Potential car buyers used to wait until the end of the year for holiday discounts that dealers offered as incentives. This was because inventories were usually far in excess of demand in past years. CNBC reports that this is not the case this December. Because of the continued worldwide shortage of semiconductor chips necessary for automobile production, many plants had to shut down for certain periods. Inventories are, therefore, at almost historic lows.
On the other hand, demand is still high. This continues to push car prices ever higher, with many being sold much more than the manufacturer’s recommended selling price (MRSP), also called the sticker price. Because buyers are willing to pay more, dealers mark up their prices. Experts do not see a change in the situation even in 2022.
YAA reports that the high prices have spilled over into used cars, as well. With no available new cars to purchase, many buyers shifted to the used car market, thereby depleting inventories and raising prices. In 2021 alone, the prices of used vehicles rose by over 50 percent. In some models, available used cars fetched more than the current price of new versions that are not in car lots. According to Kelley Blue Book, as of November 2021, the price of the average used car was over $27,000. This represented an increase of 27 percent over November 2020 and 41 percent over the pre-pandemic November 2019.
This is, therefore, not the best time to purchase a new or used car. Experts advise owners of vehicles to keep their current ones instead. It is important to keep them in top condition for the long term.
Keep the Car Body in Good Shape
If your vehicle looks shoddy, you will find yourself wanting a new one. It is less expensive to give your car a makeover, instead. A paint job will not only make your vehicle look brand-new, but it will also prevent body deterioration from rust corrosion and everyday wear and tear.
Choose a professional paint job if you want good results. Professional car painters will use high-quality paint that will last longer. You can save money by choosing the least-expensive colors, such as black, white, and gray. Afterward, make sure your car paint is protected by an auto clear bra service installation.
Freshen up the interior of your car, as well. This will make you and your passengers feel like you are on a more expensive ride. Start with deep cleaning of all interior surfaces. This will show you what looks great once cleaned and what needs replacement. The carpet usually needs a replacement after a few years. Use seat covers as protection. It is cheaper to replace the covers as needed rather than replacing the seats. The same goes for the steering wheel cover. It is quite inexpensive to replace the handbrake lever and gear knob. Keep your car interiors always smelling fresh by using an all-natural deodorizer with a scent that is not overpowering. If you opt for aromatherapy scents, choose natural oils that are invigorating over those that induce sleepiness.
Basic Auto Maintenance
Ensure that your vehicle is always in good working condition with regular preventive maintenance. Comply with the service and maintenance schedule indicated in the vehicle’s manual. This is specifically meant for your vehicle’s model and will ensure your vehicle’s longevity and state.
Find a certified and reliable mechanic you can trust. It is best to stay with the same mechanic, who will then be familiar with the vehicle’s history. Also, choose a mechanic who is knowledgeable on your vehicle’s make, or better yet, who specializes in it. Bring the car to the mechanic for a regular oil change and tune-ups. He will advise you whenever you need to replace certain vehicle parts like filters and hoses. He will also give you a schedule for the replacement of fluids.
Do a weekly check on your car. Make sure it is switched off and cool before doing this. Check your car’s body and paint for dents and scratches. These must be addressed immediately to avoid rust. Check that the windshield washer bottle is not empty and run the windshields. You would not want to be caught in heavy rain with malfunctioning windshields. Check that your tires are not abnormally worn and that the treads are still deep enough. Ensure that the tread wear indicators in the tires are not yet exposed. Another test is to insert a penny on the tire tread. The top of the penny must not be visible. Invest in a tire pressure gauge to keep correct tire pressure. The correct level is indicated in the vehicle’s manual.
Look at the floor under the vehicle and check for oil or water leaks. If you find any, bring the car to the mechanic. Open the hood and check the radiator hoses and belts for cracks. Check if the brake fluid, power steering fluid, coolant, and oil need topping up.
While driving, pay attention to how your car responds. If you feel a vibration on the steering wheel or the vehicle veers toward one side, you may need wheel alignment or balancing. Always test your brakes.
Keeping your current vehicle well-maintained will save you a lot of money in the long run. Also, should you decide to sell the car later, you can do so at a higher price.