Whether you are looking to trade your car in, or sell it outright on popular sites like craigslist, you will want to take some steps beforehand to help boost the value of your car. Changing the oil and washing your car are some of the basic steps that should always be taken, however there are many other steps that can really help. Below are DI’s top 10 steps to help enhance your resale value and you will be happy to notice that detailing is more than just one of these 10 recommendations!
- Maintenance Schedule and Keeping Receipts – You can find the maintenance schedule in the back of your car’s owner’s manual. Keep receipts for all maintenance and repair work, no matter how minor. A stack of receipts shows the buyer that the car was cared for and they will be willing to pay more for the car based on that fact.
- Don’t Crash – Seems pretty simple right? Any history of collision damage can ding your car’s resale value. If you do happen to get into a fender bender, use a trusted body shop and insist on using factory (OEM) parts. Save your receipts and be upfront and honest about any accidents with the buyer. If you are hiding any damage, then imagine what the buyer is thinking when they find out: what else could you be hiding?
- Resist Customization – Spending money on your car can actually decrease its value. People often think that they can re-coup the money they spent on a fancy stereo, spoiler, etc. but the fact is, one person may not be willing to spend more for these parts. In fact they may spend less because they believe they will have to spend more money to remove, or replace, your custom parts. If you do customize, keep the stock parts and replace them before selling. You can also always use the custom parts on another car or sell them for some extra funds to help purchase your new car.
- Check Your VIN Report – A VIN report is often the first document pulled when someone checks out a car. The report usually discloses the full history of a vehicle from the day it lands on a dealer’s dock up to current ownership. It will also include any changes of ownership, accidents, servicing, etc. Many dealers update this report automatically when they service a vehicle and this is just another reason to spend a little more on a service at the dealership, instead of your local body shop. To check your VIN report CARFAX is a great source!
- Regulate Mileage – According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, annual mileage of roughly 13,476 a year is considered average. If you drive more than that it will detract from your car’s value. If you happen to drive less than the average, your car is likely to depreciate at a much slower rate.
- Fix Small Problems – Taking care of problems in a timely manner, whether mechanical or cosmetic, can often save money and help you avoid frustration in the long run. Fix any dings, if your engine light comes on get it checked out, etc. etc. Also, replace all of your lights. Dim lights scream, “I do not take care of my car”. Replace the lights with new bright bulbs to help enhance the look and resale value of your car.
- Cold Weather Care – If you live in any cold weather climates the proper care can really pay off down the road. Apply a sealant, wax, coating, clear bra etc. This will help keep your car protected from the harsh winter elements, allowing you to hopefully avoid chips, scratches and other imperfections. Do not forget to also get your car undercoated. Undercoating your car can help you avoid any salt deposits (which often lead to rust) from building up on the frame and the underside of the quarter panels and fenders.
- Keep it Clean -The better your car appears to be kept up, the more it will be worth and most people associate cleanliness with care. This also kick starts our next two points!
- Interior Care – Take care of your interior! Do not treat your car like a cafeteria or a smoke house. Odors that come from smoking and excessive eating or trash can be hard to remove and really off putting to a buyer. If the interior looks and smells filthy, they may be wondering what else is wrong with the car.
- Exterior Care and Other Detailing Steps – Take care of the exterior, remove imperfections, bring back that mirror like shine! Even if your car is a 98 Ford Escort, if it looks like the day it came off the factory floor it can only help but enhance your re-sale value. Clean the wheels and tires, no one likes brown rubber and it takes away from the entire look of the vehicle. Apply a wax or sealant to help enhance the way the paint looks as well. These are just some of the many detailing steps that can be done to help enhance the way your car looks!
We here at Detailed Image are always happy to try and answer all of your questions and although we may not be much help on VIN reports and custom parts, we can always help with any detailing questions. If you ever have any questions on how to detail any area of your car please do not hesitate to contact us or leave a comment below. Hopefully we can help you boost that trade in value!