If you’re in the process of selling a used car, you can maximize its value by taking several low-cost steps ahead of the sale. In doing so, you’ll make your car more marketable and the process will be smoother and more profitable.

How to Maximize Used Car Value

1. Repair dings and dents.

Unaddressed dings and dents diminish the value of your car. If you discover some scratches, you can handle the job yourself by investing in a compound that could do miracles provided the scratch is only on the clear coat. More ambitious projects should be addressed to a local body shop.

2. Wash and wax your car.

There’s nothing more appealing to potential buyers than a vehicle that is clean and shiny. Not only should you wash your car, but following up with a wax will only bring out the finish. Don’t stop there: Detail your car like the professionals and you’ll maximize its value. Once cleaned, take pictures for your classified ad!

3. Check the lights.

Tend to your car’s lighting by replacing all burnt out interior and exterior bulbs. If your vehicle is older, there’s a good chance the headlight covers are glazed. Not only do they look bad, but lighting is diminished and that’s a safety issue. A simple wipe down is not enough. However, applying car wax following a thorough scrubbing and washing should be sufficient. For tough jobs, a headlight restoration kit does the trick and your local NAPA AUTOPRO service centre can help you.

4. Replace worn mats.

If the car mats are worn, that’s one thing, but tears and holes mean they’re long past their useful life and should be replaced with a new set that matches or is better than the original.

5. Clean the seats and carpets.

Thoroughly vacuum the interior, paying special attention to every crevice and cranny to lift out dirt. A vacuum attachment or a small hand-held device does the trick. As for using a cleaning solution, be careful if your seats are made of real or imitation leather—turn to your owner’s guide, using only the solution recommended by the manufacturer to clean delicate materials. Remove stains, fill holes and mend tears for a full restoration.

6. Perform an electronics check.

If you own a late-model car, there’s a good chance it has technical features older cars don’t have. Here, you’ll want to ensure that everything is in working order. First, connect to each USB and auxiliary audio port to ensure they work. Second, turn on the infotainment system: if it needs to be updated, accept your manufacturer’s download. Third, if you have a navigation system, clear out the addresses—that’s information a new owner shouldn’t have. Then, you’ll want to remove your HomeLink access code. Finally, press the eject button on the CD player—you may have left a CD inside.

7. Check the tires.

The costliest update to prepare your car for sale could be the tires. If they’re worn, with tread grooves of 2/32 of an inch deep, they should be replaced. Not only is the car unsafe, but it is likely to fail your province’s inspection. While you’re at it, check the spare, particularly if it’s the original tire and has never been used or replaced. Invest in a new spare tire, if necessary.

Once your car has been prepared for sale, you’re ready to find a buyer—and with a clean car to show, you’ll have a stronger negotiation position.

8. Prepare your car’s maintenance history.

Your car is nice, your ad is online… It is now time to gather your documentation. If a buyer shows up, you need to impress him with all papers and maintenance bills sorted in the most organized way. If someone is taking care of his car, and is closely following up on maintenance, that brings truth on the table and that is key to close the deal.

Would you buy a car without any past invoices or a messy maintenance schedule? If your maintenance was done in your local NAPA AUTOPRO service centre, you can contact them to get your car’s maintenance history.

For more information, chat with an expert at your local NAPA AUTOPRO service centre.

Photo courtesy of Matt Keegan.