A man is shown pressure washing a vehicle, which is common if you are trying to sell your car.

Three Tips to Increase the Value of Your Car

Are you looking to sell your car? This is a great choice that many of us face throughout our lifetime, especially if you are looking to replace your vehicle. However, when it comes down to selling your car, it might not be as simple as taking it to a dealership. Believe it or not, the process of selling your car is much like car buying, in that the process starts long before you actually drive to the dealership. The process is riddled with complexities necessary to assess the value of your vehicle. This can feel harrowing if you are new to the vehicle market, but fear not; there are several tips that will be sure to make your car selling experience unforgettable and to get you the best offer available.

Selling Your Vehicle

Generally speaking, the trading of a good or service for money has two major areas of concern: the value of your good and the perceived value of a good based on the situation of the buyer. For example, some products like gasoline are sold at a much higher price than other goods because it has a higher base value due to the costs associated with importing it and its necessity to car buyers. Buyer demand is key in this situation in explaining why the gasoline provider can charge increasingly higher rates. Since most people rely on a gas-powered car to get them to and from work, school, or other important places, buyers will need to pay the higher price of gasoline. They don’t have many alternatives.

The car market often acts the same way; all dealerships need to sell vehicles to function. In order to sell vehicles, they need to have an inventory that can include new and used models. An inventory of used models typically comes from people trading in an older model for a newer one or selling their vehicle to a dealership outright. Dealers then sell the vehicle again for a profit, and if the vehicle was a trade-in, they make money from reselling it and selling a newer model. Dealerships want your vehicle.

Top that off with the fact that you have a lot of alternative dealers to sell to, and there is always some wiggle room to increase the value of your trade. That said, this situation will only get you so far, as there are also plenty of people looking to sell their vehicles as well. So, what it really comes down to is increasing your vehicle’s value to provide a better quality vehicle than other potential sellers. That said, once you are above the competition, the floor may very well be yours to negotiate on the best possible price; here are some of the top tips to ensure that your vehicle is above the competition.

Clean Your Vehicle Regularly

You wouldn’t want to buy dirty clothes at a clothing store, and while a dealership will judge your vehicle based on overall quality and history, a dusty windshield isn’t going to leave a good impression. That is to say, you are ultimately your own salesman in this case, and it is important to look just as professional as you want to sound and act. Granted, this may not increase the value of your car by much, if at all, but a quick drive through the car wash won’t hurt. Think of it this way, a representative at a dealership is more likely to make a higher offer on a more presentable car.

Ultimately, this extends to regular cleaning as well. For example, the dealership is going to notice underlying issues even if you clean your vehicle the day of, just like how a dentist is going to notice issues in your teeth even if you brush right before going. This is because unclean cars are going to have deterioration on the inside and outside of the vehicle. Dirt, salt, and sand build-up will eat away at and stain the inside and outside of your car, and any spills can stain your carpets or seats. The bottom line, a clean vehicle comes from a clean owner, and dealerships are thorough when it comes to assessing a vehicle’s resale value.

A close up shows shop inspection paperwork.

Be Organized

Okay, it’s the same old line every time, be organized and have your car in order, right? Well, not quite: it can be tempting to think that your vehicle will speak for itself, but ultimately half of the battle is fought without the vehicle even present. You see, appearances can be deceiving, and only half of a vehicle’s story can be seen from the inside out. Part of your sale will depend on your vehicle history report, and boy, are there more than you would expect. Accident history, purchasing history, any records of services, any paperwork that can be linked to your vehicle is something that can increase or decrease the value of your vehicle. Make sure you keep a record of anything done on your vehicle, from routine maintenance to parts replacement. That way, when the time comes, you can show the dealership exactly what they need.

Dealerships tend to give the best deals for vehicles with one owner on record, no accidents, and for vehicles that complete all routine maintenance in regular intervals. Your best bet is to take good care of your vehicle from the day you initially purchase it, keep it clean, organized, and drive safely. Avoid any unnecessary stress or wear on the vehicle, and you can avoid any unnecessary issues. The better you care for your vehicle, the higher the resale value.

Service Your Vehicle Properly

This is our final bit of advice, and it is perhaps the most important of the ones we’ve presented so far. Every vehicle has a service schedule that will keep it in the best possible condition for its age. Much like a regular health check-up, visiting a mechanic for routine fluid swaps and other services will help keep your vehicle in good working condition. Not only is it important for your own safety to properly maintain your vehicle, but it is also important to the safety of any other future drivers, and the dealership knows that. They look for well cared for models that they can confidently sell to other buyers; otherwise, they are at risk of lawsuits or other issues.

All this means is that you need to make sure you are on top of keeping your vehicle maintained. Figure out your maintenance schedule and make sure to follow it. A $100 oil change every six months or so could get you thousands more back when it comes down to selling the vehicle.

A man is shown from a low angle with a ratchet wrench, working on a vehicle sitting on a lift.

What Are You Waiting For?

As you see here, there is a lot that goes into the car selling process that is often hidden under a mountain of myths and misconceptions. Ultimately, your cars value can only be so high. However, keeping your model well maintained and clean will go a long way. Luckily, doing this is easy if you follow a few tips, like cleaning your car, organizing your paperwork, and regularly servicing your vehicle to leave the most professional impression.