8 Steps You Should Never Skip When Selling Your Car

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Selling pre-owned vehicles has seen an upswing in the last few years. With supply shortages and inflation, used cars are more popular than ever. However, it doesn’t mean that everyone immediately sells. The time it takes to sell your car can be from a few hours to never. If it’s in good, drivable shape, the average span is about 60 days. However, turnaround time is much quicker if you don’t skip these eight steps when selling your car.

1. Get a Tune-Up

A buyer likely won’t purchase your car if they have to tow it out of the driveway. The return on investment (ROI) isn’t worth the cost. Avoid this with a vehicle tune-up.

It doesn’t mean spending thousands of dollars for repairs. Rather, you want to ensure it starts and smoothly handles the road. Thus, have the oil changed, the tires rotated & balanced, and the fluids topped off. If possible, ask the shop to provide a report detailing any necessary repairs.

2. Wash the Car

Your car’s best face must be displayed for a quick sale. If the layers of dirt are so thick you can’t discern their original color, the buyer will probably pass. So, you want to wash it. Better yet, take it to a professional car wash.

Go to a full-service car detailer who can get into the vehicle’s nooks and crannies, including the undercarriage. It’s recommended to go one step beyond a basic wash. See if the location offers options to seal the exterior to maintain its shine while selling.

3. Obtain a CARFAX report

Buyers want to know everything about your car. It goes beyond your repair invoices. They want the vehicle’s history. For this, you need a CARFAX report. Add your car’s VIN to their website to pull up its complete record, including accidents, repairs, and criminal activity. The more you and the buyer know about the vehicle the greater chance for a quick sale.

4. Assemble Your Paperwork

Hopefully, you kept information related to the vehicle while you owned it. If you bought it new, you should have the original purchase date, repair invoices, and the car’s title. Plus, user manuals, access codes, and the CARFAX report.

Giving this to the potential buyer in a messy pile isn’t the best action. Instead, organize the material and place it in a binder or folder. Through this, the buyer can get a good idea of what they’re purchasing.

5. Determine the Car’s Value

Plenty of existing internet tools help determine your car’s value. These sites have easy-to-use screens to enter your vehicle’s information. They produce results for the best and worst-case cost scenarios. Use this information to determine the sale price point.

6. Private Party or Dealership Sale

Once you’ve organized the car’s paperwork and determined the selling price, you need to choose the option you’ll use. Sellers tend to receive more money through a private-party transaction.

Those who want to minimize customer interactions should go through a dealership. However, you tend to get less for your used car through this method.

7. Putting the Car on the Market

If you decide on a private-party sale, determine where you want to market your vehicle. Unfortunately, a simple newspaper ad doesn’t work anymore. On the other hand, there are numerous internet sites available to sell your vehicle.

Research these locations before submitting an ad. Some may charge additional fees taken out before you receive any money. They may also be scam sites that keep your money.

8. Delete Your Personal Information

Once the car is sold, you need to delete your personal information, which now goes beyond emptying the glove box. Your data is in the vehicle’s navigation and infotainment systems. Thus, you want to remove the information from those places. If possible, reset your vehicle’s defaults.

If you have a subscription to satellite radio or another third-party vendor, contact them to remove the vehicle from their database.

Read More: Off Road Suspension: Here Is an Overview of Key Components


Overall, don’t skip these eight steps when selling your car. Every single step matters, from getting your automobile detialed to researching the value of the vehicle. Doing so may result in more trouble completing a transaction or receiving less than you thought.

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