Car Care Tips
Help You Sell Your Used Car Fast
The following list of Car Care tips is meant as an ongoing checklist of things to take care of way before you need to sell your used car fast. Though some of these tips can be undertaken immediately, others like oil change frequency require that you do proactive maintenance on your engine. All these tips at one time or another have helped me sell my car fast.
Number 1: Wash your car! A clean car sells 10x faster than a neglected vehicle.
Your car's battery is the heart of your modern vehicle systems. Newer batteries are low maintenance and can be checked for for their charge and condition ever few months. For older cars, check it every month. That means checking the cable terminals for corrosion and the cells for water level. If not too bad, clean the termnal ends with some coca cola and a battery brush, rinsing with clean water. If you need to add water to the cells to bring up to normal level, use distilled water only. Replace the battery when it becomes excessively dirty or will no longer hold a charge. Most battery installations are easy to reach, right under the hood in older, carbureted cars, or in a rectangular box at the forward end of the air intake assembly on modern fuel injected cars. Having a car or truck that starts right up and has a clean battery area will help you sell your car fast.
Engine belts and hoses should always be in strong shape with easy bending qualities. Any hose or belts showing dried out rubber that is frayed, glazed, or starting to show too many shredded threads should be replaced immediately. Also pay close attention to the metal clamps that hold the hoses in place. Make sure to tighten these clamps. Hoses that look bad or show excessive softeness or hardness should be replaced. Selling a used car fast is easy when you take care of these small but very important details.
Check the brake fluid every couple of months. Pay attention to your car's brake master cylinder reservoir lid. If necessary, flip off the retainer clip and remove the lid or unscrew the plastic lid, depending on which type your vehicle has. Add needed fluid and check for possible leaks throughout the system. Pay special attention not to overfill the reservoir.
Of all the tips that have helped me sell my used car fast, this one entails the most foresight ahead of time. Detailed attention paid to something as seemingly insignificant as checking a used car's oil once a month can pay off big time. Checking your oil means removing your oil dipstick mounted on the engine, wiping it clean with a paper or rag, then re-inserting the dipstick into its resting place (the engine).
UPDATE: some modern cars dont have a dipstick. Refer to your service manual or do what I do - Google it!
Remove the dipstick a second time and inspect the fluid level. Your oil dipstick should have notches indicating if the oil level is low. Add oil if necessary. To maintain peak performance, your used car's oil should be completely drained and replaced every 4,000 miles or 90 days, whichever comes first. Refer to your owner's manual for oils change frequency. Remember to always replace the oil filter whenever the oil is changed. The absolute minimum is twice a year. If your car has an electronic oil-change indicator on the instrument cluster, don't exceed its warning.
And now a word about the different types of motor oil.
Premium Conventional Oil- standard on all late model new-cars. Most major oil brands have one for service level SL, available in several viscosities (degrees of oil thickness). Auto manufacturers often specify a 5W-20 or 5W-30 oil, particularly for those cars in colder climates- an alternate 10W-30 oil can also be used by cars driven in warmer or less extreme weather conditions. These aformentioned ratings cover just about every used vehicle on the road.
Full Synthetic Oil - Full synthetic oils are made for modern high-tech engines used in sports cars and German luxury autos. The oils of this type must pass stringent special tests and display better, longer range engine performance in several important areas, from viscosity index to protection against deposits. Synthetics are often favored in more extreme climates because of the way they flow better at low temperatures and keep peak lubricity at high temps. The high cost of these oils compared to conventional oil means that only the most expensive and high performance autos are recommended to use this oil type. Lower performance autos are better served by conventional oils. As always, read and follow your owner's manual.
Synthetic Blend Oil - These oils are a hybrid of synthetic oil mixed with conventional oil, and overall are formulated to provide protection for somewhat heavier loads and high temperatures. This type of oil is less volatile and are good for use in warmer climates because they evaporate slower than conventional oil, which reduces oil loss and increases fuel economy. Synthetic blend oils are often a good alternative for those drivers who want a little better engine protection for less cost than a full synthetic oil.
Higher Mileage Oil - Late model used vehicles are staying on the road longer than ever before. For those used car owners who intend to keep their autos a long time, there is also the option of using special oil formulated especially for higher-mileage vehicles. Almost two-thirds of the vehicles on the road have more than 75,000 miles on the odometer. Check with your dealer for advice on where to find specialized higher mileage oils.
Loose or broken exhaust clamps and supports can lead to bigger problems for your used car. Check for holes in muffler or pipes and those people living along the coast should guard against rusted parts from all the damp, salty air. California's stringent smog laws require that your mufflers be in tip top shape.
Assure that all your lights are clean and working, including the brake lights, turn signals and emergency flashers. Keep spare bulbs and fuses in your vehicle. Often a non-working light is the result of simple short circuits and can be fixed for little money. The resale value on a used car with faulty lighting can take a nose-dive way in excess of the cost of fixing this simple problem.
Power Steering Fluid
Examine the power steering fluid level once evey couple of months. Check it by removing the reservoir dipstick. Add fluid if the level is down then inspect the attached pump and hoses for leaks. If the steering wheel squeaks too much when you turn it, you can bet you need to top up your power steering.
Shock absorbers that need to be replaced often suffer from oil seepage. You can test shock action by bouncing the car up and down. The car should stop bouncing when you step back. Worn or leaking shocks should be replaced. Always replace shock absorbers in pairs.
Keep tires inflated to recommended pressure. Any bulges on the tires indicate that they should be immediately replaced. If your tire tread is unevenly worn down, replace the whole tire even if there is plenty of tread left on most of the tire. Also have the wheel alignment checked on your car. These are problems that often cause uneven tread wear. Obviously, if your used car is showing balding tires, get them replaced with new ones. Few used car accessories recommend a higher price or helped me sell my used car fast like great tires.
Check transmission fluid monthly with engine warm and running, and the parking brake on. Shift to drive, then to park. Remove dipstick, wipe dry, insert it and remove it again. Add the approved type fluid, if needed. Never overfill.
Keep the windshield washer fluid reservoir full. Use some of it to clean off the wiper blades.
Inspect the windscreen wiper blades whenever you clean your windshield. Do not wait until the rubber is worn or brittle to replace them. They should be replaced at least once per year, and more often if smearing occurs.
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