Keep your ride from being a clunker

Tips for keeping a vehicle looking good
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Nobody wants to drive around in a clunker, but tough economic times mean many motorists are keeping their vehicles longer.

By following a few simple tips, you can help maintain your car’s appearance and even boost the resale value.

“When many motorists think of vehicle maintenance, the first things that come to mind are oil changes and other engine upkeep — things under the hood,” said AAA Northern California spokesperson Matt Skryja. “By extending vehicle maintenance to the interior and exterior of the vehicle an owner can reduce wear and tear and help preserve the vehicle’s value.”

AAA recommends motorists perform the following maintenance tasks:

• Clean the interior with regular vacuuming and shampooing as necessary. Clean soiled surfaces with a damp cloth and use protective UV coatings on vinyl and rubber surfaces.

• Use floor mats to protect the carpet. Use protective covers when transporting pets or items with sharp edges.

• Wash the exterior every two weeks and wax as needed to protect the car’s finish from contaminants and ultraviolet rays that fade paint.

• When washing, rinse out the wheel wells and accessible areas of the undercarriage to remove salt and prevent rust.

• Use care when removing bugs and tar to avoid damaging the paint by using products that are specifically designed for this purpose.

• Clean the windows inside and out with a product that reduces glare and does not leave streaks. Also, repair windshield chips quickly to prevent them from becoming cracks that require a complete windshield replacement.

Another easy way to improve the resale value of a vehicle is saving all of its maintenance records. Being able to produce a record of proper maintenance and repairs during ownership of the vehicle can add hundreds of dollars to a vehicle’s sale price.

Also, most repairs come with some form of warranty, and documentation of the repair will be needed to support any warranty claim that might arise.

~ Staff report