Looking to sell your car soon? Maybe it’s time to consider getting your car detailed. While detailing can’t erase worn out tires or mechanical issues, it can make a difference of a few hundred dollars when it comes time to sell or trade-in especially if most of your issues are cosmetic. Depending on the amount of work, you may even be able to tackle this as a DIY project. Let’s take a look at the why, when and how of prepping your car to sell.
Why does it matter?
Whether you are selling to a private party or trading in to a dealer, first impressions do matter. The appearance of your vehicle speaks volumes about how well you take care of it. If your car looks rough on the outside, your buyer will assume it’s rough on the inside.
Even if we are talking about normal wear and tear, consider that every issue that the buyer finds is a padded expense deducted from the worth of your vehicle. At the time the buyer is looking at your vehicle, they can only speculate on whether a problem is fixable and how much it will cost to fix hence the padding. Will that stain come out of the leather seats? What about the swirl marks in the paint? Don’t leave your buyer guessing about whether your vehicle’s cosmetic problems are fixable.
When does it matter?
If your vehicle is in otherwise good shape, has low to average miles and is five years or newer, it may be a worthwhile investment particularly if you car is currently in high demand. Do keep in mind that a clean car won’t get you more than a clean trade offer and that’s assuming nothing else is wrong with it. Look at the spread on the rough and clean trade in values to know the potential. Back out any maintenance expenses off the top.
If you have any serious body damage, mechanical or title issues, save your money. Also, if you are turning in a lease, this is unnecessary unless you are concerned with removing stains that may be considered beyond normal wear and tear. If you are buying out your lease, it also won’t matter since that price is set by your residual.
How to prep my car?
Whether you wash or detail your car comes down to the current condition. If you have staining on the seats or carpet, lots of grit, grime or pet hair in the crevices, and swirl marks or dull paint, you may benefit from a good detailing job particularly if it brings your car to near new condition.
If you have an extensive amount of detailing work or you are concerned about ruining your exterior paint or interior, leave it to a professional. Small jobs or light cleanup however may lend itself to a DIY project. Chemical Guys has over 950 videos on tips and tricks from the pros that are worth checking out if you are ready to tackle this project. Check out the Chemical Guys YouTube Channel for how-to resources.
Before you get out the car wash kit, check out the all-new VingoTM Car Value Calculator and find out what your car is really worth. It’s free and getting an accurate value takes just two minutes.