When you think about buying a vehicle, if you are like most Americans, you think about the purchase price, but you don’t think about maintenance costs. You also likely don’t think about what you should invest in for your vehicle and what you shouldn’t. These smart tips will help you make smart investment choices for your vehicle.
These smart tips will help you to understand better what investments will add resale value to your vehicle and which investments will not. Experts recommend that you keep your vehicle as “stock” as possible. Stock refers to how you get the vehicle from the dealer. The more “factory-like” your vehicle is, the easier it is to resell.
overly personalized Customizations can decrease the value of your vehicle and make it very difficult to resell. Typically, investments that improve your vehicle’s engine performance or repair your vehicle’s aesthetics are a good bet for investment purposes. These smart tips will help you to make the right financial choices for investing your money where it will do the most good. Check out these smart tips.
1. Put Your Vehicle On A Budget
Most people don’t track how much their vehicle costs them to own. It is important that you know how much you are already investing in your vehicle before you spend any money on the “extras.” For example, some spending is unavoidable; when you need Honda repair to keep your vehicle on the road, you can’t eliminate that type of cost. However, other spending is completely avoidable, like paying for window tint.
To get a bigger picture look at how much you are already investing in your vehicle, you need a record of what you are spending. Draw up a “vehicle budget” to determine how much money you spend maintaining your vehicle. Include things like the cost of insurance, the average spend on fuel, recent repairs, and any other money you have invested in your vehicle recently.
You can set a spending limit for yourself using the information in your vehicle budget. Knowing what you spend and what you can spend may help to lower the odds of investing in frivolous things that don’t come with a return.
2. Save For Emergencies
Unfortunately, some vehicle investment decisions are made for you. For example, auto body collision repair after an accident typically requires that you shell out the deductible before the insurance company will step in. This smart tips list for vehicle investment strongly suggests that you have an “emergency fund” for emergency repairs.
Auto body repair is a good investment for your vehicle but can be expensive. Putting money to the side every paycheck to cover emergency repairs or even to have work done that you want is a smarter way to invest in your vehicle. A key mistake that many vehicle owners make is relying on credit when something goes wrong.
The interest you pay to invest in emergency repairs for your vehicle increases the cost of those repairs significantly. Having a special savings account for your vehicle will make investing in emergency repairs easier. Use your vehicle budget as a guideline to ensure that if your vehicle’s HVAC goes out, you can have it repaired without running up your credit cards.
3. Investments That Offer a Return
Smart tips for investing in your vehicle focus on making investments that come with a return. For example, replacing a muffler has two clear benefits. First, a new muffler ensures that your vehicle runs efficiently. Your exhaust system is an essential system for your vehicle. It plays a role in fuel efficiency.
Second, investing in exhaust repairs ensures that your vehicle can pass inspection. This is the type of investment decision that is made for you, but it also adds value to your vehicle and your driving experience. When you have to decide where to put your money, it is important that you consider the return value of the investment.
You may want to invest in a “fin” for the back of your vehicle, but that doesn’t give you the return that you will get from a mechanically sound vehicle. It is more important that your vehicle has the “go” than the “show.” Necessary repairs and maintenance should trump all other investments.
4. Invest In Better Insurance
Smart tips for vehicle owners must address this issue. Many vehicle owners decide to take the cheap way out with their auto insurance. They look for a plan with the lowest premium without considering that investing in a higher premium can pay off. Most states in the United States have a “minimum liability limit” for insurance. That means to register your vehicle you have to have at least a specific amount of insurance coverage.
The lowest limit acceptable under the law is usually the cheapest insurance plan. Investing in a better insurance plan is a worthy investment. Paying a higher premium can mean paying a lower deductible when you are in an accident. It can also mean getting added value services from the insurance plan, like towing services, roadside assistance, coverage for windshield damage, and more.
Let’s use window replacement services as an example. If you invest in an upgraded auto insurance policy and get the window replacement coverage, if your windshield is damaged (and it often is) by road debris, you may not have to pay anything out of pocket to repair it or replace the windshield. Likewise, if you opt for the lowest coverage at the cheapest rate, if your windshield is damaged, you will have to pay out of pocket.
The cost of windshield replacement can range between $500-$1500, depending on your vehicle type. Investing in a better auto policy is a smart investment for many reasons.
