The 6 Top Ways To Prepare Your Car Before Selling It Yourself

If you're going through the trouble of selling you own car, spend a little money on it and take the time to fix it up first. First impressions count, so the way your car looks is as important as how well it runs. Potential buyers will also view you as a responsible car owner when you sell a car that looks and runs as if it just came out of the new car showroom. Here are the points to focus on to get your car in shape before listing it for sale.

1. Exterior Cleaning

  • Take the car to an auto body repair shop for any dent repair. Minor dents can be popped out without disturbing the paint finish.
  • Remove any rust on the paint surface and touch up the paint if needed. Remove rust on chrome pieces and polish.
  • Clean all of the light covers. Scrub the headlights with a little toothpaste and water if foggy.
  • Scrub and polish chrome wheels or hubcap covers.
  • Power wash the tires and use tire black for that new tire look. If your tires are old and nearly ready to be replaced, put on a set of good used tires for a better look.

2. Interior Cleaning

  • Steam clean the upholstery and headliner.
  • If there are any tears in the upholstery, consider patching them before listing the car.
  • Shampoo the carpets and clean or replace the floor mats.
  • If people smoked in this car, use a spray that neutralizes the smell on all of the interior surfaces.
  • Wipe the dash and interior door panels with a leather or vinyl conditioner. Use a sealer after the conditioner that prevents dust accumulation.

3. Engine Cleaning

  • Steam clean the engine and remove any heavy grease and oil spots.
  • Clean the area under the engine hood and replace the insulation material if it is torn or missing.

4. Trunk Cleaning

  • Take everything out of the trunk that won't be sold with the car.
  • Shampoo any carpet in the trunk. Replace any vinyl trunk liners and pads.
  • Remove the spare tire and tools, clean, replace and secure them in their proper compartments.

5. Glass Repairs

  • Replace any interior or exterior mirrors that are cracked or fogged.
  • Reattach the interior rear view mirror to the windshield if loose.
  • Repair any rock chips in the forward windshield.
  • If you have a crack in the windshield, look for an affordable replacement because this will impact your asking price for the car.

6. Engine Tune-up

  • Have the oil changed and all of the fluids topped off.
  • Do a simple tune-up with new spark plugs and spark plug wires.
  • Have your battery tested by an auto repair shop to see how much life is left in it. Replace it if it is on the verge of failing.

Your potential buyers want to know that they are buying from an honest person that cared for the car. The time and money you invest in preparing your car to sell can translate into a higher selling price to a buyer who trusts that they are getting a good car, and a good deal.

For more information, contact Lou's Auto Body or a similar company.


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