Topics:Repair and Maintenance Budget Safety Voided Warranty Mileage Car Value Car Trouble Car Resale Money Saver Buying Tips Winter
Buying a car is a big investment. Your car gets you everywhere you need to be. It's important to take steps to protect your investment to ensure reliable transportation. It's always a good idea to keep an eye on your car's resale value. Car warranties, especially if they are transferable to a new owner, also help add value to your car. Many extended warranty companies offer additional benefits, including 24/7 roadside assistance. These benefits offer peace of mind on the road. There are additional ways to keep your car safe from exterior damage, interior damage, and theft. Taking action to protect your car can help safeguard your car and its resale value. Exterior damage The exterior of your car is the most visible. Preventing damage to the car's exterior will keep your car looking nice and appealing. A nice looking car that has no damage is easier to sell than one that does have visible damage. Richard Reina, Product Training Director at CARiD.com“It's a fact of life that you can't control how others are on the road. With busier roads, city parking, or parking lots in general, it's crucial to protect the exterior of your car. Scratches, dents, and scrapes are very common and also negatively affect the car's resale value.” Protective coatings Protective coatings can protect your car from minor scratches, small rock chips, and sun damage. There are several kinds of protective coatings you can put on your car: paint protection film ceramic coating nanotechnology windshield coating Paint protection film Installing paint protection film on your car's exterior protects it from minor scratches. It's almost like permanently saran-wrapping your car to keep it looking good. The film is sticky, so installers use soap and gel so that they can place and stretch it smoothly over all of the car's surfaces. If you decide to install it yourself, you'll definitely want to invite friends and family to help. Expert insight Laura Gonzalez, Marketing Manager for Audi Spokane“A clear protective film goes directly onto any part of the cars exterior body panels. There are many brands that offer the film including 3M and many dealerships offer this as an option that buyers can add to new cars. The only downside is that it can be costly if you pay someone to do it and it is not exactly easy to do at home. It will also need to be replaced every couple of years as the film itself will show signs of wear.” Ceramic coatings Ceramic coatings offer similar protection to film. However, the ceramic coating is applied to the car's exterior and bonds with the car's paint. It's slightly easier to manage because it does not have to be stretched like film does. Expert insight Laura Gonzalez, Marketing Manager for Audi Spokane“A ceramic coating is essentially a superior alternative to wax. It hardens to a clear thick finish that can last a couple of years. It will protect your car's paint from sun damage, dirt, and other contaminants. The downside is that there are special steps that must be taken in order to properly prep the paint so the sealant will last. These steps can be out of many people's ability and having it professionally installed can be costly. One of the most popular is ceramic coatings is CQuartz.” Windshield coatings The more sensors your windshield has, the more expensive it is to replace it if it cracks due to rack chip damage. Fortunately, you can have protective coatings applied to your windshield that make it stronger, which decreases the risk of rock chip damage that can lead to windshield replacement. Retailer insight Charles Bonfiglio, Tint World Automotive Styling Centers President and CEO“If you've bought a new car and want to protect your investment, consider applying undetectable, impact and scratch resistant windshield nanotechnology. Just be sure to do your research on the installer and manufacturer, as the product is only as good as the installation, and some films don't have the longevity to create a decent return on your investment.” Aftermarket back-up cameras and sensors Many newer cars come with sensors and cameras that make it easier to drive safely and avoid exterior damage when backing up or pulling into a tight parking space. Even if you drive an older car, you can have these features installed in your car. If your car is under warranty, keep in mind that aftermarket installations are not usually covered. In some cases, they can also void the warranty. Be sure to talk to your warranty provider before installing any aftermarket additions. Retailer insight Richard Reina, Product Training Director at CARiD.com“Rearview cameras come standard in many new vehicles, but for older or used cars, aftermarket offerings can add an extra level of safety. An example is Rear View Safety® - Custom Rear View Mirror Camera System, which provides a clear view and additional security. There are also similar offerings available for blind-spot monitoring and 360-degree vision.” Interior damage The next part of your car you need to protect is the interior. This means keeping your car clean and keeping up with regular maintenance. Maintenance tracker Car maintenance, like oil changes, needs to happen regularly to help the mechanical parts of your car function smoothly. Having a maintenance tracker can help keep you on track. Retailer insight Jake McKenzie, Auto Accessories Garage Content Manager“The best way to retain your vehicle's resale