Knowing how to care for your car can help maintain its future resale value. The value of second hand cars of the same make and year can range by thousands of dollars in price, depending on the overall condition of the vehicle. With help from CarsGuide editor Malcolm Flynn, here’s some easy tips to help keep your car looking brand new and as close to showroom condition as possible.

Take care where you park

“If possible, store your car in a garage or at least under a carport to protect it from the elements,” Malcolm suggests. “If you do have to park it on the street, try to avoid parking for too long in the sun, which can lead to faded paint, weakened seals and general deterioration.” A windscreen shade can be used to protect the car’s interior from fading and cracking over time.

Drivers should also avoid parking regularly under trees, which can drop sap, bird or bat droppings or other debris, which if left to dry can eat through the paint and cause permanent damage. Parking under trees also encourages moisture build-up which can lead to rust.  

Car covers can provide great short-term protection from sun and debris, but Malcolm cautions that when exposed to wind, covers can rub and over time chafe the paintwork.

Keep the fuel tank full when it’s off the road

If your car is off the road for any extended period, such as when you’re away on holiday or for work, Malcolm recommends leaving it filled with a tank of premium petrol, which helps prevent condensation and rust forming in the fuel system. 

QBE National Product Manager for Private Motor Insurance, Rachel Spooner, says a common cause of damage for a car’s fuel system and engine is people filling up using the wrong fuel for the make and model of their car.

“So always be careful when filling your car because damage caused by mix-ups like this will not be covered by your insurance,” she said.

Repair damage as soon as it happens

Regular car service and maintenance ensures that your car stays in good condition for longer, and your car’s owner guide will help you track what needs to be done to your car and when.

“Try and repair any damage as it happens,” says Malcolm. “If you leave it, a small problem can potentially become a much bigger one: a windscreen chip becomes a crack for instance, or car scratches may cause rust.  

Wash and polish

The best way to care for your car’s duco is to hand wash it regularly with quality products to help prevent build-up of paint contaminants and deterioration of the duco.

Malcolm recommends premium products that don’t contain harsh ingredients which can scratch the paint work, and then finishing with a premium polish for an added layer of protection. 

Alloy wheels can be particularly fragile and costly to repair, and  if scuffed it can suggest lack of care from the owner. Take care not to scuff your wheels against the kerb when parallel or reverse parking.

Day-to-day hazards

In shopping centre carparks it’s wise to park away from trolley return bays or pedestrian thoroughfares.

“A wayward trolley can cause thousands of dollars damage,” Malcolm says. He also advises taking care over speed humps and when approaching car park entries and exits because low profile cars can easily have their front end scraped. 

Be car proud

There are many good reasons to keep your car in top condition: it’ll be more pleasurable to drive, it’ll be safer on the road and you’ll maintain its future resale value.