Are you tired of your vehicle leaving you stranded on the side of the road? Or maybe you’ve had the exact vehicle for several years and are ready for an upgrade. Either way, you’re probably looking for someone to buy your current car. Whether you trade in your vehicle at the dealership or try to sell it to a private party, here are several tips that can help you prepare your car to sell.

It’s Time for a Deep Clean

Thoroughly wash the exterior, and give it a fresh coat of wax. Remove all of your items from the vehicle’s interior. Thoroughly vacuum the cabin. It could be a good return on your investment to have your car detailed by a professional. Detailers have the tricks of the trade that allow them to cut through the dirt and get to the vehicle’s actual value. The cleaner the car, the better its impression and higher its resale value.

Fix Minor Details

Several minor details are do-it-yourself fixes. For example, you can change the car’s lights, including dome lights, brake lights, and parking lights. Install new windshield wipers, and ensure that the coolant, washer, and brake fluids are topped off. However, if your vehicle needs major repairs, it’s best to leave that to the dealer. True, significant maintenance will lower the value of the car. But the dealer can perform the repairs a lot cheaper than you can. It’s better to let them handle it.

Get Your Paperwork Together

To sell your vehicle, you need to have the car’s title. Buyers will be interested in seeing how well you maintained the vehicle, so you want to produce service records. If registration is required where you live, gather those documents and any other documents a buyer may wish to see. If your car has been maintained in harmony with the manufacturer’s schedule, it will retain more of its value. Don’t waste money or energy on getting a vehicle history report. The potential buyer or dealer should be responsible for doing that themselves.

Collect Needed Accessories

Does your vehicle have extra keys or other accessories? Make sure that you have them with you. If the navigation system has a boot disk or an SD card, make sure you have those ready for the buyer. If essential accessories are missing, they will not fully credit you for your trade-in. Dealers are incredibly particular about this.

Know-How Much Your Vehicle Is Worth

Inspect your vehicle. Look for dings, dents, or other imperfections in the paint job or upholstery. Take your vehicle for a drive and pay close attention to any unusual sounds or rattles that give you an indication that there is an issue. Does your car need new tires? Are there electrical issues? Take note of these.


Try to figure out your car’s estimated value. Consider all of the vehicle’s imperfections you noted during your inspection. This can give you an estimated value of how much a car like yours is selling for in your area. When using a car valuation tool, try to be as accurate as possible. Include your vehicle’s actual mileage, provide a detailed description of the condition of your car, and use the VIN to ensure that you have the right model and make of your car.

Take Pictures of Your Vehicle

Once you’ve cleaned and prepped your vehicle, taking photos is critical. Take them immediately after the car is detailed so that you are capturing your vehicle when it is in its most pristine condition.


Don’t just take one shot of the car’s exterior. You should get several angles of the interior and exterior of your vehicle. Get photos underneath the hood, the trunk, and the wheels.


As you take photos, put yourself in the potential buyer’s position. What would you want to see if you were buying a used vehicle? For example, a picture of the odometer will verify to potential buyers how many miles are on the car.


Once you’ve got your car looking and working the way you want it to be before selling it, try to drive it as little as possible. Keep it out of the elements.

It Is Worth the Work?

Prepping a car to put it up for sale is a lot of work. However, you increase your chances of getting more money for your car if you take a little time to get it looking and running its best.



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