Selling your car is no easy task, but you don’t want to rush into the first offer you get. Follow these four easy steps to increase your car’s resale value. Then use your hard-earned cash to make a bigger down payment on your next car! Ready to drive?
4 Simple Steps to Increase Your Car’s Value
1. Invest in easy repairs
Minor fixes can seriously increase the resale value of your car. Why? Because used car shoppers are looking for two things: a great deal and a reliable ride. A problem as small as a broken tail light could cause them to worry that there’s something much bigger going on, like an electrical issue. Don’t give them a reason to walk away. Give them peace of mind right out of the gate by taking care of minor fixes, like:
- Illuminated dashboard lights
- Cracked windshield
- Broken windshield wipers
- Low windshield wiper fluid
- Low coolant
- Broken interior/exterior light bulbs
- Squeaky brakes
- Overdue oil change
- Small dents, dings and scratches
- Flat or leaking tire
- Noticeably weak car battery
“The value of a ‘mid-range’ car can be increased by $2,000 or more when selling it privately by just sprucing it up and making minor, easy repairs,” says Lauren Fix, an auto care expert for the Car Care Council.
Whatever you do, keep the receipts and records for any service performed. Being able to brag about new brake pads, tires, or windshield wipers can help you close the deal faster, and for more money.
2. Take care of open recalls
More than 47 million vehicles that people are driving, buying, or selling in the U.S. have at least one unfixed safety recall, reports CarFax. Your car could be one of them and you don’t even know it!
Taking care of open vehicle recalls is free and can set you apart from other people selling used cars, especially used car dealers. That’s because there are no federal laws banning dealers from selling used cars with safety recalls that have not been addressed.
Enter your VIN on SaferCar.gov to see if there are any open safety recalls for your vehicle. Recall repairs are free and covered by the car’s manufacturer at no charge, regardless of whether or not you bought the vehicle new. While it’s certainly not required to fix an open recall in order to sell a used car, it shows a potential buyer that you care and it may increase your car’s resale value more than you know.
3. Clean it inside and out
First impressions matter, especially when you’re trying to sell a used car. Don’t scare off a potential buyer with strange smells, fast food bags, or stained upholstery. A little cleaning can go a long way in increasing your car’s resale value! By how much?
“You could probably negotiate an extra $300 to $500 if it’s properly cleaned,” says Alec Gutierrez of Kelly Blue Book.
At a minimum, you’ll want to:
- Wax on, wax off: Refresh a faded paint job with a good wax and polish.
- Shine headlight covers: Many used cars have dingy plastic headlight covers. Make your headlight covers bright and shiny with a special headlight cleaning product.
- Shine the wheels: Clean the dirt, dust, and grime out of your wheel rims. Apply a tire shine spray to the tire sidewalls to make your wheels look luxurious and new!
- Wash the floor mats: If you can, shampoo the floor mats to get rid of any stains or smells. If you’re questioning their condition, you may be better off replacing them. A new 4-piece set on Amazon costs around $50.
- Clean the interior: Vacuum every nook and cranny, clean the glass, and clean the fabric/leather. Pay special attention to the area around the driver’s seat, as this is where your potential buyer will get a feel for your ride!
4. Prep your paperwork
A long track record of regular services can seal the deal with a potential buyer and increase the overall value of your car.
If you don’t have one already, put together a folder of your car’s maintenance records. Can’t find them? Call your mechanic or the various auto repair shops you’ve visited. There’s a good chance they have your service records on file.
“Besides providing evidence, an orderly folder packed with repair and maintenance records shows you really cared about your car and that’s what a potential owner wants to know,” says CNN.
You can also print out a free vehicle history report on CarFax. Potential buyers will probably do the same, so why not save them a step? This report contains information about the vehicle’s registration, odometer readings, total loss accident history, recall information, vehicle usage, and whether there’s ever been any frame/structural damage.
Sell your used car!
Keep in mind that there’s only so much you can increase your car’s value. Some factors are out of your control, like the used car market in your city, the vehicle’s mileage, the time of year, etc. Run your make, model, and zip code through TrueCar to get an idea of how much similar cars are selling for in your area. Then get your ride ready to sell and start preparing to buy your new car! After all that hard work, you certainly deserve it. Apply through myAutoloan and compare up to four auto loans in minutes.