You have an old or superfluous vehicle sitting in your garage, and you’d like to trade it for some cash. However, if you want to receive the ultimate return on that vehicle, you have to make sure it runs smoothly and looks striking before you put it on the market.
We’ve given you a few pointers below to help you start.
1. Find service records, warranties, owners’ manuals, titles, and other documents.
Your buyers need documentation in case something goes wrong with the car. For example, service records show what repairs you’v already done on the car and from whom you received them. If those repairs fail later, your buyers can take the vehicle back to the same mechanic to take advantage of any labor or parts warranties.
You should also give buyers documentation of any manufacturer or dealer warranties that haven’t expired. Warranties show buyers that they’ve received a great deal on their new vehicle.
Additionally, you’ll need owners’ manuals, titles, bills of sale, and other documents to help the sale goes smoothly.
2. Prepare a bill of sale with all your information.
The bill of sale ensures that you receive payment for your vehicle. It also ensures that the title transfers without a hitch. As you prepare this bill, include information like your name, address, and phone number. Add your car’s vehicle identification number (VIN), model, make, and year as well.
However, do not fill in the mileage section yet-unless you know you won’t drive the vehicle until after the sale. But if you will drive your vehicle, leave the mileage section blank and fill it in once you’ve completed the sale.
3. Get an appraisal.
If you would like to know your car’s ballpark asking price before putting it on the market, go to an expert for an appraisal. Websites, dealerships, and even pawn shops can help you appraise your vehicle. And if you plan to sell your vehicle to a company that buys used cars, that company can usually appraise it on the spot. However, give your vehicle a preliminary appraisal using Kelly Blue Book or other websites so you receive a fair offer.
4. Sell your vehicle at the right time.
Nobody wants to spend hours looking at used cars in wet or cold weather. For that reason, you should sell your vehicle during the summer, late spring, or early fall. These times feature warm, sunny weather, so you’ll keep your car cleaner, and you’ll have happier buyers. Gas prices also rise during this time, so if you have a compact, electric, hybrid, or otherwise fuel-efficient vehicle, it will sell quickly.
5. Replace the tires.
If your car doesn’t look attractive or run smoothly, it doesn’t matter when you sell it or what documentation you provide. Make you r vehicle more attractive to prospective buyers by replacing the tires. New tires increase the vehicle’s fuel efficiency and safety.
6. Repair dents, scratches, chips, and cracks.
As you boost your vehicle’s appearance, don’t forget to update its paint and windows. Buyers like a smooth, streamlined chassis and solid, gleaming windows. If rock chips or scratches ruin this aesthetic, take your car in for repairs.
7. Make sure lights work.
In many states, traffic police pull over people if their car lights don’t work. You don’t want your car to inconvenience anyone, especially in this way. Have a mechanic look at your lights and replace any blown-out bulbs as needed.
8. Tune the brakes.
Buyers appreciate safe vehicles, and safe vehicles have dependable brakes. Your car’s service records should show that you recently updated brake pads and other necessary components.
9. Top off fluids.
When you replenish the fluids in your vehicle, buyers see that as a gesture of goodwill. So give your car an oil change, replace the wiper fluid and antifreeze, and leave gas in the tank.
10. Clean and polish the exterior.
Clean cars look newer and more dependable than dirty cars, so buyers will often pay more for them. Wash your car’s exterior from top to bottom, and scrub every nook and cranny, even the detailing in the hubcaps. Once you’ve cleaned and dried your car, wax it for extra shine.
11. Clean and polish the interior.
Buyers don’t want to pay as much for cars covered in crumbs and stains. Remove any toys, cups, trash, and other items, and vacuum every inch of your car’s interior. Once you’ve vacuumed, take your car in to have the flooring and upholstery professionally cleaned. Dust the interior’s hard surfaces before buyers arrive.
12. Check the glove compartment, trunk, seat cushions, etc. for any debris.
People often shove things into glove compartments, seat cushions, and other hiding places without realizing it. Check every compartment and cushion in your car for wrappers and other items.
When your car looks attractive, runs well, and includes the necessary documentation, it often sells higher than it would otherwise. Use the tips above to make your car pristine and desirable before you sell it.