Tips to Get the Most Money For Your Car
We buy and sell cars for a living and today we share our top tips for getting the most money when it comes time to sell your car.
First, we will start with some the easiest ways to increase the value of your used vehicle like washing and detailing the interior, preparing documents and taking great pictures. We will also show tips regarding what car repairs are the most important when it comes to generating maximum value. In the end you will be amazed at how a little work can net you a large payday for your vehicle.
Always remember to think like a buyer when preparing your vehicle for sale.
Wash The Car
It goes without saying that washing your car the first and most important step to making your vehicle look its best for sale. Take your time and do an amazing job. After all it’s all about getting the most cash for your car! For higher end vehicles you may even consider a professional detailing.
Make your car absolutely shine! Give the vehicles exterior a thorough wash, preferably using a soap designed for washing cars. Make sure you get the inside of the doors too. Apply a coat of wax once the initial wash is complete to get the best results for your cars paint. A beautiful exterior is one of the most important factors in determining the value of your vehicle.
- Car wax – Apply a coat of wax to properly finish the job.
- Remove tar – Make sure any tar is removed from around the wheel areas.
- Engine compartment – Clean up the engine compartment. Remove any debris from vents and dust. A proper engine shampoo is a really nice added touch.
- Door and window seals – The devil is in the details. We look for clean door and window seals. Make sure any greenish algae looking colour is cleaned off using a toothbrush and water/ammonia mixture.
- Rims and tires – Don’t forget about the wheels. Well cleaned rims and tires shows an attention to detail that we as buyers always look for. Use a professional tire polish to make those tires shine.
A clean interior is just as important to us as a clean exterior. After all when it’s super clean it means we don’t have to spend money or time ourselves to clean it. This allows us to offer you more money for the vehicle. The small details matter. We also recommend that if you don’t have a time or patience to have the interior detailed by a professional.
- Vacuum – Vacuum the entire vehicle and don’t forget under the seats.
- Seats – If you have fabric seats give them a wash using a light soap and water mixture. If you have leather seats wash them and apply a leather conditioner for maximum visual effect.
- Windows – Clean your windshield and other windows using a glass cleaner.
Take Great Pictures
Taking great pictures of your vehicle sounds easy, but there are several mistakes we see all the time. The biggest mistakes are poor lighting and not highlighting signs of damage. When buyers come to see your car and find damage they were not prepared for the value drops greatly. Here is an article on taking great pictures of your car for putting it up for sale.
- Good lighting – For a large object like a car or truck the best lighting is usually achieved outside on a bright day.
- Background – Keep the background as simple and clear of any clutter as possible.
- Angles – Take shots from all angles and capture your vehicles most flattering angles.
- Interior and exterior shots – Take pictures of both the interior and exterior of the vehicle.
Prepare All The Documentation
The are a lot of documents you can gather to help increase the value of your car. These include service records, CarFax reports and manuals.
Vehicle Service Records
We are not psychics, so there is nothing we like to see more than well kept service records. This helps us to fully understand the value of a car and increases the amount we are prepared to pay for it.
CarFax History Report
A CarFax history report helps us access whether the vehicle has been in any accidents. It is important to let a prospective buyer know that the vehicle has not been in any accidents if that is the truth.
Hopefully you have saved all the manuals that go with the vehicle too. Having these can help increase the overall value of your car.
Mechanical Work and Repairs
This is always the most difficult decision when preparing your car for sale. Sometimes the cost of repairing certain larger mechanical problems or areas body damage may not be worth it. However, repairing some of the smaller but important issues is almost always a good idea.
Complete Easy Mechanical Work
At the very least make sure that all your fluids have been topped up, tire pressure adjusted and the oil is clean. Have a mechanic put in a new air filter. We check for all of these things before we make an offer. Other areas to consider are the brakes and any hoses or belts that might be looking frayed.
We are always listening when we examine and test drive a car before putting in an offer. The number one culprit is door hinges. Put a little bit of oil on them so they don’t squeak when we open them.
Fix Warning Lights on Dashboard
There is nothing we hate more to see then a vehicle with a check engine light or other warning lights on the dashboard. If they can be easily fixed we recommend to do so before trying to sell the vehicle.
Fix Body Dents and Scratches
This can be a difficult decision. Sometimes dents and small scratches can be fixed very easily. Sometimes not so much. Taking your car to a trusted body shop or auto detailing shop might give you the answers to these questions. Make sure you tell them you are considering selling the vehicle and you may even get a break on the price.
There are also lots of little tricks to making your vehicle’s paint look its best like a cut polish or having professional wax applied. These can be very cost effective ways to add more value to your vehicle.
Know the Approximate Value of Your Vehicle
It is important to understand the value of your own vehicle. We recommend checking the Kelley Blue Book value, craigslist, autotrader, local newspapers and advice from mechanics.
Time of the Year
Choose the best time of the year to sell your car or truck. The winter months can be the best time to sell a truck or 4WD vehicle while demand is high. Sport models, convertibles and compacts command higher prices in the spring and summer. Keep in mind that the longer you wait, particularly with newer models the faster the value of your vehicle can decrease.
Put A Sign on Your Car
Professional car buyers like us are everywhere and we are always looking to make deals. We have purchased many cars and trucks simply because the owner has a sign on his or her car.
The Smell Does Matter
You may not think much about the smell of your vehicle but it does matter when it comes to selling. Try using a lightly scented car freshener to bring the smell up to snuff.
Keep Under Certain Milestones
There are some milestones that you may want to consider staying under before you sell your car. If for example you should consider selling your vehicle before it reaches those 100,000km or 200,000km milestones.
Final Thoughts to Get The Most Money For Your Car
We hope that you have enjoyed reading our pro tips on preparing your vehicle for sale in order to maximize the value of your car. Spend the most time cleaning the interior and exterior, have those documents ready and fix those minor mechanical issues will be your best options for success. If you have any questions about preparing your vehicle for sale or want a quote on what your car might be worth feel free to contact us at your convenience.