How to prepare your car for sale: 3 steps to follow

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Whether you’re trying to sell your vehicle do a car dealer, trade it, or sell it privately, you will need to make sure it is ready for sale. This means that you will have to clean it up, inspect it with a mechanic, take some photos and… Selling a car is not a trivial matter. It actually requires a lot of hard work. And yet, it quite within your grasp. We will show you how.

Inspecting your car

Before you even try to sell your vehicle, take it to a mechanic for a thorough inspection. There are three reasons for doing this. First, chances are good that a purchaser will want to get the vehicle inspected by a trusted mechanic. If you decide to send the car to an inspection first and talk about the findings, you’ll be honest and upfront. That can instill trust and confidence in the buyer.

Second, you may find out that your car needs repairs that cost twice as much as its selling price, in which case, it’s not worth as much as you thought. Donating or trading it would save you quite a bit of trouble. Although, sometimes it’s worth trying a site like Autovolo (they have a sell my car service) to see if there is any interest in your particular vehicle.

Ultimately, if a purchaser does choose to take the vehicle to be inspected by their mechanic, their list of recommended repairs may be different – and that can even be to your benefit during those perilous moments of final negotiations.

Cleaning your vehicle

Since your car is going to be compared to many similar vehicles, a quick washing before you show it simply won’t work. You will need to make sure it is super clean and well maintained, both inside and out. You can either take your vehicle to a professional detailer and have it thoroughly detailed, which costs a couple of hundred dollars, or roll up the sleeves and prepare for a day of TLC and elbow grease:

  • To begin, get all the debris out – cups, toys, crayons, sports equipment, backpacks. Ensure that the ashtrays are emptied and vacuum them if needed.
  • Then, completely vacuum the seats and the floors, both back, and front side. Also, vacuum under and around floor mats if you have them. If they look grungy, wash them with carpet shampoo, or find new ones.
  • Ultimately, wash all windows until they shine, and remove any bugs or tar. Now is the time to wash and wax the car.

Take photos

Take a good set of photos of your now clean car. Take care to keep the background simple, and take shots – or video, if possible – of both the interior and exterior from flattering angles. And don’t just take one shot of the exterior, take different angles, inside the trunk compartment, under the hood, the wheels.

Try to think about what would a buyer want to see, and then show them. Highlight the bad along with the good so that potential purchasers don’t discover any surprises when they see your vehicle in person.

Although some of these tasks require several hours and some upfront investment, when the selling comes, they will repay themselves many times over. In the end, remember to protect yourself after selling your car.