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Tips for Preparing Your Car Before You Sell Them

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Nothing lasts forever and this is true with your car. No matter how well you maintain your car, there will always come a time when you need to dispose it to buy a new one. This is because our needs are always changing, and our cars go through a lot of wear. Sometimes, the reason why we need to dispose them is when we go through financial challenges and we need an urgent source of funds.

When we sell our preloved car, it is our aim to sell them at the best price possible. We also want to avoid the hassles of getting post-selling complaints. For these reasons, we need to make sure that our used cars are on top condition before we dispose them.

One of the first things that come to mind is to have the car washed but it needs more than just cleaning. More than that, you need to make sure that it’s functional by going on a trip to a car service shop like the IT Garage here in Inverness. When you’re sure that it won’t fail you when a buyer takes it on a road test, it’s time to work on the ads.

To guide further, we listed down 6 important and simple steps you can follow for your car selling:

1. Make sure the car registration is up to date.

We often neglect to ensure that our car’s registration is updated before selling it. Most second hand buyers don’t want to go through the tedious task so they prefer going with cars with updated registration.

So before selling it, consider registering it and make sure that all registration documents are complete. You can just add the cost to your selling price.

If your car is mortgaged or on financing, make sure that (1) you have finished paying the mortgage or (2) prepare transfer documents so that the new owner takes responsibility of the mortgage.

Write a letter of cancellation of the loan and chattel mortgage to the financing bank or company along with the following: (1) a copy of your valid IDs; (2) a copy of the chattel mortgage; and (3) your vehicle’s most recent car registration papers. Banks usually take two to three days to sort this out.

2. Have experts inspect your vehicle and make sure it is roadworthy

Since you are selling your car to a potential stranger, the bare minimum we need to do is make them safe and roadworthy by having it checked by a certified autoshop like IT Garage.

The tires should still be within their safe operating range, the brake pads are thick, fluids (engine oil, gear oil/ATF, differential fluid, clutch fluid and power-steering fluid) should be topped up and still within their service life. Clutch, brake and power-steering fluids are usually clear with a very slight gold tinge. If these fluids are darker, have them changed immediately.

For older cars, you might want to perform periodic maintenance with car repair shops like IT Garage already just so your vehicle is in tip-top shape when you sell it. Tune-up, oil change and new air/oil/fuel filters are a great idea. Remember, the last thing you want is your old car’s buyer coming back to you and complaining you sold a lemon because of many minor problems. Be proactive and sort them out yourself.

Have signs of rust on the chassis check at the shop too, as well as missing bolts and fasteners. Tighten up all the suspension and body bolts to make your car feel as tight and as fresh as possible. It really helps improve your car’s feel and performance, so you’ll get the best deal.

Are the car’s lights, wipers and horn in good working order? Are they operating properly? Are all the bulbs lighting up? Change the bulbs and wipers if they aren’t as effective. If your car’s headlight lenses are faded and yellowed, a detailing shop can clean them up to bring back the car’s original lighting performance. Remember, these are small minor parts with major impact on road safety, and we all have a moral responsibility to keep our cars safe to use.

3. Collect the receipts of all the parts changed and work performed

You often see the acronym FSH in classified ads. It stands for Full-Service History. If you buy a brand-new car, the warranty booklet in the glove box or dash console lists down all the works performed on your vehicle. Keep the booklet because this is insurance for both you and the buyer; it is proof you had regular preventive maintenance performed on your vehicle and can justify the higher price you are asking than his bid.

If you don’t have the warranty booklet, try to reconstruct everything that has been done to your vehicle. This helps give the buyer a general idea of what to expect from your car. It’s also a great idea to keep all the old parts of your car, which is proof or evidence that the work you listed has actually been performed on your car.

4. If your car is modified, be ready to return it to stock

If you think modification helps add value to your car, then you’re wrong. Many modifications done to our cars actually add little value come resale time. Thus, it is a good idea to have all the stock or OEM parts on hand. For you, as the seller, you might actually make more money this way rather than selling the car as a modified unit. A completely stock car also broadens its appeal to a wider audience of buyers.

If you can’t be bothered to return your car to stock, make a list as extensive as possible of all the modifications you installed on your vehicle. This will help give the buyer an idea of the work that has been put into your car, and what he or she might want to replace.

5. Make your car look presentable

We always try to put our best foot forward, and so it is with our cars. Aside from making sure our cars are roadworthy and safe, we have to make sure they look clean and presentable. From a simple wash and wax with a vacuumed interior, to a full-detailing effort, you need to show your car’s true beauty inside and out. If it smells funny, find out why. If you used to smoke inside the car, have the interior washed thoroughly to clean up the cigarette stench and dirt especially on the vehicle headliner.

If your car’s tint is old, faded or bubbly, remove it so your car would look clean. Your windshield will also look a bit worse for wear. A detailing shop can remove all the watermarks left by chemical rain, and most light scratches. Peering out of a clean, clear windshield is very reassuring on the part of the prospective buyer.

6. Advertise on Social Media

Social media has made e-commerce even far more convenient. While people might not exactly buy your car based on your ad without seeing it, it helps spread the word that your car is for sale. On Facebook alone, there are tons of groups and pages dedicated to selling, some of them car specific. There are also groups or pages dedicated to a specific marque.

Take good, clean pictures of your car on a flattering angle, and some detailed shots of the engine, the dashboard, the seats, the wheels and the lights. This helps the potential buyer see your car as a whole with some details. Post also basic contact details, your asking price, and a preferred schedule for viewing. You want to go about selling your car in an orderly fashion, of course.

Final Key Takeaways

There you have it, some simple tips on how to prepare your car when you’re about to sell it. On a side note, if someone requests for a test drive, ask for a valid ID of the person in advance to verify identity. Meet at a safe, very public location in the middle of the day. There have been a number of car thefts in the past involving criminals posing as car buyers to steal a vehicle under the disguise of a test drive.

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