value is to keep up to date on maintenance and take care of issues sooner rather than later. One of the best ways to do that is with a performance programmer such as the DiabloSport Trinity 2. This handy device will give you minute-by-minute diagnostics of the inner workings of your engine, allowing you to not only stay in the know about your engine, but fine tune your vehicle to reach peak efficiency.” Floor and cargo mats If you're an adventurer or live in snowy climates, you can track all kinds of dirt, snow, and ice into your car. If you don't protect your carpets, the water and dirt will be absorbed by your carpet. Your car's interior won't look new and the carpet can stain. Retailer insight Richard Reina, Product Training Director at CARiD.com“All-weather floor and cargo mats are extremely important and useful. In fact, many people don't realize the importance of cargo mats, but the trunk of a vehicle can gather debris just like your passenger mats, from transporting everything from outdoor gear to groceries. WeatherTech® - Cargo Liner provides complete protection against dirt, spills and grease.” Tossits garbage bags Another way to keep your car looking nice is to keep the trash out. Keeping a trash bag in your car and regularly cleaning out trash when you get gas will make the space in your car nice. You also won't find trash in odd places. Tossits are garbage bags that rest on the back of a headrest. These bags are leak-proof, which means you can throw away anything and not worry about it getting all over your car later. They're also great if you have passengers with you who get carsick. The bags tear off and seal, which makes it easy to throw them away. Founder insight Ben Riggan, Tossits Co-Founder and CEO“We all knew people with messy cars, even ourselves. We are parents and we were tired of driving a mobile landfill created by our children in the back seat. We were tired of always finding wrappers, juice boxes, tissues, and miscellaneous debris left behind by our kids and even us. We all live a busy life-style, spending a lot of time in our vehicles. We needed a simple solution to help keep our cars clean…and TOSSITS was born. We have found many more uses since the creation, most coming from our children. From car sickness, to dirty diapers, to wet shoes, Tossits quickly became a must have for our friends and family. Now we want to provide all parents, commuters, and vehicle enthusiasts with the same simple life hack for keeping a clean car." Theft If your car is stolen, you lose your transportation. If you can't get your car back, you won't have a car to sell or trade-in when you get a new one. Fortunately, there are security cameras and systems that you can install in your car. PureGear PureCam Connected Car Security System PureGear PureCam is one security camera systetm to consider. It allows car owners to record and view events inside and nearby the car in realtime. Car owners can sign up for a data plan through PureGear PureCam which allows them to store and view footage. Car owners can also use SIM cards to store data. PureCam also works like a Wi-Fi hotspot, which is an added convenience. Footage is also uploaded, so you can access it any time. Ease of access makes PureCam a nice option when looking for a good car security camera. Developer insight Arthur Chen, PureGear Senior Product Development Manager“PureGear developed PureCam because we saw a gap in the market for a 4G/LTE connected car system—not just a dash cam—but a system that would provide complete security and peace of mind for the driver. We also saw a growing demand for dash cams, a trend led by consumers. According to the CTA, U.S. wholesale shipments of dash cams are expected to hit 285,000 this year, up 20 percent from 2017. This follows market trends we're seeing as well. And Google's 2018 Automotive Trends Report noted that consumers want that "second set of eyes" while on the road. Dash cams offer protection and proof, in case of an incident.” Owlcam Owlcam records everything that happens to your car. It captures footage when your car is damaged while parked, records what happened during an accident and when a police officer pulls you over, and deters thieves because everything is recorded. Owlcam will even send footage to your phone instantly so that you can take quick action. Owlcam has a data plan that its users can purchase. The data plan allows instant communication when something happens to your car. If you don't have the data plan, Owlcam will still record, you just won't get instant updates. Owlcam also has a 911-assist feature which can be added for an additional cost. Developer insight Anthony Hodge, Owlcam CEO and Founder“Owlcam is the first smart dash cam. We invented Edge AI technology that no traditional dash cam has. We pack together a 4G LTE connection, a huge processor, and inside and outside HD cameras so you can get alerts and video from your car directly to your mobile phone quickly and easily. Everyone wants video security in cars and trucks because crashes and break-ins are far too frequent. Only Owlcam can make both a 911 Assist call when a possible injury crash is sensed and send the video automatically to your phone. In a break-in, only Owlcam sends you a notification if activity is sensed when the car is parked and lets you LIVE view to see exactly what is happening, even if your car or Owlcam is stolen. In both crashes and break-ins, Owlcam delivers critical video proof you need for police and insurers, so you can protect yourself.”
