Buying your dream car is a great feeling, but most owners want to sell it at some point. A survey shows that 64% of Americans owned their car for 5 years or less. The longest-kept cars stay with owners for about 8 years. No matter how close you hold the memories of road trips and school runs, you will part with your vehicle down the line. 

Used vehicle sales are popular in the US as they are nearly 37% less expensive than their new counterparts. Not surprisingly, sales of used light vehicles in the US reached a staggering 38.6 million units in 2022. The number spells big opportunities for sellers looking to upgrade or get rid of their old cars. 

However, getting a good deal requires some investment in your vehicle’s upkeep. Proper maintenance enhances your car’s appeal and gets you a lucrative offer. In this article, we will share a few actionable maintenance tasks you should prioritize before listing your vehicle for sale. 

Begin with a Thorough Inspection 

According to a survey, 74.7% of Americans rated themselves “excellent” or “good” in terms of diligence regarding vehicle maintenance. Fewer than 4% rated themselves “terrible” or “pretty bad” in this context. Whichever category you come in, you should conduct a thorough inspection of your vehicle when planning to sell. 

A comprehensive assessment before diving into specific maintenance tasks enables you to set priorities. Look for visible issues such as rust, dents, or scratches. Check the interior for cleanliness and inspect functionality features like air conditioning, power windows, and audio systems. Also, seek a professional check for the engine, brakes, tires, and suspension to detect signs of wear or malfunction.

Invest in Routine Maintenance

You will probably not make a selling decision overnight unless you need quick cash. Most sellers start planning at least a few months ahead. Regularity with routine maintenance becomes essential during this period to keep your vehicle looking clean and shiny. Stay on top of routine maintenance tasks such as oil changes, fluid top-ups, and filter replacements.

Maintenance also includes the upkeep of external appearance. Take measures to protect car paint from the elements because your vehicle bears the brunt of exposure to sunlight, rain, and snow. Bird droppings, dust, and scratches are even more harmful. Over time, these factors can cause your car to lose its luster and appeal. 

According to Mizzoni’s Auto Body, applying a paint protection film is the best way to protect vulnerable areas such as the front bumper and hood. Using car covers and parking in covered areas are also advisable. 

Prioritize Interior Detailing

While washing, waxing, and polishing your car can make it sales-ready, remember that buyers want it to look good inside out. Americans are known for their love for clean rides, so most of the owners do not fall short on the cleanliness front. Whether you are a DIY person or prefer professional car washing, be more regular when you plan to sell. 

A clean, fresh, and odor-free interior makes your car attractive to buyers. Vacuum the carpets and upholstery to eliminate dirt, debris, and crumbs. Use a cleaner to wipe down surfaces like seats, dashboards, and door panels. Be ready to invest in new components like upholstery or mats if they are damaged. A little investment can get you a good deal.

Address Mechanical Repairs

While basic maintenance keeps your car sales-ready, you cannot overlook mechanical issues requiring extensive repairs. Consumer Affairs notes that there are nearly half a million auto mechanics in the US, but the country needs at least a million to address the demand. You can imagine how common mechanical issues are in the country. 

A prospective buyer will surely want a test ride, and most of them will know about underlying problems. The best piece of advice is to address the mechanical issues that may affect the performance or safety of your vehicle. This includes repair or replacement of worn-out components such as tires, brakes, exhaust systems, and suspension parts. 

Ensure Proper Documentation

Proper documentation is as good as regular maintenance when it comes to selling your used car. A well-documented maintenance history is a plus because buyers often prefer vehicles with all service records. Gather all relevant paperwork regarding title, registration, and maintenance records.

Proper documentation streamlines the selling process and makes the buyers confident about their decision. Also, be transparent about the issues and past accidents to make an honest deal.

In conclusion, selling your car is not as easy as it sounds, specifically when you want a good deal. Your vehicle should be in top shape to ensure the best closing price. Regular maintenance gives you a head start, and you can go the extra mile following this checklist of additional maintenance tasks.