We’re so used to hearing how much our cars depreciate in value, that it’s easy to forget that they can keep their value too. If you own your car or van outright, it’s an asset. While most people are guilty of neglecting their cars even a little bit, if you get into a routine of regular maintenance, it will help it retain its equity.
This is good news if you need to take out a logbook loan or sell it outright, as you’ll be getting the best possible price for your original investment. So here are our recommended basics, from the obvious cleaning and maintenance to creating your own personal ‘minimum distance’ policy.
1. Basic checks can prevent costly damage
Don’t reply on your MOT or annual service to highlight worn parts and fluids that need replacing, like tyres, windscreen wash, wipers, brake pads, oil, coolant and so on. Checking these regularly will keep you safer on the roads and prevent permanent damage that could incur expensive replacement or repair.
2. Your service history is your car’s future
With normal usage, your car will need servicing a minimum of once a year or every 12,000 miles, or every six months if you travel a lot. Each car is different so check your handbook to find out more. If you’re behind in your services, start now to minimise the chance of damage to expensive parts. Remember to always get your service schedule stamped – especially important if you’ve gone to your official dealership. Regular servicing also helps your car run more efficiently, saving you money on every trip.
3. If you value it, clean it
Dirt and bird droppings won’t do your paintwork any good at all, and will also disguise small scratches or stone chips that need attention. You have two options – pay for someone to clean your car or, if you’re being frugal, give yourself a Sunday morning workout and clean it yourself! Consider at least one layer of wax to finish off, which will stop the build up of dirt and keep your car looking youthful into old age.
4. Create a ‘mimimum distance’ policy
Make it a rule that you will only use your car when you can’t walk the distance in a reasonable time. Vehicle mileage is boosted by the small and sometimes unnecessary journeys we make – like a late night chocolate craving or the school run when there’s a bus stop at the end of the street. Lower mileage on the clock could help your car keep its value. Average mileage in the UK currently stands at between 6,700 (petrol cars) and 10,700 (diesel cars).
5. Don’t run on fumes
Oh but this is a contentious issue! Some ‘experts’ insist that it’s perfectly fine if you run your petrol tank right down to the dregs because the filter will catch any lurking sediment. However, others say that a tank should never be less than quarter full to prevent damage to fuel lines and other parts. It might be prudent to err on the side of caution, and keep your tank sloshingly healthy.
6. Be careful where you park
Let’s talk about protecting your paintwork from scratches and scuffs. Beware of narrow parking spaces, which present more risk from people squeezing between cars to get past. Buttons, zips, belt buckles, bag bling and even wedding rings can damage the laquer on your car. Check your paintwork regularly – minor scratches can be polished out, but a deeper gouge will need fixing as soon as possible. Where possible, give everyone ample room when you park up.
7. Enjoy watching the experts do it, but …
On the TV, it’s perfectly fine for a group of enthusiastic petrolheads with skills to turn an ordinary car into a head-turning diva on four wheels. But leave the big ideas for the small screen when it comes to your own car or van, especially if you want to protect its resale value or act as security for a logbook loan. Permanent modifications can kill the market value of your motor and will most likely affect your car insurance premiums too. Don’t do it. Please.
If you need to raise a loan and you think your car has equity that you can release, contact Auto Advance or contact us on 0333 577 7002 and ask about V5 loans.