The latest 2023 numbers on the microchip shortage are bleak. Last week, Auto Forecast Solutions estimated more than 2.7 million vehicles will be cut from production schedules in 2023, meaning less supply, more consumer demand, and likely the same high prices on both new and used automobiles as last year. While 2022 improved overall, the month of December saw a precipitous drop in global semiconductor availability. Keep in mind that it's not a "one-chip-per-vehicle equation" as some people think. Today's trucks, SUVs and sedans use 1000-plus chips and sensors, and luxury and electric vehicles take 2000-plus to make all their computerized systems work.
So, if you have a working vehicle, keep it! Modern cars are built to last almost 12 years with improved quality and reliability, as of 2019. So spend a little to save a lot over the long term.
How Can I Extend My Car's Lifespan?
Proper protection on both its exterior body and paint goes a long way to extend your truck, SUV, or car's lifespan. Idaho has no shortage of common hazards that can damage your paint job along with its resale value.
Get familiar with every part of your car's exterior - using the picture in this article. These are the areas most vulnerable to the elements and road debris (salt, rocks, dirt). Take care of them, and you'll experience fewer dents and scratches, less fading, and ultimately rust. Anderson's Autobody does not repair rust, although we can refer you. It's extremely expensive to repair and often not worth it. All-over repainting is just as bad costing well over $12-15,000, often exceeding your car's value. So believe us, it's worth protecting your exterior with simple, inexpensive maintenance.
5 Simple Ways to Protect Your Car's Exterior
- Keep It Clean: Dirt, grime, leave and other chemical substances can sit on your vehicle with continued use. The longer they sit on your car, the more damage they cause. Regularly wash your car or use a car wash service, especially in the winter with heavy road salt and gravel. Don't just wash your car with any soap or dish detergent and call it a day. Use a high-quality car wash product from a local auto parts store or online. If you're not sure, text us or ask a professional auto painter like JD, Cam or Rachel.
- Wax Regularly: Car wax shields your paint from damage by creating a barrier between the paint and the elements. Think of it like SPF50 to protect your skin from the sun and other harsh weather systems. If you apply your own wax, you don't have to do it as frequently as a car wash. Most experts agree that you should wax once every three months. Apply the wax yourself or opt for a professional wax. Automated and touchless car wash services in town also offer a quick wax application, but it doesn't last as long as one applied by hand.
- Use Ceramic Coating: If you want even better exterior protection, you cannot go wrong with an automotive ceramic coating. It acts as a protective layer similar to wax but is designed to last way longer. The ceramic coating actually bonds to the paint and wards off moisture, extreme temperatures, and scratches. It looks great too. Ask for these at a professional car detailer or you can buy them from Amazon, Walmart or Some of our favorites include:
- CarPro CQuartz UK 3.0 Kit
- Nasiol ZR53 Nano Ceramic Coating Kit
- Mothers CMX Ceramic Spray Coating
- Nexgen Ceramic Spray.
- Meguiar's Hybrid Ceramic Liquid Wax.
- Hire Us to Install Clear Bra (Paint Protection Film or PPF): You've heard us talk about this before, but we cannot emphasize enough how amazing PPF or Clear Bra protection is. Your car exterior will last 7-10 years longer with this thermoplastic urethane film that provides superior protection against bugs, sap, road chips, and salt. It was made for harsh climates like ours - from sun damage to extreme winters. You can spend anywhere from $150 to $2500 depending on how many exterior car parts you have treated. We perform Clear Bra service here at our Ponderay auto shop - all you need to do is come in for a free estimate. You can do it as a single service, or as part of any body and paint repairs. It's ideal to have Clear Bra installed when new parts come out of the paint booth!
- Park Undercover: Okay, this sounds like a no-brainer but many drivers still neglect to do this! Whenever you can, always park under a covered structure with shade. Over time, the sun's rays fade your car paint and shine. Parking in a covered structure like your garage or carport also protects your exterior from bird droppings, tree sap, and falling ice.
Based on the economic forecasts and the huge demand for semiconductors that make today's products "compute and connect" - cars notwithstanding - prices will stay high for at least another two years. Financing will not be very attractive either.
Again, your vehicles should be lasting you 12 years on average. With these exterior and paint protection tips, you'll ensure your big rig or small ride gets the love and care it deserves.
When it's time to buy new, your resale value will be that much higher.
Short-term maintenance costs for long-term savings
Listen, it's not the first time we've been in tough economic times and we will bounce back. Not just anytime soon. Like all things in life, we must adapt our personal and business strategies to adapt short term. We've been through many economic recessions including the 2020-2021 COVID shutdowns, the 2008 Housing Crisis, and the 2001 Terrorist Attacks on 9/11. Some of us remember the fuel shortages in the early 1970s that led to long gas lineups.
For most people, a car or truck is a significant financial investment especially when you include insurance, registration, fuel, car washes, cleaners, and any loan payments. So, if you possibly can, avoid an auto loan. You'll be paying high interest at the bank - so look for special financing through the dealers themselves because they want to keep sales high. You're wise to buy a less expensive vehicle or put some cash down to reduce your monthly payments.
The best strategy, however, is not to buy new or used at all in 2023 unless you have saved cash, it's your financial priority, or your vehicle no longer drives safely. If your car is totaled in an accident, be sure to talk to your Anderson's Autobody estimator about options to keep it even if it's a write-off. Often, we can repair a total loss safely with a combination of your insurance check and some extra cash from you to make it driveable again.