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Before You Buy A Used Car...
Top 10 Tips for Maintaining
the Value of Your Car

The best way to maintain a car's value over time is to take good care of your vehicle from the moment you purchase it. CarMax, the nation's largest retailer of used cars, suggests even more ways to get the most for your car when it comes time to sell or trade it in.

"There are four major factors taken into account when evaluating the worth of a car," said Cliff Wood, vice president of purchasing for CarMax. "Mileage, market data, the condition of the vehicle, and how well it has been maintained. So, one way for car shoppers to ensure they get the best offer on their vehicle is to simply take good care of it."

Based on the four value factors, expert car buyers offer the following 10 tips to ensure you get your vehicles maximum value:

1. Stick to the vehicle's regular maintenance schedule — keep all records/documentation of maintenance performed.

2. Try to put a reasonable amount of mileage per year on your car. Staying between 10,000 and 12,000 miles per year is best.

3. Keep interior and exterior clean including carpet & floor mats.

4. Don't smoke in your car. Smoking in a car narrows the market for it, it is very difficult to remove the smell of smoke.

5. Avoid eating in your car. It may damage the interior by leaving stains or unwanted scents.

6. Have scratches and dents repaired in a timely manner — if left alone, they may lead to rust or other expensive damage.

7. Make major repairs before attempting to sell your vehicle.

8. Avoid customizing your car. It does not add to its value. Putting on after-market accessories can lower the market value for a car by narrowing its appeal.

9. Don't paint or detail your car with wild colors. Such colors may lower the vehicle value.

10. Drive carefully to avoid lowering your car's market value due to damage from automobile accidents.

"An appraisal is a great way for car owners to have experts thoroughly evaluate their current car and provide accurate market value for it," Wood said. "Before attempting to sell your car, you should visit a retailer like CarMax that will make a cash offer for your vehicle based on its market value without requiring a purchase."

(Source: CarMax)