Life is hard on cars, but there are ways to keep yours in top condition even when the weather and the roads are tough. Keeping your car in good shape doesn’t just mean fewer repairs and better running: it also means that your vehicle keeps its resale value when you’re ready to upgrade. Read on for some tips about how to do that.

Consult your owner’s manual

Hardly anyone does this, but you won’t keep your car looking and running its best if you don’t understand its specific needs. Your manual tells you exactly what type of oil and fuel you need to put in your car.

It also alerts you to the correct tire pressure, which may be different in the front and back of the car. You’ll also find out how to avoid invalidating your warranty, as well as get instructions on exactly how to jump start the battery according to your vehicle’s specific design.

Take care of the tires

Always keep the tire pressure at optimum. Overinflated tires can blow out, while underinflated tires wreak havoc on your gas mileage and wear out more quickly.

It’s also important to rotate your tires on a regular basis. This just means taking the tires off and switching them around. Since most of us drive the same roads over and over, rotating the tires helps then wear evenly.

Take care of your paint job

The paint and the clear coat over it protect your entire vehicle. When a scratch gets through the clear coat and starts to wear away the paint, moisture and road contamination eat away at the bare metal.

In addition, it’s important to get regular paint overspray removal. Overspray is particulate matter that adheres to your car’s clear coat and is very difficult to remove. Chemicals and soot are common overspray contaminants and removing them protects the car and your investment.

Change your engine filter

This is something you can check whenever you get your oil changed, and the manufacturer will tell you in your vehicle manual how often to get the engine filter changed.

The filter’s job is to protect your engine from all kinds of road debris. If you’ve been driving in harsh conditions or over a lot of dirt roads, you might want to replace your filter more often to ensure your engine is protected.

Change the oil regularly

Few things guarantee you the best possible resale value when you go to sell or exchange your car more than keeping up with oil changes. The good news is that you don’t need to get your oil changed every 3,000 miles like you used to.

Most vehicles these days can go 5,000 or 6,000 miles, or six months, between oil changes. However, it’s always a good idea to check the vehicle’s manual. Oil change frequency will depend on how you drive, whether you use synthetic or natural oil, and how much stop-and-go traffic you drive in.

Keep an eye out under the car

It’s a good idea to regularly check under your car to make sure you don’t have any fluid leaks. In the summer, you might see some dripping water from the air conditioner, and this is no problem. But if you see anything that isn’t water, you should check it out.

Something you really don’t want leaking is your engine coolant: the fluid responsible for protecting your engine from building up so much heat that it damages itself. Coolant can sometimes leak so slowly that it doesn’t register a problem on your dash, until your engine temp suddenly spikes when you’re least expecting it.

If you keep your car in good condition, you can be sure to get the longest possible life out of it and the best price for it when (or if) you’re ready to sell.