Ever wonder why your ride isn’t holding its value like it should? Turns out, it’s not just about miles on the odometer or the year it rolled off the lot. There’s a bunch of everyday things you might be doing that are secretly tanking your car’s worth. Here are 25 things you need to stop doing now if you want to preserve your car’s value.

Not Keeping the Tank Quarter Full

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Mechanics see cars with damaged fuel pumps pretty regularly because owners run their tanks too low. Gas isn’t just for making your car go; it also keeps the fuel pump cool. Running on fumes risks overheating the pump, leading to misfires and expensive damage. Keep your tank at least a quarter full to avoid this. Running your tank too low not only risks expensive fuel pump damage but also decreases your car’s resale value as potential buyers may worry about engine health.

Skipping the Warm-Up in Winter

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In cold states, or cold seasons, warming up your car is key. Not by idling for ages – that’s a waste of gas and bad for the environment. Today’s cars don’t need very long to lubricate the engine. Just turn on your car, clear off the snow, and you’re good to go. A quick warm-up helps your car last longer and keeps its value up.

Parking Outside All the Time

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Leaving your car outside constantly exposes it to harsh elements and potential critter infestations. Weather damage isn’t the only problem -rodents love cozy, warm places and might chew on your car’s parts. Parking indoors can save you a ton of repair costs. If indoor parking isn’t an option, at least wax your car regularly to protect it’s paint job. Regular exposure to harsh elements can lead to quicker wear and tear, negatively impacting your car’s appearance and resale value.

Falling for Cheap Brake Job Ads

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Cheap brake job ads are usually too good to be true. They cost more in the long run and drag down your car’s value. Quality brake pads and proper labor can’t come cheap. Avoid low-ball offers and go for a reputable shop. Paying a fair price upfront will save you some time and  money down the line.

Ignoring Your Car’s Noises

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If your car is making some weird noises then you need to be wary. Those sounds can mean big problems that’ll cost you and drop your car’s value. These sounds often signal serious issues. Addressing them early can save you big bucks and keep your car safe. Don’t wait until a small noise turns into a big, costly problem.

Telling Mechanics What to Fix

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Mechanics prefer diagnosing car issues themselves rather than being told what to repair by car owners. When customers insist on specific fixes, it puts shops in a tough spot. If they decline, they’re criticized for not doing what’s asked, but if they comply and it doesn’t solve the problem, they’re blamed for ineffective repairs. It’s better to let the pros figure out what’s wrong.

Riding the Brakes Constantly

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Keeping a foot on the brake pedal, even lightly, is a bad move. It wears down the brake system and messes with the automatic emergency braking system. Regular brake checks are essential for your safety. Do yourself a favor and don’t ride your brakes – it’s a surefire way to cause unnecessary wear and potential accidents.

Ignoring Oily Stains on the Driveway

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Oil stains on your driveway are a red flag. Leaks can lead to big problems and lower your car’s value. They signal leaks in crucial systems like the engine or transmission. Low fluid levels from these leaks can lead to serious damage. Address these stains immediately. Identifying the fluid type and getting the leak fixed ASAP can save you from major, costly repairs.

Eating Inside Your Car

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Eating in your car might seem convenient, but it’s a mess waiting to happen. Spills, stains, and lingering food smells can attract pests and reduce your car’s value. It’s also a distraction while driving. Keeping your car food-free preserves its cleanliness and resale value. Save the snacks for when you’re not behind the wheel.

Smoking Inside the Car

Smoking in your car is a double whammy – it’s bad for your health and your car’s interior. The lingering smell and potential burns and stains can drastically reduce your car’s resale value. Cars are often devalued because of smoking damage. Keeping your car smoke-free maintains its condition and ensures a better resale price.

Overloading Your Car

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Packing your car beyond its weight limit is a pretty common mistake. Overloading your car puts stress on your suspensions, wears out your brakes, and reduces the car’s performance. Check your car’s manual for its load-bearing capacity and stick to it. Keeping the weight down ensures better handling, fuel efficiency, and longer life for your car components.

Driving an Overheated Car

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An overheated car is a ticking time bomb. I cringe when I see drivers pushing their cars despite high temperatures. Pushing it can wreck the engine and slash its resale price.If your car overheats, pull over and call a tow truck. It’s way cheaper than a major engine repair.

