How to Prep Your Car for Sale

Get your car ready to sell fast with some tips to get it out of the driveway and into a new home.

How to Prep Your Car for Sale

Gone are the days of selling a car with a handshake and a wad of cash. Times have changed and while it’s a bit more complicated passing keys on to the next owner, it’s been for the better. Online resources like Carfax allow for a more relaxed, knowledgeable and scrupulous buying process. However, there are some things we think will help your car, truck or SUV sell faster and make the undertaking as painless and stress free as possible.

Take Decent Photos

Photographs often tell a story without saying a word, and selling something is no exception. Photos are the first and most lasting thing a person will see who’s looking to buy a car. How many times have you glanced over an Instagram photo because it lacked an interesting look, but liked something that had obvious signs of preparation and care? More than not, most likely. You don’t have to be Karl Lagerfeld to win someone over, but give it a try. Take the car out for once last spirited photo session to give it some life and honest-to-goodness charm.

Clean It Thoroughly

You would be surprised how many people don’t take the time to properly clean their car before selling. We’re not just talking about a quick vacuum and ‘New Car Scent’ air freshener, you need to get in the crevices and take a fine-tooth comb to every inch of the car. While you can mask the stench and grime with a few photos, upon inspection a filthy interior can make or break a sale based on that initial feel. It says to a future owner “I was meticulous in maintaining this road warrior.” Make it a point to have an exceptionally clean car and guaranteed you’ll get rid of your jalopy in no time.

Be Knowledgeable About Your Car

There are bound to be a lot of questions about the car you’re selling aside from the obvious maintenance history that you’ve performed over the course of ownership. If you don’t already know much about your car, do some research, which will not only be able to provide you with knowledgeable fun facts, but give more reasons why this particular car is worthy of sale to the next person.

Erase Personal Data

If you’re selling a new car—or maybe one with newer peripherals added on—it’s a good idea to get rid of any sensitive data that may be on the internal memory/hard-drive/etc. Often times, addresses, phonebooks and other personal information can be synced onto the electronic devices in your car. And while there’s most likely nothing malicious ever going to come from it, having the piece of mind that everything is erased from your car will help you sleep at night after the sale.

Selling Tips
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Set A Limit For You Lowest Acceptable Offer

If you can go into the sale knowing exactly what you’re comfortable releasing the car for, and how much “wiggle room” you have in you, getting caught off guard is less likely to happen. Do your research on multiple sites to see averages for the automobile in question and factor that into your decision-making. This is important because while you want to be polite and honest when selling a car, having a stern, set price limit will keep both parties on level ground.

Be Honest

We all want to get the most money for our stuff, but that doesn’t mean you should fabricate the truth in order to get a leg (or a few dollars) ahead. If the motor burns a bit of oil—maybe it’s a symptom of the motor from the factory or maybe it’s old age—tell the prospective buyer. Not only will you get on the same page as the potential buyer, but you’ll open a friendly dialogue and leave nothing to come back to haunt you.

Michael CrenshawMichael Crenshaw

Currently the full-time Editorial Director and Content Manager for RxSpeed.com, & contributing writer for Scout.com. He also loves photography, videography, his Shiba Inu Mia and driving sports cars.