You’ve had your eye on a new car for a while now. And now that you’ve finalized the purchase, it’s time to think about selling your old car.
Of course, you can trade it in. It’s fast and convenient. But you’ll get fewer dollars, and you know your car is worth a lot more.
Why not sell it yourself? Yet before you list it for sale, we have a few car maintenance tips for you to follow to ensure you get top dollar.
Why car maintenance is important before you sell your car
People sell cars for all kinds of reasons:
- High mileage
- Want the latest tech gadgets and features
- Need another car in the family
- Want better safety features
- Tired of making repairs
For whatever reason you’re purchasing a new car, the buyer who settles on your car will have similar motivations.
You may be tired of your car, but to the purchaser, your vehicle will be new to them. Which means they will be looking at it through the eyes of a new car owner.
They want a reliable car. They want one that will serve them well in the months to come.
And if glaring car maintenance items are visible while they are considering a purchase, they will be reasons to turn away from your vehicle.
If you want to sell your car quickly, a little car maintenance first will allow you to present it in its best light.
How to prepare your car to sell
Start by taking a good look at your car, inside and out. Look at it through the eyes of a buyer. What would you be looking for if you were purchasing this car?
This is the time for a bit of detail work. Remove everything from the inside. Don’t forget to look underneath the seats, in the glove box, and in any middle compartments between the seats.
Vacuum out the crumbs and dust bunnies. You can spot clean seats if you can easily remove stains and other marks.
Take a minute to wash the windows inside, removing any film. This will leave them sparkling and easy to see out of.
They pay equal attention to the outside of the car. A thorough washing means ensuring tires and wheels are clean, and headlamps and tail lights shine.
As you move through your car front to back, note any noticeable repairs. While you might not want to put more money into the vehicle, a potential buyer will notice it too. It’ll impact the asking price, and how many offers you receive for purchase.
Some of the top car maintenance items you should focus on to ensure your vehicle is in good working condition include:
Before you place a “for sale” sign in your car’s window, bring it in for an oil change first. Save the receipt, which can be a bonus for the new owner. They will appreciate that it’s one less maintenance item they’ll have to perform as they drive it for the first few weeks, and it’s a relatively inexpensive way to show potential buyers that you’ve cared for your vehicle as long as you’ve owned it. Have a logbook of previous oil changes? All the better. It’s a great sign of caring for your vehicle.
Tires are one of the most visible parts. Tires are also one of the easiest to spot check, noticing if they aren’t in good shape. If you notice bald spots and uneven wear marks, your potential buyer will too. While the thought of purchasing new tires may seem counterintuitive, it will be reflected in how much you can price your vehicle at, as well as how easy it will be to sell.
While safety is key to driving any vehicle, it’s often the little details that sell a car. That’s why people often turn to “color” as the deciding factor. Accessories are no different. When a potential buyer slides behind the wheel, they naturally tend to turn up the radio and push a few buttons, tap the power windows and watch them go up and down, and even flip the windshield wipers on to ensure they work. If you’ve put off fixing little problems that have been more of an annoyance than about vehicle safety, now is the time to get the items fixed.
Turn your lights on and notice how bright or dim they are. Tap on the brake pedal and ensure your tail lights are working. How about the turn signals? Do the lights blink on and off? These safety items are easy to check and even easier to fix. You can do it with just a few lightbulbs. Have a few extras? Tuck them into the glove compartment. Simple little “extras” can go a long way in the mind of a buyer.
Worn brake pads are never a good idea, especially if you’re trying to sell a car. When you tap on the brake pedal, do the brakes let out a high-pitched screech? That’s a sign your car needs new brake pads. You can’t hide the sound. It only gets worse over time. If you hear it now and you plan on selling your car in the future, get the brake pads replaced sooner rather than later.
Consider a pre-sale inspection
Any time you purchase a used vehicle, it can be a bit unnerving to wonder about the quality of the car. Will there be hidden issues that only materialize after the sale is completed?
One way to give a new buyer more assurance is to perform a pre-sale inspection. Instead of waiting for a potential buyer to ask about having a mechanic check out the car, take the initiative and do it yourself.
This allows a qualified mechanic to inspect the vehicle and provide notes as to what may potentially need replacing in the near future.
This gives you a chance to make the repairs first, and present the receipts to the buyer for added assurance.
Planning on selling a car soon?
Before you stick the “for sale” sign in the window, using these car maintenance tips as a checklist will ensure your car looks and runs its best before the first potential buyer takes a look.
How can we help you get your used car ready for sale?