According to research by Moneyshake, you can increase the value of your car by up to £1,410 just by giving it some regular TLC. The problem? A surprising nine out of 10 Brits don’t wash their cars regularly, and 23% of us don’t wash them at all, which means we’re missing out on ways to protect their value.
With this in mind, here are eight quick and easy ways to boost your car’s value without breaking the bank.
1. Protect the carpet
Car care starts from the inside. So, begin by hoover the carpet once a week to prevent dust and debris from building up. If required, rub in a little rug cleaner and scrub out the stains.
It’s a good idea to use ‘waffle-style’ rubber floor mats, too. They’re easy to wipe down and hoover, and they prevent you trailing muck all over the carpets in the first place. You can pick them up from shops like Halfords.
2. Wipe the dashboard
The dashboard is really simple to clean, so this is an easy way to increase your car’s value. Just buy some dashboard wipes or a protective spray and use it as required.
To clean the interior elements like the fuel gauge and radio display, use a clean, damp cloth, and don’t press too hard or you could damage the screens.
3. Weatherproof doors and windows
Damp can sneak in through worn seals around doors and windows, causing condensation and mould to build up. Increase your car’s value by using a rubber or silicone protectant around these seals to prevent damp buildup. It’s best to avoid using oil-based products like WD-40.
Did you spot a window chip while checking the seals? You can often buy a repair kit and fix it yourself for £10 or so.
4. Clean the exterior regularly
To protect the paintwork, it’s crucial that you clean the exterior once a fortnight. Use a quick-drying shampoo, sponge and microfibre cloth to clean the exterior, and don’t forget to include the inside wheel wells, undercarriage and bumpers.
Avoid washing the car when it’s too hot or too cold, though – you can actually damage the bodywork that way!
5. Use wax and polish
Once every six months or so, use wax and polish to increase the value of your car. The polish can improve the look of scratches and scuffs on your bodywork, and the wax helps to prevent further damage.
According to Moneyshake’s research, it’s best to apply wax and polish just before summer and winter – you’ll get the most protection from the elements this way.
6. Clean the engine
Have you ever cleaned the engine? If not, start now. Not only is this a good chance to inspect the engine for any issues, but clean engines run better.
To get started, just put a plastic bag over the neighbouring components like electrical parts and give the engine a scrub with a bristle brush and grease-cutting detergent. If you’re at all worried about cleaning your engine, though, ask a local garage for help.
7. Protect the upholstery
Every few weeks, give the car seats a clean. How you clean them depends on the material. All-purpose cleaners are okay for cloth seats, while you can just use a mild detergent on vinyl ones.
If you’ve got leather or custom car seats, be sure to buy a protective upholstery cleaner instead. Otherwise, you could scuff, stain or damage the fabric, which definitely won’t increase the value of your car!
8. Maintain the air filters
Did you know you should change your air filters every 12,000 miles or so? This helps prevent dirt, dust, pollen and other debris from entering your engine and affecting your car’s key components.
In the meantime, you can wipe air filters down with a cleaning solution, or hoover away excess buildup. Don’t try either of these techniques if you’re not sure how to locate the air filters or handle them safely – ask a garage for advice.
How to increase your car’s value
The best way to increase your car’s value? Clean the bodywork every few weeks, apply some polish, hoover the interior and wipe down the dashboard.
Be sure to check for potential issues like chipped glass or underinflated tyres, too. The quicker you spot a problem, the easier it is to fix, which could save you money.
Finally, make sure you service your car once or twice a year, depending on your mileage. Not only will this keep your car in good working order but it can also protect the value of your car when you go to sell or exchange it.
Some offers on The Motley Fool UK site are from our partners — it’s how we make money and keep this site going. But does that impact our ratings? Nope. Our commitment is to you. If a product isn’t any good, our rating will reflect that, or we won’t list it at all. Also, while we aim to feature the best products available, we do not review every product on the market. Learn more here. The statements above are The Motley Fool’s alone and have not been provided or endorsed by bank advertisers. John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Barclays, Hargreaves Lansdown, HSBC Holdings, Lloyds Banking Group, Mastercard, and Tesco.