Speeding Over Speed Bumps

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Flying over speed bumps damages your car’s undercarriage, suspension, and alignment. Speeding over bumps can lead to expensive repairs over time. And, of course, those speed bumps are there for a reason and shouldn’t be ignored just because you find yourself in a rush. It’s not just about avoiding immediate damage; it’s about preserving your car’s overall health.

Not Changing Seasonal Tires

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Skipping tire changes between seasons is a false economy. Mechanics often see cars with inappropriate tires for the season, leading to reduced safety and efficiency. Winter tires in summer can melt, and summer tires in winter won’t grip properly. Investing in the right tires for each season keeps you safer and saves money in the long run. Believe me, a crash caused by the wrong tires will definitely impact your car’s resale value.

Driving on Worn Tires

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Worn tires are a safety hazard, yet many people drive on them to save money. Doing this increases the risk of accidents and expensive repairs. They also make your car look bad. Keep your tires good to keep your car’s value. Replacing tires before they’re completely worn out is essential for safety and can prevent more expensive issues down the line. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to tires.

Ignoring Tire Pressure

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Tire pressure is often overlooked, but it’s crucial for safe driving. Mechanics see too many cars with improperly inflated tires, leading to poor handling, increased wear, and lower fuel efficiency. Regularly checking and maintaining the right tire pressure is simple and can save you money and trouble in the long run.

Neglecting the Maintenance Schedule

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Skipping regular maintenance is a big no-no. Small issues can turn big and expensive, tanking your car’s value. These are major problems that could have been prevented with routine checks. Whether it’s oil changes, brake inspections, or timing belt replacements, staying on top of maintenance keeps your car running smoothly and prevents pricey repairs.

Ignoring Dashboard Warning Lights

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Those lights on your dashboard aren’t for decoration. Ignoring warning lights can lead to major issues, whether it’s engine problems, brake system issues, or something else. Addressing these warnings promptly can save you from bigger, more expensive problems down the road.

Shifting Gears While Rolling

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Shifting gears while your car is still moving puts unnecessary strain on the transmission. That kind of wear makes your car less reliable and less valuable. Always come to a complete stop before shifting gears, especially from reverse to drive or vice versa. This simple habit can prolong your transmission’s life and save you from costly repairs.

Using Hot Water to Defrost the Windshield

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Pouring hot water on a frozen windshield can cause it to crack or shatter. It’s safer and smarter to defrost your windshield properly – use a scraper, let the car warm up, or park facing the sunrise. Avoid the quick fix and save your windshield and resale value.

Ignoring Unusual Car Smells

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Unusual smells from your car are warning signs. Ignoring these odors can lead to bigger problems and a hit on your car’s value.. A burning smell might indicate an oil leak or a failing drive belt. These issues can cause serious damage if left unchecked. Trust your nose – if your car starts to smell a little off, get it checked out as soon as possible.

Skipping a Professional Inspection When Buying Used

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Buying a used car without a professional inspection is risky. Hidden problems can pop up later, costing you and dropping the car’s value. An inspection can uncover hidden problems that are not apparent during a simple test drive. It’s a small cost for peace of mind and avoiding potential headaches.

Not Repairing a Cracked Windshield

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A small crack in your windshield can turn into a big problem fast. Neglected windshield damage can compromise safety and lead to more expensive repairs. It’s important to fix even small windshield issues as soon as possible. This prevents the damage from getting any worse and keeps your car safe and compliant with road safety regulations.

Forgetting to Use the Parking Brake

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Neglecting the parking brake is something that happens pretty often. However, doing so puts extra wear on your car, making it less reliable and less valuable. Using the parking brake helps maintain the brake system and prevents undue strain on the transmission. It’s an important habit for preserving your car’s braking abilities and making sure it stays where you park it.

Not Driving Your Car Enough

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Letting your car sit unused for long periods can lead to several problems, like a drained battery or deteriorated fluids. Mechanics recommend driving your car regularly to keep it in good condition. Short, frequent drives can prevent issues and help you spot any arising problems early. Drive it around now and then to keep it running right and holding its value.

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Author: Abbie Clark

Title: Co-Founder

Expertise: Automotive Industry, Electric Vehicles, DIY Car Repairs


Abbie Clark is a writer, blog, and founder of RideRambler, Hey She Thrives, and The Bearded Bunch.

From clever car cleaning tricks to the freshest car features and reviews, Abbie loves sharing her knowledge on everything automotive. Outside of her time writing for her websites, you’ll find her fishing with her husband, deciphering her toddler’s babbling, or baking up something sweet.

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