Fact: everyone needs to keep their car clean. The reality is not everyone does that on a regular basis. Some, in fact, don’t bother at all. Although the car’s value depreciates very fast than other common types of assets like your house or even a yacht, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t need the love and attention.
There are a couple of reasons why you should get your brush and water hose, as well as call your mechanic for a checkup regularly. Here arae four of them:
Cleaning a car always goes hand in hand with maintenance, and you would want to pay attention to that for one reason: warranty. A warranty is a legal and binding contract between you and the car manufacturer. The coverage can vary, but usually it means the manufacturer will take care of the replacement of parts and sometimes repair provided you follow the stipulations of the contract.
A warranty is not absolute or a guarantee, which means you can lose it. The manufacturer can deny your claim or even void it. Many factors can cause this, and one of them is neglect.
Cleaning your car goes beyond washing the surface or buffing the coating. It involves making sure every nook and cranny is in good condition, and all its parts are working perfectly. It means changing the oil whenever necessary. Neglect on taking care of your vehicle can endanger your warranty, more so if you fail to bring your car for a scheduled maintenance.
Depending on where you are, a car’s insurance can cost you a few bucks to hundreds of dollars every month. That’s a good amount of money you could have spent on utilities and other needs. And because a car insurance is renewable, there’s a good chance you’ll end up paying a higher premium within the next few years.
Sadly you are not in New Zealand where an auto insurance is not mandatory (although you are strongly encouraged to get a general liability coverage). In the country, you cannot drive unless you have one.
Fortunately there are many ways on how to spend less on your insurance, and one of them is cleaning your vehicle. How can it be more practical for you?
- A clean car is a well-maintained vehicle – It means you are less likely to meet an accident or cause one that could be “costly” for the insurance company. In fact, many companies are willing to give you as much as 5 percent discount from your premium if you can keep a clean record – that is, you don’t have overspeeding tickets or file a claim within the last three to five years.
- It means you’re a responsible person – Maintaining a car doesn’t cost you only money but also time and patience. For you to spend some hours making sure your vehicle is in tip-top condition shows your insurance company you’re a responsible person. It may also send the message that you’re a careful driver.
A lot of people don’t know your profile plays a huge part on the premium. For example, men tend to pay more than women since the latter are considered more cautious drivers. Insurance companies also tend to favor men and women who are married or have families as well as young and older adults than teens. Many companies even deny applications from teens outright, or they create packages where teen drivers become overriders of their parents’ policies.
When they feel you’re responsible and cautious, you become a valuable client to the company. To make sure you stay, they can give you incentives like a lower premium.
- You can spot problems and learn to enhance your vehicle – Just because the vehicle looks mint doesn’t have to mean it is truly in a good condition. There may already be issues with its brakes, headlights, suspension, etc., all of which may increase the risk of suffering from an injury or even dying.
Furthermore, during maintenance, you can identify what else your car needs to make is more comfortable and safer. For example, you may install a security system. All these can count toward lowering your monthly premium.
Granted, not all insurance companies are willing to give discounts. Your driving record and well-maintained car, though, can be used to validate your claim for a cheaper premium. Or you can make use of them to negotiate your premiums in other insurance companies.
According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, more than 1 million people die each year because of road crashes. That is equivalent to over 3,000 deaths daily. Road crashes are also one of the leading causes of non-illness-related deaths around the world. Some of the most common victims are teens as young as 15 years old. It is the second leading cause of death for children between the ages of 5 and 14 globally.
In the United States, at least 35,000 people lose their lives in road crashes every year. These accidents can also leave as many as 2 million either disabled or injured. Meanwhile, about 1,600 children below 15 years old will die annually.
Driving is one of the riskiest activities you do on a regular basis, and sitting behind a car is more dangerous than being on a bus. Every day, as soon as you hit the road, you can’t help but think if you’re going to meet an accident or cause one.
Accidents, though, can happen in two ways. One, it’s completely blindsides you. The other is it could be a direct effect of your lack of effort to keep your car clean and well maintained.
One of the leading causes of road crashes is distracted driving. A very typical scenario is you drive while you’re busy with something else like texting. In fact, some studies suggest using your phone even on a stop can still cause a distraction. After all, it takes a while for your brain to focus from one task to the other.
