It’s a fact: selling your good used auto yourself can often get you more money out of it that trading it in to a car dealership. The money a car lot gives you is often numbers on paper. The salesperson can add on “other costs” that will actually lower the amount. But, the money that the new owner gives you is cold, hard cash.
The first thing you need to do to get the best price out of your auto, is to prepare it for selling. Your vehicle needs to be in the best shape it can be. This means that you’ll need to use some elbow grease to make your auto look “showroom” sharp. Thoroughly wash and dry the outside of your vehicle. A coat of wax can make an amazing difference too. Then, dry and shine the chrome. Dry and clean the windows, inside and out, by using a spray cleaner and a soft cloth.
Next, clean out the interior of your auto and remove the floormats. Vacuum the floors and the mats thoroughly; replace the clean mats. If the seats are covered with cloth, you should vacuum those too. Otherwise, leather or vinyl material needs a good quality protectant applied to it.
If there are cloth seats in your auto, and they’re noticeably soiled, it would be a good idea to shampoo them too. Visit your local auto store to find a suitable upholstery shampoo. Be sure you read the manufacturer’s directions in order to achieve the best results.
Don’t forget to clean out the glove compartment, nooks, crannies, trunk and hatchback too. Place any maintenance records you have in the your used auto. Prospective buyers will want to see how often you had the oil changed, et cetera.
And, if your good used auto has tobacco or other odors in it, an air freshener can effectively help cover the smells. This can greatly increase your chances of getting the best price.
The second thing you need to do is to change the motor oil if that hasn’t been done recently. A good way to tell if it needs changed is to pull the dipstick out. If the oil looks dirty, (brownish-black in color), or if it feels gritty between your fingers, then it needs to be changed.
Now, the next thing to do is to find out how much your used auto “books” for. There are several sources, such as Kelley Blue Book, you can check. (Kelley’s has been around for about eighty years. They are one of the most respected authorities on new and used auto values.)
Now that you have a fair asking price in mind, you’re ready to advertise your auto. It used to be that your only choices were placing an ad in your local newspaper, word-of-mouth, or by tacking a notice on the grocer’s bulletin board. Nowadays, you can also sell it by placing an ad on the Internet. Or, you can use an auction site like eBay.com. Take advantage of free local newspapers,
bulletin boards, and other means of advertising. Of course, don’t forget to place a “For Sale” sign on your used auto. This method of advertising always attracts the most attention.
Whatever means you use to advertise, you’ll need to write up an advertisement that will effectively attract prospective buyers. Compare these two ads. Which auto would you be willing to pay the best price for?
1. “For Sale- 1999 Ford car. Runs good, looks good. Low mileage. Call 555-5555.”
2. For Immediate Sale- 1999 Ford Taurus Sedan. V6, 305 engine, mechanically sound. Clean inside and out. Excellent Condition- 80,000 highway miles. Asking $2500. Call 555-5555 anytime.”
Your ad should give exact details about the used auto you are selling. Be honest, though, and don’t lie just to make a deal. Be sure to emphasize the positive facts about your auto. Also, include details that prospective buyers might be interested in. These details can be if your auto has air conditioning, a stereo system, four wheel drive, leather interior, manual or automatic transmission, moon roof, keyless entry, remote start, and so on.
A final word of advice: Don’t jump at the first offer on your good used auto. Take your time and remind prospective buyers of all the “pros” your vehicle has.