Prepping Your Car For Sale
Use our 15-point checklist to help you get your old car ready for sale.
Appearance: Little things that can make a big difference to buyers!
- Have your car professionally detailed. A sparkling clean vehicle could result in a higher sales price.
- Replace worn car mats, clean and repair any damage to the interior upholstery, and repair faded or worn paint areas, chips or scratches.
- Fix cracks, pits, holes or scratches in the windshield and windows before sale. (New glass can improve the value of your car.)
Maintenance: Inexpensive repairs that can help with the resale value.
- Change the oil and top off windshield wiper fluid, coolant, gas, etc.
- Replace burnt fuses and light bulbs, and install new wiper blades.
- Evaluate the tires to ensure at least 1/16th of an inch of tread—the minimum amount allowed by law.
CarSoup.com tip: Try the “penny test”: Slip a penny into the tread groove with Lincoln’s face showing upside down. If you’re able to see all of the president’s head, time to replace the tire!
Testing 1-2-3-4: Would you buy your used car?
- Do your own test drive as though you were buying the car. Accelerate, brake, shift through all the gears-does everything work properly? Have someone ride in the back and alert you to any odd sounds or problems.
- Ensure the instrument panel and dashboard controls are in working order.
- Test all the seats and seat belts. Seats should move forward and back and adjust to their full extent, and seatbelts should extend and retract correctly.
- Make sure the doors, windows and locks work properly before showing your car to prospective buyers.
Major Repairs: Use your judgment! While some repairs can make your vehicle more appealing, they may not add enough value for you to recoup the cost.
- Look for other tire issues. If there’s excessive wear on the outer edges or in the center of the tread, cupping or dipping of certain tread sections, bring your car to a dealership to check for over-inflation, wheel misalignment or suspension problem.
- Identify and address any unusual noises, such as whistling or ticking sounds, popping or rumbling noises, pinging, knocking or backfiring.
- Look at the exhaust. If it’s dark gray or black, your car may just need a tune-up. Blue or blue-white smoke could mean it’s burning oil.
- Check for any drips or leaks under the car, then look under the hood for signs of leaks around the engine seams and hose connectors.
Log on to CarSoup.com to determine your car’s value and create a listing to reach car buyers in your city, state or across the country.