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Ways to Increase the Value of Your Used Car Before Selling it

If you happen to have just bought a new car there are things you can do to ensure you get top dollars for it when it is time to sell or trade for a newer model. Unfortunately, vehicles are just like humans in that they tend to deteriorate with age, but there are steps you can take to ensure it will still fetch a good price in the used car marketplace.

Before I get to the things you need to do to get the most money for your automobile, the process will be seamless if you’ve kept a detailed record of maintenance steps over the years. The last time I bought a BMW X5 SUV the maintenance record presented by the seller contributed mightily to my decision to buy it.

So for those of you just getting a new car keep that little fact in mind. Now, let’s get to the things you need to do to your present automobile so that you can get the most value in the open used car market.

Steps for Getting the Most Value for Your Used Car

1 – Check the Tires

The first thing you need to do is take a closer look at the condition of your tires. Prospective buyers will assume you treated the car bad if any of your tires look worn out. There are many ways to make the tires look like new, but I would suggest you consider getting fairly used or new ones to make it look legit.

2 – Check the Brakes

Most of the buyers that would come knocking to inspect your used car will like to take a ride in it. Your braking system is crucial if you want to make the right impression, so take the time to make sure it performs just the way it is supposed to.

3 – Wheel Alignment

Another crucial element of any car is the wheel alignment, which is what makes the car move straight or wobble to the left or right. The last thing you want is for your car to pull to the left or right during the test drive.

4 – Oil Change

At a minimum, most of the used car buyers might get curious and take a look at the condition of your engine oil using the dip stick. A complete oil change would solve this problem pronto!

5 – Consider a Complete Engine Tune Up

A complete engine tune up can help your car appear to be in tip top mechanical shape. An engine tune up will involve more than just changing the spark plugs, but it will improve the start ratio and give more power to the engine once on the road. You should consider the advantages offered by engine tune-up especially if you neglected routine maintenance over the years.

6 – Check all the Lights

The next thing you want to do before showing your car to prospective buyers is to ensure all the lights are working properly. Not only should your headlights be bright the signal lights should also be functioning as it is designed to. There are many ways to clean out foggy headlights, and the Sylvania headlight restoration kit can help make them look like new, again.

7 – Make Sure all the Instruments Work

That faulty radio to you might be a small problem, but to the average used car buyer, it might be just the tip of a potential car defect. If you want top dollars for your used car make sure all the instruments work properly, before trying to sell it. Worn out wiper blades will depreciate the value of your car in the eyes of the buyer.

The air conditioning system should blow cold air once it is turned on. I once refused to buy a nice used car because it blew hot air when I turned the air condition on, despite the plea from the owner that all it needed was some Freon to make it work the right way.

If you have a sound system inside your car, check to make sure it is working properly before the buyer arrives. When it comes to getting the most money for your used car it is the little things that are the most profound things, especially when it comes to determining the value that it should be sold for.

8 – Clean the Car

This is probably the most important step that will help determine the value of your used car. We, humans, are visual whether we like to agree or not. Most people tend to make a judgment based on what they can see. A guy driving a BMW will have most ladies convinced he got some money, while the guy riding a bus to work might be richer in both cash and personal properties.

The used car buyers that will come knocking on your door will probably first inspect the interior and exterior of your vehicle before getting to the engine. Again, the condition of your vehicle’s interior and exterior will determine what type of auto detailing work is needed.

The first step is to thoroughly clean out the interior space of your car by removing all personal properties from it. A good auto detailing shop will be able to make the inside space of your car look like new. The exterior should be buffed and waxed to restore that shiny look to the paint.

9 – Check Your Mileage and Title

Before listing your used car for sale you should take a closer look at the title to ensure no lien holder is listed especially if your auto loan is paid in full. If the car is paid in full and still have a lien holder on the title you should get it removed from your nearby motor vehicle office before listing it for sale.


Some buyers might not believe the car is fully paid for even if you have a lien release letter from the lender. In this digital age, almost anything can be forged. Know your car’s mileage rather than guessing. If it looks well maintained the high mileage can be explained away.

If your car was ever involved in an accident, get yourself the vehicle history report or commonly known as Carfax report. Having the right paperwork showing what type of body work was done will go a long way towards establishing your credibility with the prospective buyer.

Bottom Line

The steps listed above can help increase the value of your used car if applied diligently. Ensure your title is free and clear of any lien holder before listing it for sale. Even if you still owe money on it, find out beforehand the remaining balance and where to wire the funds, once it is sold to a serious buyer.

The interior and exterior look of your vehicle should not be forgotten, for both can contribute mightily to the perceived value from prospective buyers. Lastly, the look of the tires and the sound of the engine play a significant role in how quickly you will find a willing buyer for your used car. Make sure all the instruments are all in working order that is if you want to sell your vehicle for top dollars!