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8 Expensive Mistakes That Devalue Your Car

Are you devaluing your car without even realizing it? Avoid these eight car maintenance mistakes, which can send the resale value of your vehicle into a tailspin.

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What devalues a carPhoto: Shutterstock

What Can Devalue Your Car?

With new cars costing tens of thousands of dollars, it’s important to protect your investment. If you care for your car properly, you can get a great trade-in or sell it for a good price when it’s time to move on to the next vehicle. If not, you might be disappointed at the lowball offers you receive. Here are eight things that could be devaluing your car and costing you money.

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Mistakes that devalue your car - mechanic working under hoodPhoto: Shutterstock

Mistake #1: Skipping Your Car’s Regular Maintenance

Regular car maintenance, including frequent oil changes, is the best way to keep your car running like new. Buyers will ask to see your service records, and you want them to like what they see. Make sure you get all recommended maintenance done, and document the date and mileage at each service.

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Mistakes that devalue your car - cleaning car interiorPhoto: Shutterstock

Mistake #2: Not Keeping Your Car Clean

Prospective car buyers do not want to find fossilized French fries under the seat or mystery stains on the dashboard. Not keeping your car clean is a big mistake—both for your own enjoyment and the future value of the vehicle.

These cleaning tips for the inside of your car will come in handy.

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Mistakes that devalue your car - check engine lightPhoto: Shutterstock

Mistake #3: Ignoring Your Car’s Warning Lights

You may have learned to ignore that check engine light, but chances are it will alarm a would-be buyer. If you have been putting off a trip to the mechanic, you might want to schedule that checkup before putting your car on the market.

These often-overlooked services can extend the life of your vehicle.

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Mistakes that devalue your car - busy parking lotPhoto: Shutterstock

Mistake #4: Squeezing Your Car into Tight Parking Spots

Parking too close to the car next to you is an open invitation to parking lot door dings. Those dings could diminish the beauty of your paint job and ultimately make your car less valuable. Parking at the end of the parking lot might be inconvenient, but it is better for you and your car’s paint finish.

Spotted a flaw in your car’s finish? Here’s expert advice on how to fix paint chips.

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Car dashboardPhoto: Shutterstock

Mistake #5: Driving Your Car Too Much

The number of kilometres on the odometer will directly influence the value of the car, so you might want to put a lid on those unnecessary trips. Try to bundle your trips so you get all your errands done at once instead of driving all over town and running up the kilometres.

If you simply can’t drive less, you can still save money with these tips on how to get better gas mileage.

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Devalue your car - pink carPhoto: Shutterstock

Mistake #6: Painting Your Car a Strange Colour

Even if pink is your favourite colour, painting your car that hue is probably a bad idea. If you must give your car a new coat of paint, stick to market-friendly neutral colours and skip the custom fluorescent greens, pinks and purples. Psst—these are the most popular car colours in Canada.

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Mistakes that devalue your car - bad car smellPhoto: Shutterstock

Mistake #7: Going “Nose Blind” to Your Car

If your car is more than a few years old, there are probably a few odd odours floating around the passenger compartment. You might not notice them, but a potential buyer will not be so nose-blind. Do yourself, and the potential buyer, a favour by sprucing up your car and removing those unpleasant odours. Find out how to get rid of smoke smell in your car.

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Mistakes that can devalue your car - aftermarket sunroof in carPhoto: Shutterstock

Mistake #8: Making Unnecessary Car Modifications

You may love that aftermarket sunroof you installed, but a potential buyer will probably worry if it leaks. Making too many custom modifications could devalue your car and make it harder to sell.

Now that you know the mistakes that can devalue your car, find out the 13 things you should never do to your car.