10 Tips to Prepare Your Car When Selling For The Best Price

Whether you’re selling your car privately online or to a dealer for cash or trade-in, you want the car to look as appealing as possible if you want the best price.

Experts say it’s worth putting in a little effort to spiff up your ride before you place it on the market (as long as it is cost effective and consistent with your budget).

Here are 10 pro tips to prepare your car when selling for the best price.

  • Clean Your Car Up Before Selling
  • Good old fashioned cleaning and detailing is the first tip that most car experts emphasize upon. You need to detail your vehicle or have it detailed inside out as the first step to preparing it for sale.

    While thorough cleaning is one of the simplest things you can do, it is also one of the most important steps.

    You can greatly influence the price to favor you by offering a clean, swanky ride to a potential buyer. You want to make sure that buyers see your vehicle in the best condition possible.

    Sometimes, that extra layer of dirt may even look like a scratch or some other damage and deter a buyer from offering the best price.

  • Attend To Important Repairs Pre Sale
  • Which scenario will you prefer – paying for a ride and driving it away or buying a used car and spending two months in a workshop?

    A majority of potential buyers prefer buying a vehicle they don’t have to spend anything extra on. If you are really looking for the best price, then you should just get rid of minor repairs.

    Make sure that before listing the vehicle you get it serviced and have all minor faults taken care of. Most buyers prefer a vehicle which has recently cleared a safety inspection.

    Your car will definitely look more attractive if you have at least more than 12 months left for the next inspection.

  • Check the Warning Dashboard Before Selling Your Vehicle
  • Pay attention to the lights that pop-up on your dashboard when you start your car and eliminate any warning signs. Most people forget to have their oil change indicator reset.

    Speak to your mechanic about warning lights, since these can be an immediate red flag for a potential shopper.

  • Put a Fresh Scent in the Interior
  • You may be used to your car’s smell and it is quite possible that you may not even notice that lingering odor.

    However, it can put off a prospective buyer. Consider using an odor eliminator that will get rid of all lingering smells.

    You should try using a light, fresh scent to give your car a pleasant new aroma. Avoid hanging the traditional tree shaped air fresheners because they look cheap and don’t help in eliminating all odors.

  • Do Simple DIY Checks
  • Fill up the washer and coolant bottles. You can top up the engine oil as well. You could consider wiping the engine clean to get rid of accumulated dust. However, be very careful and avoid steam cleaning it.

    You don’t want to damage the electronics. Plus, it could raise buyer’s suspicions about why the engine is squeaky clean.

    Your final check should also include car interiors. Make sure there are no wrappers under the seat carpets or dog hair on the upholstery. This tip comes from a top online car buying site in Australia carplanet.com.au.

  • Go the Extra Mile
  • You never know when you will come across a finicky buyer who might just be offering the right price.

    Hence, think like a buyer and go the extra mile in making sure everything is top-shape with your vehicle. Go out of your way to make examining your car simple and easy.

    Move the driver and passenger seat position back so it’s easy to get in and out of the vehicle while digging out the backseat seat belts from between the seats. Get rid of the annoying door creak by lubricating the hinges. Remove all personal touches, like window or bumper stickers that you have added to the car.

  • Get the Documents Straight
  • Get the car owner’s manual, log book, and service records together. Organize the service records properly since they are immensely important in a private sale to show prospective buyers that things have been taken care of at the right intervals.

    Also, consider warranty options. Advertise if the factory or extended warranty on the vehicle is still valid and whether it can be transferred over to the new owner.

  • Grab all Extras
  • Extra sets of keys, handbooks, brochures and other paperwork that you have accumulated about your vehicle will help raise the price marginally.

    It is quite possible that your car may be considered a collectible someday, and maybe a potential buyer is interested in all the goodies you can throw in.

    Monroney Sticker goes a long way in bumping up car prices. This sticker would have been affixed to your side window at the dealership, detailing the equipment and pricing of options.

    You could make a future owner very happy by including the sticker in with all the other extras, like the navigation system’s SD card, among others.

  • Set a Reasonable Price
  • The price you set should be realistic and fair. Understand the current selling car market, particularly for your model and make by researching on auto classifieds.

    Potential buyers are instantly turned off by overpriced cars. You probably won’t even get an offer of negotiation.

    At the same time, underpricing your car will not help. It will cut your income by a significant amount and make the sale offer look suspicious. If you are setting a price higher than average, then make sure you list the reasons for the higher price.

  • Advertise at the Right Place
  • Of course you will publish the sale of your car online, but you still need to compare various auto classifieds websites and their pricing in order to choose the right one for your case.

    You may be considering placing physical adverts on your car. However, you need to understand that you may just end up receiving a lot of prank calls without any potential buyer actually witnessing the sign. Think twice about sharing your phone or email information publicly.


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