Detail Your Car for Top Resale Value

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To truly get the best resale value out of your car before a sale requires some specific detailing tasks. Your vehicle’s esthetics (eye appeal) will be the first impression it makes upon a potential customer. Unlike a simple wash and wax, detailing goes a bit further with attention to smaller details that cover every area of the car. It requires some time and patience, but the ultimate reward is a vehicle that has reached its maximum potential as far as looks, touch and smell.

Interior

Start on the interior first. This keeps dust and dirt from landing on clean body panels. Brush out heavy dirt, debris and hair with a stiff whisk broom. Remove the rubber mats and thoroughly vacuum the front, sides and rear carpet. Use a nozzle to reach under the seat. For embedded carpet stains, use some carpet cleaner in a bucket of warm water and a stiff brush. Brush the carpet in a cross-hatch motion and let the solution sit for five minutes. Vacuum all moisture out with a wet-dry vacuum cleaner. Use a mild dish washing soap, warm water and a terrycloth rag to clean the door side panels, console, rear window deck and dashboard. Towel dry and coat the surfaces with either a vinyl protectant or leather conditioner, depending upon the material. If the seats are cloth, use some stain remover to remove dirt, grease, oil and sweat stains, then wet-vacuum the material. Place a few scent appliances under the seat to enhance the interior smell.

Body

Use car wash soap and a washing mitt to clean the exterior of the vehicle, including the wheels, bumpers and inside the fender wells. Rinse and buff it dry. Apply a good liquid or paste wax in circular motions to the body panels, concentrating on one panel at a time. Allow the wax to dry and then vigorously buff it off with a terrycloth towel. If you have sun fade or paint stains, use a medium-grit polishing compound on the affected area, rubbing it out with circular motions. Then apply the regular wax over it and buff it out. For a deeper paint luster, use a mechanical buffing machine. Clean soft tops with soap and water, then rinse and let air dry.

Use spray-on window cleaner to scrub both the inside and outside of all the windows one at a time. Use cotton or a microfiber cloth to dry them. A window scraper will remove tree sap and bird residue as well as tar and over-spray paint.

Wheels

Determine if your wheel material is painted steel, chrome or magnesium. Use a stiff cleaning brush and detergent soap to wash the outside surface and tire area of each wheel. Make sure you reach inside crevices, seams and between spokes. Rinse and pat dry. Apply mag polish for magnesium wheels, using a small polishing pad to scrub the surface is circular motions. Rub until all stains and oxidation disappear, then buff away the residue with a cotton cloth. Use a small polishing pad and chrome cleaner for chrome wheels, using the same strokes and buffing technique. For a painted wheel, clean with ordinary soap and water, then use some light or medium-grit polishing compound, if applicable.

Bumpers and Trim

Several products are available to enhance the bumper and plastic or vinyl trim areas on your car. Armor All is one such treatment, and there are plastic bumper protectants and bumper guard oils. Plastic and rubber bumpers are subject to sun fading and oxidation, so you’ll need to use an abrasive-cleaner polisher to cut through the haze. Use circular scrubbing with a small polishing mitt, and then rub out the residue with a cloth towel. Apply a medium coat of sealer-protectant on the bumper and trim, using a small square of cloth. When applying the sealer-protectant, run a steady straight coating over the area—avoid rubbing back and forth.

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Get More Life Out of Your Tires with Proper Care and Maintenance

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Everybody wants a little more bang for their buck, and similarly – when it comes to automobiles and driving – everybody wants to be as safe as possible.

Well there is one aspect of your vehicle that can be manipulated into achieving both of those goals at once!  Proper tire maintenance can prolong the life of the tire treads by as much as 50%, according to industry leaders, and not only does that mean that you will have to replace your tires less often, but your vehicle will operate at peak performance longer and at the highest standards for safety.

Moreover, not only will maintaining your tires lead to more money in your pocketbook, but it also helps to increase the overall life of your vehicle’s engine and is healthier for the environment!

In order to maximize the life of your tires, you need to take the time to maintain proper inflation levels and be mindful of any unusual tire tread wear and over the life of those tires, thousands and thousands of miles will be gained, not to mention countless extra trips to the gas station.

Here are a handful of tire maintenance considerations that virtually any driver can make in order to prolong their utility and safety:

Inflation

The biggest issue regarding tires on the road right now is under-inflation.  Not only do under inflated tires pose a safety risk, but underinflated tires run hotter than normal, leading to quicker and more abnormal tread wear.  Industry leaders say that underinflated tires can cost you up to a mile per gallon in fuel efficiency (think of how much $$$ that is over the course life of your vehicle) not to mention that it can cause your vehicle to handle in a dangerous fashion and could possibly lead to tire blowouts.

Over-inflation

Savvy drivers are constantly checking their tire pressure to guard against under-inflation, but sometimes if they aren’t careful, they can be causing extra harm to their vehicle.  Over-inflation just might be more dangerous than under-inflation.   Overinflated tires are more prone to blowouts, and the tread wears out in even quicker fashion than with poorly inflated tires.

Alignment issues

Sometimes you can maintain pitch-perfect tire inflation, but still witness abnormal tire wear or other issues that diminish the life of your tires.  These are most likely due to an issue with in or around your vehicle’s chassis.  For instance, cupping and feathering wear often begins to show when a vehicle’s suspension is misaligned.  Other issues that can lead to inconsistent tire performance include bad shock absorbers, struts and out-of-balance tires.  Your best bet is to make sure you keep an eye on your tires for abnormal wear patterns, and if you observe anything out-of-the ordinary, quickly get to a mechanic to get your alignment inspected.

Taking the time to check in and take care of your tires is one of the investments you can make.  It’s good for you, your bank account, and the environment.  It’s a no-brainer.  Devote a few minutes each week to tire safety diligence, and you will be repaid in a plentiful fashion over the course of your tires life!

Car Insurance Day!!

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It can’t compete for romance with Valentine’s Day. It can’t inspire the joy of Christmas. And it’s almost impossible to find an appropriate costume. But if you remember it, Car Insurance Day will keep you covered the whole year round.

Some celebration days, you suspect, have had a little industry help in getting started. It’s fair to say that Car Insurance Day doesn’t have deep folkloric roots. Even so, in reminding us of something important, it’s right up to date. Around the world, we spend billions on car insurance every year, yet few of us understand exactly how it works, or have the time or patience to question what we pay.

Why not “celebrate” with a quick price comparison – or just a phone call to ask for a better deal. Then test the smoke alarm, tidy the garage and enjoy the peace of mind.