How to get your car ready to sell

Posted by: Dan on 9/09/2015

Category: General

Getting Ready to Sell? Here's How to Fix Up Your Car

Sell your old car and turn an even bigger profit simply by cleaning up and fixing both major and minor scratches, dings or other issues. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and make sure their new car purchase works like it's brand new from day one. But remember, buyers want more than just a safe car. They also want something attractive, clean and want to know the previous owner took good care of it.

Check out these tips to transform your used car into an almost-new gem and command top dollar for your sale.

New Tyres

It’s true fixing up your car will require spending some money, but the investment is well worth it and could recoup the cost with just a few tweaks. Start with the health of your tyres. Vehicles with tyres underinflated by 25 percent or more are three times more likely to be involved in an accident. Replace old and aging tyres with new ones to ensure the new buyer enjoys a safe and secure ride.


You can find out more about how to select the best tyres for your car with the article “A Quick Primer on Choosing the Best Tyres for Your Car”. Buyers want quality tyres and take a look at them when shopping around for a vehicle. If your old tyres don't really need to be replaced yet, you should at least rotate them and check the alignment to keep them in top shape. An inexpensive but thorough cleaning can also make your tyres look great and reduce the look of aging.

Interior and Exterior Appearance

Consider a quality paint job if you want to invest valuable time and money into your car that can really make an impact on the sale price. For fewer than 500 AUD, you can have your car touched up to give it a facelift. Spend more with a professional for an end-to-end coat of paint that restores it to its original shine and colour. While a big investment, your car will look brand new and you can command a higher resale price without doing much else. And some cars, like a sports car or high-end SUV, need a quality coat of paint to entice the right buyers. Older cars or simple models like a family sedan can probably skimp on the paint.


Car owners with a family in tow probably have stained seats, interiors and general cosmetic damage. Fix the damage by covering with new seat covers to hide any unsightly stains. You can also opt to take your car into a professional for detailing and get the seats completely clean without the need for seat covers.


No single item inside your car will take more of a beating than the carpets. It’s easy to track mud into your car and forget about the grime left behind as it bakes into your carpets under the hot sun. For a few small stains, simply vacuum the car before applying a damp towel or carpet cleaner to smaller spots. Cars that are exceptionally dirty require a professional to steam clean the carpets, wash down the mats, and get them back into top shape.

Under the Hood

It’s even possible to clean your engine to attract buyers who want a great deal on a well-maintained car. The high-powered spray from the car wash can remove dirt, grease and grime from your engine and the engine compartment. You can also take it to a professional and have them remove any debris from the engine for an added boost to the cleanliness of your car both inside and out.


Potential buyers want to know your car has been taken care of and is ready to drive. Show them how much you cared about your car by taking it in for a thorough tune-up. You will accomplish two things by having the oil changed, tyres rotated and balance, and your engine inspected. First, you’ll learn if there are any underlying issues that require immediate attention and could reduce your chance for selling the car for top dollar. Second, a mechanic who fixes and tunes your car can provide documentation of their services to pass onto your potential buyers.


Finally, replace or fix any issues with a damaged windscreen before any of your potential buyers see it. Otherwise, the buyer will mentally remove the cost of the damage and deduct it from their offer. And aside from issues of cost, you may be obligated to fix the windscreen to save yourself and others from a potential hazard before you part ways with your car.


Selling your used car doesn’t have to be time consuming or even a complicated task. Fix minor issues, clean thoroughly inside-and-out and take good care of your car. Then step back and look at your work with fresh eyes to see if it’s the type of used car you would buy yourself.

What other steps would you take to get your used car sales-ready? Share your favourite tips and tricks by leaving a comment below:

Image: Flickr