How to Get the Most Money When Selling Your Car

Considering a vehicle typically depreciates in value over time, setting yourself up to maximize the return when deciding to sell your car or truck is especially important. This article does not cover how to sell a junk car which is a completely different process.

There are a number of factors that can help you get the most money possible for a car of your make, model and year when you do decide to part ways with your vehicle. 

Naturally, many of these are steps that are best taken throughout the life cycle of your ownership of the vehicle. However, there are also additional details worth paying mind to during the final preparations prior to listing your car or truck for sale that can make a notable impact on how much of a return you can get.

First, let’s examine some ongoing tasks that can maximize both the benefits you get from your vehicle while it’s in your possession and the amount of money you can generate when you decide to place it on the market.

Perform all pertinent mechanical maintenance 

Naturally, one of the most important “closers” of a potential vehicle sale is the test drive. The experience a potential purchaser has when taking your car or truck out for a spin as part of the decision-making process is critical toward the chances of a deal being consummated.

The path to a worry-free test drive experience from the seller’s experience is clear: Ensure that while the vehicle is under your ownership, the following pertinent maintenance tasks are performed at recommended intervals:

  • Oil and filter change
  • Intermittent monitoring and topping off, as necessary, of brake fluid, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, coolant and windshield wiper fluids
  • Brake pad and drum replacement as needed
  • Spark plug replacement
  • Tire air pressure checks and alignment
  • Maintenance and repairs of suspension system as necessary

Maintain your vehicle’s exterior and interior appearance

Arguably just as important as maintaining your car in tip-top condition mechanically is keeping it aesthetically pleasing as well. After all, as the old adage goes, there’s never a second chance to make a first impression.

The opinion that your prospective buyer forms of your vehicle at first glance can be a blessing or a curse with respect to your chances of getting the most money for your car or truck. 

Just as your house should boast the maximum amount of “curb appeal” when presented to a potential purchaser, your vehicle is also a commodity that should be looking its best before an interested party gets an initial view.

Tick through the following checklist in order to ensure your vehicle is pleasing to a buyer’s eye:

  • Ensure exterior paint is free of notable scratches or blemishes
  • Ensure all vehicle lights and housing are in proper operating condition 
  • Ensure vehicle bumpers/fenders are in proper operating condition and free of any cracks or other blemishes.
  • Ensure vehicle is washed and waxed regularly
  • Regularly maintain and upgrade vehicle upholstery and interior ceiling lining as needed.
  • Regularly vacuum and detail vehicle interior
  • Keep vehicle floor mats clean with regular maintenance
  • Refrain from consuming food or drink inside vehicle

Sell From Position of Strength 

Assuming your vehicle makes the grade on the exterior, interior and under the hood, then there’s one final major component of enjoying a successful and profitable selling experience.

Specifically, it’s important to carry out the role of seller from a position of strength. While that might sound obvious on the surface, there are multiple factors involved:

  • First and foremost, if all feasible, put your vehicle up for sale without any specific time limit for a sale. The lack of urgency can actually be a positive in this case, as it will allow you to meet with multiple buyers, and ideally, hold out for a top-dollar offer.
  • Know your market. Avail yourself of the latest information on value for your specific make, model and year of vehicle, taking into account any upgrades your model may have or that you may have implemented yourself during your ownership of the vehicle.
  • Produce an appealing and eye-catching ad that you distribute throughout popular vehicle marketplace platforms, ensuring your photos capture and match all of the key features of your car or truck that you’ve listed in the ad copy.
  • Include free delivery with the purchase of the vehicle using a towing service 

Author: Brandon Park