To many, a car is more than just a necessity; it’s a status symbol, an achieved goal, and a statement all at once. Whether a sedan or an SUV, owning a vehicle can say a lot about the life you lead and your plans moving forward. That’s why you’d want to keep your ride as good-looking as you can, not to mention in good working order.

The car you have now may as well be the last car you’ll ever own. Americans have been purchasing fewer new vehicles since the 2008 recession, according to a 2012 study by Polk. From an average of 13 cars owned in a lifetime before the recession, the figure dropped to 9.4. Americans are more likely to hold on to their Buicks or Cadillacs for a longer time.

Fortunately, cars have evolved to the point that they can last up to 250,000 miles with proper care. Heck, a 1966 Volvo 1800S currently holds the Guinness World Record for the highest mileage at over 3,000,000 miles. No special tricks or skills necessary; it boils down to following the manual, replacing worn-out parts, and using the turn signal.

Aside from those three tips, here are other ways to keep any car looking fresh out of the assembly:

1. Don’t Drive Like A Madman

Reckless driving never helps. Your car’s speedometer may go all the way up to 200 mph, but driving at high speeds places unnecessary strain on the engine and causes it to wear and tear faster. Other driving habits that achieve the same result include suddenly stopping, not using the parking brake, and driving with flat tires. 

Remember that you’re not trying to win a race; you only need to safely get to your destination and back. You’ll do your car a favor just by taking it easy.

2. Be Faithful In Maintenance

The driver’s manual contains everything you need to know about your car, including when to bring it to a shop for routine maintenance. If the mechanic tells you to bring in the car every 5,000 miles for an oil change, always default to the manual. 

Depending on mileage and age, the schedule may differ for used cars from Vision Buick and other dealerships. Whatever the case, don’t spare any expense in getting your vehicle repaired. You can’t put a price on safety.

3. Give It A Good Bath

You want to look your best when attending a party, so why not give your ride the same treatment. Have your car washed inside out before any important day. Consider auto detailing afterward to bring out the sheen in your ride, especially if it’s been months since the last one.

A clean car also saves fuel because there’s little dirt to increase drag. The Mythbusters put this to the test in an episode, comparing the fuel economy of a car covered in mud and a clean one. They found out that the clean car averaged two miles per gallon more than the dirty one.

4. Drive When Necessary

Taking out the car often will require more frequent maintenance. On the other hand, not using the car at all will hasten wear and tear. Corrosion and other elements deal damage to any vehicle over time, whether or not you use it. Some parts like the battery need to run regularly to keep working.

It’s all a matter of striking balance. Drive when you need to, but consider walking or riding a bike for short trips. At the same time, don’t let your car linger on the driveway unused.

5. Customize As Much As You Can

If you can spare several hundred bucks, equip your car with as many accessories as possible. Some of the essential car accessories include smartphone mounts, steering wheel and shifter covers, and wireless charging. You can find low-cost accessories at your local shop or online. 

There’s no need to deck your car out with accessories to the brim right away. Start with accessories that are high on your list, most likely smartphone mounts, then work from there. Don’t be tempted to buy stuff that’s more of a distraction than a utility.

Final Thoughts

Keeping a car fresh inside out can cost quite a bit, but it pays off in the long run. A sleek and shiny ride is nothing less of a beautiful sight on the road. And, if the time to part ways with your beloved ride comes, it’s in a better position to demand a higher price than a poorly maintained one.