Today, our technicians at Mountain View Automotive in Thornton provide our favorite tips for selling your car at top dollar. These guidelines will help you maximize your trade-in value or stand out from other sellers when going with a private party transaction. Of course, if your vehicle needs any of the work listed below, just give us a call or stop by the shop.
So, what’s it going to be? If you want to sell your vehicle, you can trade it in at a dealership or sell it privately. Trading it in will usually get you less money. Selling it privately will probably make you more money and with all the social media options for advertising your car, it’s likely it will sell fast as well. Either way, you want your car to look its best in order to get the most for it.
Now, let’s take a look at those tips for selling your car at top dollar…
Preparing the car to be sold
You should clean up and repair the car, choose the best time of year to put it up for sale, gather the paperwork, and know the legal requirements to sell the vehicle. Here are some of the most important steps you should take before selling a used car privately.
- Clean up the car so it looks good. Throw out the trash and wipe down the interior. Wash the exterior of the car. Complete all the factory maintenance necessary and within budget.
- Decide when the best time is to sell your car. Family cars, sedans, wagons, AWD vehicles, SUVs, can all be sold throughout the year. If you can afford to wait, sports cars are usually best sold in the spring and summer. If you are selling a four-wheel drive vehicle, it might be best to sell it in the fall or winter. An older, well-loved car may sell best in the fall and winter as well.
- Get your car’s paperwork together, including the title, maintenance records, and any warranty information. Know what you DMV needs you to do to sell the car.
Complete the recommended maintenance
If your car’s maintenance is current then it will present well and you will be able to get more money for it. Mentioning that it is up-to-date on its maintenance schedule may also get more responses from your sales ad. Keep receipts of all maintenance completed.
- Change the oil
- Flush the engine coolant
- Change the automatic transmission fluid
- Change the power steering fluid
- Change the brake fluid
Fix cosmetic issues
Exterior flaws may demand that you advertise your vehicle for less, or may even cause buyers to lose interest when they view your car. Also high on our list of tips for selling your car at top dollar is to repair visible problems, whether they are mechanical or purely cosmetic.
- Repair stone chips and cracks in your windshield (Your insurance may even pay for this)
- Replace your tires if there is less than 2/32 of an inch of tread remaining – if you’re seeing uneven tread wear, a computerized wheel alignment might be needed
- Fill paint chips with exact color touch-up paint
- Get minor dents repaired
Complete a Colorado emissions inspection
One of the most important tips for selling your car at top dollar is to take your vehicle to a Colorado emissions inspection station to ensure it’s road ready.
- Repair any components that fail the emissions testing
- If the repairs are too expensive you can sell your car “as is” and include a list of repairs
Detail your car
Pay attention to the exterior of your vehicle and get it looking good. The appearance of the car means a lot when you are trying to generate potential buyers.
- Completely clean the interior of the car, including upholstery, carpets, seats, dash board, etc.
- Wash the exterior of the car, including the wheels, the underside, and the windows, and polish the car’s trim
Advertise your car properly in the right areas
You will need to get the word out that the vehicle is for sale.
- Decide where to advertise to reach the most people. There are many options that can reach the right market for your car. Online sites include Craigslist, eBay Motors, Cars.com, TrueCar, and Carlypso, AutoTrader among other sites. For classic or vintage cars, try ClassicCars.com and Hemmings.com. For high-end sports car or luxury cars, try DuPont Registry.
- Give the details, mentioning the options and positive aspects of the vehicle and stating the exact mileage, year, make and model
- List any recent work that will add or reinforce the value to the vehicle, including any accessories, new tires, or recent auto repairs or maintenance that’s been done
- Determine a fair price for your car that represents its value but will get it sold quickly. If you don’t need to sell it fast and it is in excellent shape, you can price it higher and wait for the right buyer. Check online sites to help you determine the fair market value of a vehicle, including Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds.com, and AutoTrader.com. Sometimes putting the price a little higher is a good idea so it gives you room to haggle.
- Take good pictures of the car’s exterior and interior for the ads, avoiding any distractions in the photo’s background
- Make sure you list accurate contact information, including a phone number and email address and be able to respond to buyers responding to your ad
- Respond promptly to any potential buyer’s interest, answer their questions and be available to meet with them to show them the car
Finalizing the sale
Make sure the paperwork is accurate and know the legal requirements so it will legally transfer the ownership of your vehicle to your buyer.
- Know what is required to transfer ownership
- Verify the buyer’s payment before you sign the documents and hand over the keys
- Remove the license plate from the car and cancel the insurance
Now that you know our tips for selling your car at top dollar, you may have some work to do. The extra effort you put in will be worth it because you will sell the car faster and get a higher price. Our technicians at Mountain View Automotive in Thornton can help you get your car in good shape by completing the maintenance needed to get it ready to sell. We are also happy to help you with the repair and maintenance of the next car you buy.