Selling your used car shouldn’t be something you do on a whim. In the car industry, a simple repair might translate into thousands of dollars on resale, especially if you are selling to a dealership or trading in. You can count on the fact that the dealership’s mechanics are going to check for all these factors, so make sure that you’re ahead of the game. If you don’t, you might wind up selling your car for much less than it’s worth. So before you start passing out flyers, try these simple tasks to prepare your used car for sale.
The better your car looks, the more it’s going to garner in resale value. Start by giving your car a “bath” with soap and water, making sure to scrub dead insects from the front bumper and mud from the fenders. Make sure you get the windshield and all of the other glass features, including your sunroof if you have one.
Next, purchase a bottle of your favorite tire dressing and spend at least four or five minutes on each tire, paying careful attention to the grooves in the tread. Most tires will look like new after a good scrubbing, but make sure to follow the directions on the back of the bottle. Use a stiff brush with an easy-grip handle to make the job easier on your arms and shoulders, and drive the car forward a few inches when you’re done to get the rest of the tires.
Just as important as exterior cleaning, you’ll need to clean the interior of your used car to prepare it for sale. First, wipe off the dashboard, console, doors and all other vinyl features with a soft, dry rag. Then apply a non-greasy protectant to these areas using a sponge or a clean, soft cloth. Rub the protectant into the vinyl until there aren’t any streaks.
You should also take the time to wash and vacuum all of the carpets in your car and condition any of the leather features. Make sure there aren’t any crumbs or dirt between or under the seats, and take the time to clean the trunk as well as the back seat. Clean out the glove compartment, the console and any other areas of the car where you might have stored personal items.
Your next step in preparing your used car for sale should be to check (and replace, when necessary) all of the fluids. This includes the oil, the transmission fluid, the radiator coolant, the brake fluid, the power steering fluid and the windshield-washer fluid. If any of these appears to be low, replace them according to your used car’s instruction manual. If you aren’t sure how to check or replace these fluids, take your car to the nearest auto shop.
Replacing Windshield Wipers
If your front and rear windshield wipers haven’t been replaced in some time, go ahead and replace them. If they are just slightly dirty — as they most often are — use alcohol and paper towels to wipe them clean. Make sure that they are correctly attached and are the proper size for your used car.
Make sure that your used car has working features when you’re preparing it for sale. One of the deciding factors on price will be the air conditioner, so make sure that all of the vents work and that they blow cool air. You should also check the speakers, the radio, the CD player and any of the mechanical or electronic devices on your car to make sure they are in working order.
In all honesty, a fifty-dollar repair can often earn you $500 back when you sell your used car, which is a great incentive to make sure you vehicle is in working order and prime shape.