Getting Your Used Car Ready to Sell

Six Steps to Take When Prepping Used Cars For Sale

Following these simple steps will make your used car more appealing to prospective buyers and help you get the most value for what it's worth.

STEP 1: Make Your Used Car Look Great!

The vehicle’s interior and exterior appearance play a major factor when buyers select used autos. Therefore, make sure you:

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  • Give used cars a good exterior wash & wax.
  • Vacuum, remove stains and dust the interior.
  • Clean out the ashtray & use an air freshener.
  • Clean out the trunk.
  • Clean your engine.
  • Shine up the chrome.
  • Clean the tires.

STEP 2: Do Final Maintenance on Your Used Car

Before you sell a car, you should do a few maintenance chores to send a used car off to your buyer in great condition.

  • Change all fluids and oil.
  • Check your tire pressure.
  • Replace all missing or broken items (brake lights, tail lights, cigarette lighters, ashtrays, etc.).

STEP 3: Buy a CARFAX® Report 

A CARFAX® report protects used car buyers against hidden problems that can go undetected. CARFAX® checks to see if used autos have been flooded or rebuilt, if the odometer has been tampered with and, in some states, if the car has been in a major accident or stolen. Having the CARFAX® report for a prospective buyer will put them at ease.

If you’re going to trade your used car in to the auto dealer, it’s easy. You don’t have to worry about a CARFAX® report because the dealer has access to this information. Go on to step 4.

STEP 4: Organize Your Maintenance Records

Package your maintenance information so that prospective buyers can see how well the used vehicle was maintained. They may be looking for information such as how frequently the oil was changed, when the tires were last replaced, etc. Organized records show a potential buyer that you took care of your car.

STEP 5: Make a Used Car for Sale Flyer

The goal of your flyer is to attract interest and bring prospective car buyers to come look at your used car for sale. Be sure it includes:

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  • Photo(s).
  • Asking price.
  • Current mileage.
  • Car color – exterior and interior.
  • Major maintenance, and when it was completed.
  • If your car was ranked as a “best buy” by a major publication, make note of it and include quotes, if space allows.

STEP 6: Post Your Used Car Flyer

Put your flyer in the car; consider placing an advertisement in the paper and/or listing your used car for sale on an automotive site such as Cars.comTM or AutoTrader.com®. A free form of advertising is to hang your flyer up wherever you can post information about used cars for sale, such as a bulletin board at the grocery store or your workplace. If someone comes to look at your car, give them details such as:

  • Your flyer.
  • Copy of the CARFAX® report.
  • If your car was ranked as a “best buy,” include quotes or a copy of the article.
  • A list of any unique features on your car and what makes them particularly appealing.

Click to request a used car trade-in appraisal.