5. Frivolous Investments
Smart tips for investing in your vehicle are meant to help you determine where you should put your money. A conversation about investing in your vehicle can’t be complete without identifying what types of investments are frivolous. Now, being frivolous in this conversation doesn’t mean the investment doesn’t bring the vehicle owner joy; it’s just not an investment you should make if you want a return. For example, paying for auto body collision repair services is not a careless financial choice.
There is a long list of modifications that you may want to invest in that will not add resale value and in many cases, can lower the value of your vehicle. For example, lowering your SUV, truck, or car. Lowering your vehicle not only negatively affects the resale value, but it can hinder performance. Another bad investment is body modifications. You may like and appreciate large fins, adding racing stripes, unique body kits, and other modifications, but you will never get a return on your investment.
Body modifications are not the only place you shouldn’t put your money. Other investments that don’t make sense financially include rain-sensing windshield wipers, upgrading your stereo system, lift kits, neon light kits, oversized tires, and wheels, headlight wipers, outrageous upholstery, heated seats, and more.
Frivolous investments can run into thousands of dollars in costs. For example, a lift kit can easily cost about $5000. Larger tires and rims can cost up to $4000, and every time you need new tires, you are going to run into extreme costs.
Smart tips for your money say to avoid making drastic changes to your vehicle for the sake of customizing. You likely will not own the vehicle long enough to get the money out of it that you have put in, and these investments will only appeal to a very specific audience when you go to resell or trade-in your vehicle.
6. Simple and Valuable Investments
These smart tips for simple investments (that are also low-cost) can easily improve the value of your vehicle. Investing in detailing services and then following up with a weekly cleaning can add value to your vehicle. A truck wash service will get your vehicle sparkling clean, remove the dirt and debris that can eat away at the paint on your vehicle, and help to maintain value.
Budget for occasional professional detailing services and then put the work in to keep your vehicle clean in between. Consider it a maintenance investment. Other maintenance investments you should make include regular oil changes. Pay for professional oil changes. The oil change provider gets oil deliveries, including the specific oil you should use for your vehicle.
Maintenance activities like replacing brake pads, tune-ups, cooling system flushes, and transmission checks add value to your vehicle. These maintenance activities help to extend the life of your vehicle. They also ensure your vehicle maintains its value.
Replace tires, windshield wipers, and headlights as needed. All of these investments will not only keep your vehicle in great shape but also safety investments that help keep you safe on the road.
7. To Paint or Not to Paint
Vehicle paint can fade over time. Smart tips for vehicle investment tell us we should fully understand our options before we pull the trigger and decide to invest in a new paint job. There are other options to repair faded paint besides painting the entire vehicle.
Before you decide to paint your entire vehicle at a cost between $2500-$5000 and beyond, you should evaluate the other available options. In some cases, a clear coat application can restore the paint. In other cases, the damage is beyond what a clear coat option can do.
If a small section of the vehicle is faded, you may be able to have just that area painted. Body shops are experts at color matching. Painting the smaller area will be less expensive than painting the entire vehicle. Aesthetics are important to the value of your vehicle, but that doesn’t mean investing in a paint job will up the value of your vehicle as much as you think it will.
A good rule of thumb with any vehicle investment is to do your due diligence and research the investment. Of course, you always want to work with a professional service to get the best value. You also want to ensure you do not fall victim to one of the “vehicle paint trends.”
A few years ago, “color changing paint” was popular as an aftermarket vehicle paint investment. If you look around today, you only see a handful of vehicles with color-changing paint. It was a fad that fell out of favor. Unfortunately, when a fad falls out of favor, it negatively affects the vehicle’s value. Golf cart repairs that include color-changing paint could be a novelty. Vehicles painted using this trend are devalued.
8. Ask Someone You Trust
Smart tips for investing in your vehicle can only take you so far. You may still be tempted to make some iffy investments. Before you spend a dollar on your vehicle investment, talk to someone you trust about the investment. You may think those tiger stripes look cool, but you must step back from the plan and get some advice.
Before you make an investment in your vehicle, consider a cool-down period. For example, let’s say you are in a tire and rim shop, and the salesperson is pressuring you to buy the bigger wheels and tires. It can be hard to say no when it is something that you want to do, and someone is willing to do it for you. Salespeople work on your emotions.
Instead of making the decision right then and there, consider sleeping on the decision. Check your vehicle budget to see how much you can afford before you pull the trigger on making the purchase. Evaluate the long-term cost as well as the short-term cost before you make any investment in your vehicle.
Use these basic smart tips as a guideline for how to invest in your vehicle. Find more smart tips for vehicle investing and make choices that will ensure you are protecting your vehicle investment.