicle. Rubber mats can be easily wiped and cleaned -- and who doesn't appreciate ease and efficiency? Talk about instant gratification.

If you constantly carry passengers or if you have little ones, car seat covers are a perfect way to take care of your car's interior. They're easily washed and removed, so that you can wow potential buyers with brand-new-looking seats.

Many people are afraid of drive-through car washes due to the believed threat of scratches and other physical wear on the car. However, the experts at AutoBlog claim that drive-through car washes should be the way to go for those looking to protect the paint job, for several potential problems may arise when you choose to wash your car yourself. They explain: "In fact ... do-it-yourselfers sometimes don't use enough water to safely remove dirt; or they wash the car in direct sunlight -- which can burn spots in the paint. Or they use the wrong type of soap -- such as dishwashing detergent, which removes protective wax and leaves a chalky residue on the finish." If you'd still prefer to wash your own car, for economic reasons or others, it may be wise to research ways to do so safely.

When it comes to maintaining your vehicle, a little effort now will go a long way in the future. With these considerations, you'll be able to offer a car to potential buyers that's as beautiful as the journeys you've taken in it.

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