Check out these tips on buying, maintaining and selling your car

Owning a vehicle, as quick as the buying process can be, is a long-term and expensive process. The decision you make in a few hours will affect you for several years. Here are a few tips to help you along the way, starting from the very first few days with your car until it’s time to sell it.

Research your vehicle

It’s wise to begin your research online at sites such as CUDL Autosmart, which helps you find the right vehicle that fits your needs.

Finalizing the sale

Once you’ve settled on the right car, it’s time to settle on the best price you can get. Be assertive and firm. By doing your homework, you’ll have a good idea what the vehicle’s sale price and how much a dealership has marked up the price. Companies such as Kelley Blue Book, TrueCar and Edmunds specialize in tracking the average price of vehicles and rebates or incentives available.

Remember that as the buyer, you’re in control of the situation. Ask about incentives and rebates, and determine if they’re really a good deal. It is perfectly okay to walk away if you’re not happy with the final price and try again another day.

Maintaining

Routine vehicle maintenance is the key to keeping your new vehicle operating efficiently and under its original factory warranty. Your vehicle’s operation manual details the maintenance required, based on mileage milestones.

Some maintenance tips include taking it easy at start-up: When your car’s engine is cold, so is the oil inside it, most of which has seeped back down to the oil pan at night. Instead of a quick start and go in the morning, give your car about 30 seconds or so to idle (without revving) so the oil can re-lubricate the engine. This can save engine wear and tear, while giving you time to settle in for your drive.

Make weekly checks of your engine’s oil, brake cylinder fluid, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, and radiator coolant (antifreeze). These tasks can be done in less than 10 minutes. Your vehicle manual describes where and how to check them.

Selling

You’ll need to know how much your old car is worth before you put it on the market. To find out, visit the Auto Buying Center's Research section. Then, click on the Kelly Blue Book icon under “Vehicle Value Guides.”

Once you’ve set a fair price, get your car ready for sale. In many cases, buyers will make up their minds whether to buy your car in the first few minutes. Wash and wax your car’s exterior, and clean and vacuum the interior. Empty the trunk and ensure the spare tire is in good shape. Gather up your car’s maintenance records so you can document the condition it is in.

You once negotiated to buy this car. Now you’re doing the same to sell it. Ask for a fair price and stick to it. If someone wants to negotiate the price by phone or e-mail, just tell them to come see the car first.

 

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