A car is one of the biggest items in any household or small business budget. It’s also a depreciating asset, meaning that it’s constantly declining in value.
As with any financial asset, it pays to invest in maintenance to hold up the value of your asset as much as you can. And if you use the vehicle for your small business then the condition of your car will also reflect the perceived value of your service. In short, if your car looks cheap and uncared for then customers will transfer those values onto your business brand as well.
Here is our guide to the cost of maintaining the image and value of your vehicle as well as you can.
Maintenance vs Repair
First of all, it should be clarified that maintenance is not repair, and if your car is involved in an accident or encounters any other serious damage, that is not maintenance anymore. For damage like this, you are going to want to have good car insurance cover. It’s crucial to have all the information at your disposal before making a choice about auto insurance. You may save money by avoiding unforeseen expenses if you know exactly what is covered.
To start with, and something that can be practically free, you are going to want to wash your car regularly. To stop grime from building up, ideally you should wash your car at least once every two weeks. This is especially important if you live somewhere with a lot of dust or other environmental effects. Refrain from using household cleaners on your car’s paint and opt for a quality car shampoo and a soft cloth instead, which won’t harm the paint.
If you prefer to use a commercial car washing service, expect to pay between £5 and £10 depending on where you live. Older drive-through car washes can damage paintwork, so avoid those.
Valeting is deep cleaning of the exterior and interior of your car. Again you can do this yourself with a vacuum cleaner, bucket and sponge. But it can be worth paying for a professional valet once or twice a year. The professional valet will have a range of cleaning solutions for the various surfaces in your vehicle and equipment to reach tricky areas in your car’s interior. They will clean windows, mirrors and wheels on the exterior. They will both vacuum and shampoo the interior of your car. The cost of a full exterior and interior valet ranges from £35 to £45, while interior-only valeting ranges from £20 to £30.
Detailing is a super-in-depth valet that leaves your car looking as good as new. It can include steam cleaning and sanitation of the interior, plus paint restoration and waxing of the exterior. A car detail will cost between £100 and £250 depending on your location and the number of hours required to restore your vehicle to look as good as new.
To keep your car in good working order and avoid expensive repairs building up it is recommended that you get your car serviced annually or every 12,000 miles, whichever comes first. A service will include a visual check of the vehicle, changing of filters, checking tyres, steering, breaks and lights, lubricating major parts, and so on. A full service will cost between £170 and £400 depending on the size of the car and where you live.
Keep It Undercover
If possible keep your vehicle in a garage or carport when it’s not being driven. This will protect the bodywork from weather and sun damage, keeping the car looking good for longer. It will also reduce your vehicle insurance premiums.
It is not difficult to keep your car looking in pristine condition. It just needs planning and a little investment. The good news is, if you take good care of your vehicle you should save in the medium and long term by avoiding unexpected repairs, by enhancing the perceived value of your services if you run a business, and maintaining a premium resell value when it comes time to change your drive.
Avoiding damage, cleaning it occasionally, and having your car professionally appraised and checked from time to time for issues you would not be able to find on your own are all simple, affordable, and self-evident ways to keep your car looking as good as the day you got it.