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7 tips to make your car last (and increase its resale value)

The laws of automobile economics are irreversible: Drive a new car off the dealer’s lot, it begins losing value. Even if you buy a used car from a private party, the auto-value meter generally starts ticking down. But there are ways to slow time's effects. Since a car is one of the bigger investments you’re going to make in your life, use these methods to limit trips to the mechanic and give yourself the opportunity to justify a higher asking price when you go to resell your vehicle:

- Andrew CollinsContributor

A cell phone hooked up to an auto stereo system. Turning off accessories like headlights and stereo systems gives a car's electrical system a bit of a break, especially if everything in the vehicle draws power from the same battery. (Verizon Wireless/PRNewsFoto/File)

1. Turn off accessories before start up

Things like seat heaters and your car stereo tax the vehicle’s electrical system. Starting the car draws on the same system heavily; if your battery is being tasked with running accessories and your starter motor at the same time, it’s going to have to work a little harder.  As an illustrative example: if you start your car with the headlights on, you may notice them dimming as you crank the starter. Some vehicles have an extra battery for accessories and will be less affected by an extra draw from starting. However, even the owner’s manual in a modern Acura suggests turning off accessories at idle speed and below to guarantee maximum battery life and minimum strain on related components.


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