But you can also be distracted in other ways. There’s a bottle of beer near the brakes or loose papers on the floor you want to pick up while you’re driving.
A dirty and poorly maintained car can also mean:
- Ignoring the persistent problem – Many car problems do not happen overnight. Take, for instance, the tire depth. The deeper it is, the better since it provides better traction on the road. But its depth can also become thinner, and it can happen gradually. A simple test like a Lincoln coin test will already give you an idea about it.
- Not taking advantage of enhancements – Unless you pay more attention to your vehicle, which happens when you take the time to maintain your vehicle, you’ll never know how to improve it. Improvements, on the other hand, can make your car safer. Adding a dash cam, for instance, can be very helpful during accident investigations and help make you more careful while driving.
Can you ever control accidents? The answer is no. If it happens, it happens. But you want to increase your chances of survival by doing one sensible step: take care of your vehicle.
Many people think they have to sell their vehicle by the time it reaches 5 years. The truth is cars are some of the longer-lasting movable properties out there. It’s not impossible to drive one over the next 15 to 20 years. Moreover, as parts become more available, restoring an old one is already probable.
There are, however, some good reasons to resell the vehicle while it’s still young. One, you can monetize the vehicle despite its quick depreciation. You may still be able to recover at least 25 percent of its value in the market. Then you can use the money for other things including a down payment for a brand-new one.
Second is the manufacturer’s warranty. Usually, they are good for only three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first. You want to get it off your hands while you’re still covered. It can help increase your resale price and make it more attractive in the market.
Third, it actually reduces your personal costs. Many people own more than one car, which may then drain the finances. After all, each would require insurance, fuel, and maintenance. Further, some cars can become less fuel efficient as they become older, so they become less cost effective for you.
But before you sell your vehicle, make sure that it is clean and well maintained because:
- You would have to take photos. These days it’s possible to avoid the car dealers and go straight to the market. You can do so in several used car websites or in auto auctions. In many cases, though, you have to submit pictures of your vehicles. You can always skip this process or send the old ones, but mind you, online buyers these days are very smart.
- They will inspect your vehicle. Didn’t we say buyers are smart? While they make their initial choices based on the photos they see, in the end, they would have to see the unit for themselves.
Now, many unscrupulous sellers try to conceal the dirt and other problems of their vehicles. For example, they cover up the rust with new paint or the molds with new carpeting. But there are also some ways to know the truth. They can spot the rust or concealment by comparing the quality of the paint with the furnishing of the interiors. They would also have to consider the vehicle’s age. They can look at your car’s history using your vehicle identification number (VIN). Molds and mildew, meanwhile, will leave a musty odor.
- You want to sell your vehicle fast. A vehicle will continue to depreciate and lose its value even if it’s already in the car dealer. As long as it remains unsold, you are losing potential money from it. While many prefer to buy models within the last three years, they also consider old ones that have a good engine, interiors, and overall great build.
- Cost Effectiveness
When it comes to cleaning and maintaining your car, cost is relative. In fact, the actual price should not be a factor. Rather, it must be the value that you get for doing it. Although you will spend money for it, in the end, you can save money in many ways:
- Repair – The longer the problem exists, the costlier the repairs can get. It may mean replacing the parts or leaving the car with the mechanic for longer periods.
- Insurance – A better-maintained car has a very high chance of having a much lower premium. Sometimes you begin with a high insurance cost, especially if you’re buying an old vehicle or a new and expensive one. But over time, as long as you maintain your vehicle properly, you can now have a tool to negotiate your insurance cost.
- Fuel Economy – A lot of cars in the market have an excellent fuel economy, but you can lose such advantage if you don’t take care of the vehicles. Many things can slow them down like very old and thick oil or a faulty engine. Cleaning your cars can not only avoid these problems but also spot them early on so you can remedy them right away.
Who is responsible for cleaning your car? It is actually a team effort. First, there’s you, who has to wash it regularly, remove any debris or food, and keep your car safe from environmental elements like too much sun exposure or flooding.
There’s your car manufacturer, who can cover your vehicle with a warranty so you can keep up with the scheduled maintenance. Then you have the mechanic who can check the overall condition of your vehicle, especially if you don’t know much about cars.
Cleaning your car also takes a lot of time, money, and other resources. But in the end, the pros outweigh the cons. In fact, the benefits like safe