Guest Post By Lawrence Dorman Similar to the way that maintaining your home or lawn can improve your property's market value, maintaining your vehicle can increase its resale value once you choose to sell. Like any asset, your car's value depreciates over time. But that doesn't mean your used car has to sell for the same price as a tired clunker. Here are six ways that you can increase your used car's valuation, including the importance of an extended car warranty for reassuring potential buyers. 1. Consider your new car carefully before purchasing Yes, you should be thinking about resale value even before you purchase a new car. This factor is often overlooked because buyers are concerned about style, price, safety, fuel efficiency, and other features. A manufacturer's reputation for reliability and longevity should also be taken into account. Certain vehicle models may hold up better over time. A study by iSeeCars.com found that consumers are most likely to reach 200,000 miles with a full-size SUV. Toyota, more specifically, was reported as the most reliable manufacturer, with its Sequoia, Tacoma, Tundra, and Avalon models ranking in the Top 14. Honda, Chevrolet, and Ford also ranked. So, whether you buy foreign or American, a long-lasting car will be easier to sell. 2. Make a good first impression with a clean exterior and interior First impressions matter. Scratches, dents, and dirty carpets will immediately catch the eye of potential buyers and dissuade their decision. Wash your car regularly, especially during the winter months when roads are salted, to prevent rust buildup and corrosion. Some manufacturer warranties will cover specific types of corrosion, but you may need to pay for repairs out-of-pocket. Next, don't forget the interior. Clean and vacuum the carpet, wash all windows, and check for any off-putting smells or stains caused by kids and pets. Check under the seats for forgotten or fallen items, as well. 3. Monitor your mileage A researcher from the University of Michigan found a steady rise in both vehicle ownership and miles driven per year. The average American drives nearly 9,000 miles annually, according to the report. That means you may be putting more mileage on your car than ever before. It's not always possible, but limiting the miles you put on your car can make it more attractive for buyers. Keep this average in mind as you drive your vehicle, so you can gauge where your car falls compared to other used cars on the market. Your mileage will also dictate your qualification for an extended car warranty, which protects older vehicles up to a certain number of miles or years. Compare extended car warranty plans to see if your car is eligible under the requirements. 4. Reduce unnecessary wear and tear If you want your car to remain in mint―or even good―condition, then you'll need to kick those bad maintenance and driving habits. Maybe you change your oil infrequently or wait to get gas at the very last minute. Perhaps you ride your brakes down hills. Do you live in a cold climate? Cold starts can put undue stress on your engine. These are all examples of common, yet damaging, habits that can affect the longevity and efficiency of your vehicle. Another reason to avoid unnecessary wear and tear is because warranties don't cover repairs caused by everyday use and poor habits. If you leave your car out in hail storms or put excessive weight on the drivetrain, that makes it more costly for a new owner to repair. 5. Take care of maintenance that warranties don't cover Most extended car warranties, whether provided by a manufacturer or third-party, don't cover routine maintenance, such as oil changes, new tires, brake pads, and wiper blades. While you own the vehicle, you should keep up with preventative maintenance so that the car works well while you're the owner, as well as runs properly on a test drive. 6. Get an extended warranty An extended car warranty is a valuable tool for covering costly repairs on an older car, and its benefits become more apparent when your car is properly maintained. Purchasing an extended warranty also reassures buyers that they have a guaranteed level of protection when they purchase a car that's no longer under its factory warranty. You can find different levels of coverage, from basic powertrain (transmission, engine, and drivetrain) to comprehensive bumper-to-bumper plans, using a third-party provider, such as CARCHEX. A CARCHEX used car extended warranty is useful for an older car after its manufacturer warranty has expired, and it's also transferable to a new owner. Though the warranty may not increase the actual price of the car, your used car's value will still improve with regard to peace of mind. In addition to repair coverage, an extended warranty provides 24-hour roadside assistance, trip interruption coverage, and a host of other bonus reimbursements. For buyers evaluating a used car's value, the fear of a breakdown is a major concern. However, repair coverage and roadside assistance can be comforting selling points and set you apart from other sellers. In a nutshell, increasing your used car's value is not about tricking the seller into buying an old car. It's about keeping a new car feeling and looking good-as-new over time. Lawrence Dorman is the Executive Vice President of Marketing & Operations for CARCHEX.
