Buying a car is a big investment these days. With more high-tech and eco-friendly options hitting the market, people are putting out more money for their vehicles in hopes that they’ll be able to drive them for a longer period of time. In fact, the average American now holds onto their car for eighteen months longer than they did ten years ago—a reflection of higher car costs and better automotive durability.
Of course, the longer you own a car, the more wear and tear you’re going to put on it. In addition to dings and scratches (which you often can’t help), this includes things like paint breakdown due to salt on the roads and UV damage from the sun. If you want to make sure your car will maintain its resale value regardless of how long you hold onto it, regular detailing work could be the answer.
Why Detail Your Car?
Many people assume that a car detail is all about aesthetics and making your ride look the best it can be. While this is true to some extent—a regularly detailed car is going to look pretty amazing—detailing is actually more like a doctor’s checkup than a trip to the salon.
This is because almost all detail work includes preventative applications that reduce the effects of accumulated debris as well as prevent direct exposure to chemicals and sun.
- Accumulated Debris: A car that’s dirty isn’t just dirty—it’s covered in tiny, abrasive materials that can damage the paint job, plastic parts, and metal components on the car. Even wiping these things away isn’t going to fix the problem, since you’re just scraping them back and forth over the exterior. A thorough detail not only cleans the car, but it goes deeper to remove any embedded particles that have worked through the sealant or wax.
- Exposure to Chemicals/Sun: One of the biggest causes of car damage is regular exposure to the elements. Chemicals can eat away at the surface and cause rust to form. UV rays can cause the paint to fade and highlight imperfections. Regular detailing will ensure that the environment doesn’t ruin your car’s finish, especially if you get a new sealant application that works to booth shine and protect.
Before You Sell
Regularly detailing your car now is a good way to keep it in shape and avoid lasting damages—and to increase its value overall.
You should also plan on getting a full detail before you put the car on the market, as this final deep clean will substantially impact your bottom line. It might seem too good to be true, but the reality is that investing a few hundred dollars now could mean a higher sale price of several thousand dollars, especially if you’re dealing with cigarette smoke, pet/kid stains, and other fixable damages.