Tips for the Savvy Seller: How to Prepare Your Used Car for Sale

Date posted: 07/28/2012

by Kat Saks on
in Buying & Selling

2653 Tips for the Savvy Seller: How to Prepare Your Used Car for Sale

When you’re ready to sell your car, you want to sell it quickly, easily, and for as much money as possible. Use these tips to help you sell your car with ease and get top-dollar for your ride.

Schedule a Used Car Tune Up

Before you put your used car on the market, take it to your local automotive mechanic for a check up. Once you’ve inspected your car from bumper to bumper, you’ll know exactly how much it’s worth.

At your vehicle check up, you can:

  • Identify any necessary repairs. If your car needs a few fix-ups, you might want to tackle them before you sell, or consider lowering your sale price. Your mechanic can help you inspect engine codes, brakes, all the belts and hoses, suspension, and important safety items like the headlights, horn, and the front end of the car.
  • Check the car’s fluids. Top off all of your car’s fluids and change the motor oil if need be. Tackling this simple task will help ensure your car runs as smoothly as possible when a potential buyer takes it for a spin.
  • Document the inspection. Ask your mechanic to provide proof of the inspection and to detail all findings on the vehicle. If your mechanic has records of previous repairs and maintenance on the car, collect those as well. Providing documentation is a great way to help buyers feel confident about used cars.

Make No Emissions Omissions

Some states require the seller to provide an updated emissions test before transferring a car title to the new owner.

Review your state’s emissions testing rules and regulations or consult with your local motor vehicle agency to determine what steps you need to take before putting that “car for sale” sign in the window.

Make Your Used Car Look Like New: It’s All in the Details

To help your used car shine, get it detailed. After a thorough detail, your car will look its best and may even garner a higher selling price. You might hire anyone from a high schooler eager to make some summer money to a professional detailing service. Some auto sales businesses also offer vehicle detailing.

Can’t afford an auto detail? Then roll up your sleeves and clean your car the old-fashioned way. If you’re cleaning the car yourself, be sure to address every aspect of your car’s appearance:

  • Remove all your personal items and any trash.
  • Clean the upholstery and remove any stains.
  • Wash the windows, inside and out.
  • Use an air freshener so your used car smells as good as new.
  • Wash the exterior thoroughly.

These preparations might seem like a lot of work to get rid of your ride, but these simple tips could make a world of difference. If you want to sell your car in a jiffy and for a higher price, take some time to get your used car in ship-shape.

What’s your experience with selling a car? Share your stories and your tips in the comments section below.

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About Kat Saks

Kat Saks is a Denver-based writer and yoga teacher. She is also Firefly Partners' Client Solutions Manager. She blogs for and shouts safe-driving tips to teens while driving the city streets. More articles by Kat Saks

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