Whether driving through muddy streams, hilly sand dunes, or dusty red rocks, off-roading enthusiasts agree that there’s nothing wrong with getting a little — or a lot — dirty.However, the thrill of the ride can come at a high price. Vehicle damage incurred while off-roading is not usually covered by car insurance, manufacturer warranties, or extended car warranties.Furthermore, making modifications to your vehicle in some cases completely voids extended warranty coverage. This is the case for a variety of vehicles, including the top off-roading Jeeps, Toyotas, and other SUVs and trucks. So what’s an adventurous soul to do? You need to know the specific limits of your vehicle and the terms of your insurance, your manufacturing warranty, and your extended car warranty. Read on for basic rules regarding how off-roading and modifications impact car warranty coverage. Off-roading damage coverage An extended car warranty, sometimes called a service contract, is designed to offset repair costs after a manufacturer’s warranty expires. It covers a certain number of years after you reach either a certain mileage or number of years from the manufacturer’s warranty period. The investment payout from having a car warranty can be hefty even with a single repair, such as needing a complete transmission replacement with a Jeep warranty.Car warranties only protect against manufacturer defects, not damages or parts that will need to be repaired periodically. So if something unexpected happens off the road, such as a huge rock chip in the windshield of your 4Runner or a blown gasket of your Wrangler, you’re out of luck with warranty coverage. In fact, even unlucky off-roading weather conditions — such as excessive water from a storm or flood — falls outside normal operating conditions where a car warranty can be applied.According to the DMV, an original manufacturer’s warranty may even be permanently voided due to “misuse of a vehicle, including off-roading.”Unfortunately, car insurance generally does not cover incidents that occur off-road, either. Whether you’re an off-roading veteran or a rookie, it’s a good idea to purchase specific off-road car insurance to avoid crippling costs from an unexpected accident. Common modifications and their implications While most cars or trucks are equipped to handle your average bumpy dirt road, making modifications to a vehicle’s original state can extend nature’s playing field and amplify off-roading fun. However, major modifications and even some minor ones can void original or extended warranties. At the very least, modifications limit your coverage options if you’re shopping for a car warranty.Modifications to the following can cause a vehicle to become ineligible for a car warranty: Tire and wheel size Increasing the tire and wheel size can cause inaccurate odometer tracking. Car warranty companies need to be able to determine the exact mileage of a car, and there’s no sure way to tell if an odometer has been tampered with.Larger tires put a strain on the drivetrain, sometimes requiring re-gearing and/or an axle swap to handle the heavy tires. Additionally, large and bulky treads can limit road traction, adding strain when the car’s systems would work fine under normal conditions.Instead of altering the tire and wheel size, consider a standard-size, all-terrain tire that can drive well on paved roads but also offers good traction with bad weather conditions and some off-road use. Suspension lift kits Lift kit installations go hand in hand with increased tire and wheel size. Aside from the annoyance of requiring maintenance and causing a bumpier ride, adding a suspension lift kit to your SUV or truck will likely void a warranty simply by virtue of the fact that the suspension has been adjusted beyond factory specifications. A number of issues can arise from suspension height or torsion bar modifications that might otherwise not occur. Intake and exhaust modifications Intake and exhaust modifications are usually done to increase horsepower, improve miles per gallon, and increase acceleration from idling position. Since cold and dense air is better for good engine performance, replacing a restrictive factory intake system with a less restrictive one makes sense for performance.However, less restrictive intake systems, like an open cone filter, are not water resistant and can cause hydro locking. These modifications also put increased wear and tear on the engine and drivetrain. Maintaining car warranty eligibility The bottom line is that both off-roading and its accompanying modifications increase liability. Regardless of how well-suited your vehicle is for adventurous pursuits, the wear and tear and adverse conditions increase your odds of needing repairs that may not be covered. And modifications decrease warranty providers’ confidence in the longevity of original vehicle parts.If you’ve modified your vehicle, you don’t need to automatically assume you won’t qualify for a car warranty. Car warranty administrators have different tolerances for vehicle modifications, so it’s worth a shot to see if the modifications are considered acceptable.However, if you’re considering a modification, it could make your vehicle ineligible for continued or future coverage, so communicate with your warranty company about what is acceptable to maintain coverage and what is not. Then you can determine whether the modification is worth missing out on the benefit of a car warranty.