Get The Most Money When Selling Your Car, Advice From An Auto Mechanic

Selling a car

It’s Friday! I hope you all had a great week! Today I wanted to give everyone some pointers for selling a car.

For most of us the day will come when we want a new car. When that day comes we have a few choices for dealing with the old car.

  • Trade it in to the place we buy our new car
  • Sell it to a private party
  • Pass it down to a friend or family member
  • Donate to a charity for a tax right off
  • Give it to Charles for the Humble Mechanic site 😉

I really want to talk about the selling it to a private party. When you trade your car in at a dealer, they are not as concerned about how clean it is. They can look beyond the dirt and evaluate the car. With in reason that is. So let’s get into some ways to get the most money when selling your car.

Up To Date On Common Maintenance
Having the basic maintenance up to date is an easy way to stand out. Things like

  • Oil and filter changed
  • Air filter
  • New wiper blades
  • Tire pressure set properly
  • Battery tested (replaced if needed)
  • All the fluids topped off

Other than the battery, the rest is REALLY cheap. I would also recommend keeping all the receipts for any maintenance and repairs you do. Now, that does not mean I will spend $3,000 getting maintenance done if it would not translate to selling the car for $3,000 more. That is silly!

Push Some Buttons
If you are like me, you might use all the features of your car. I can’t tell you the last time that I locked the doors from the button on the rear door. Or plugged something into the 12v outlet in the back. Take a few minutes to push every switch and button in your car. I am not suggesting that you fix everything, but telling people something is wrong is much easier than stumbling for an answer when they find a problem. Good luck convincing them “you didn’t know”.

Enlist A Friend
You are in your car all the time. Because of that, your car might have issues that you don’t see anymore. It could be a small scratch that has been there for years, or that little chip in the windshield. Grab a friend and have them look at your car as if they were going to buy it.

Make It Not Belong To You
Just like when you are selling your house, you don’t want the buyer feeling like it is your car. You want them to think it is theirs! So take all your stuff out, and get ride of that thingy hanging from your rear view mirror.

Get It Clean
This should be a no brainer! Get your car as clean as it will get. If you are not a fan of washing cars, take it somewhere and get it cleaned. Spending $100 getting your car cleaned by the pros will be worth it. I have shopped for a lot of cars in my day. There is not much worse than looking at a car and it being completely nasty. Even if you are selling a cheap car, run it through the wash!

Other Great Tips
Here are a few other things that you can do to help you sell your car faster and for more money

  • Make sure all your lights work both inside and out
  • Make sure you have a spare tires and the car’s tool kit
  • Be open to having your car inspected by a mechanic
  • Use pricing guides like Kelly Blue Book and Edmond’s to help set a price

I hope that you guys can use things if you ever have to sell a car. Do you guy have any other tips that we can add? I want to put together a checklist type document for folks to download and use! What do ya got.

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Enjoy the weekend everyone, try and stay cool!

3 replies
  1. Ken
    Ken says:

    Kind of goes without saying I think but.. Check all the car sites to make sure you know a fair value for your car. kmm, nada, edmunds, & I even pay attention to something like autotrader to see what is selling at what price and what is just hanging out on the site. Knowledge is a good thing.

    • Charles
      Charles says:

      I totally agree Ken. I find that using all of the to formulate a price is the key. When I worked for Carmax I found that KBB was pretty close to true value.

      Also checking with a dealer to see the price they would sell it for. That just give you a good target. Great advice!


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