I just sold my car, a Mitsubishi Mirage vintage 2000 with 90K miles on it. It was a good deal for me and the buyer. I got it for a good price so I let it off at a good price too. I know my car is reliable but I was thinking of how I could make sure that my car is in peak condition when buyers came to test drive. This is the list I came up that I think might help you get a higher price for your car.
1. Polish, wash and clean your car’s exterior and interior
First impression counts! This is important!
2. Inflate all tires equally
This reduces any chance of alignment issues. Sometimes you feel that your car is drifting. This is usually not an alignment issue but one where tires are either infliated to a different amount. In case you do any an alignment issue, you can try to hotfix the alignment issues by custom inflating your tires to “balance” it all out
If you under inflate your tires by a bit, it also helps for a less bumpy drive. However this comes at a cost of reduced mileage
3. Fill it up with premium gas
Premium gas helps a little bit for smooth acceleration. Use pump this one time!
4. Oil change and clean the engine
Bring it to a mechanic for an oil change. Oil changes will make for smoother transmission changes and acceleration. If it is due soon, bring the car in yourself. Alternatively if you are a scrimper, let the first interested buyer bring the car in for an inspection. Large auto repair chains usually bundle oil changes and 50+ point checks together for a cheap price.
Ask for the mechanic for help in cleaning the engine dirt off. The engine will look well maintained when the hood is opened
5. Change the tyre covers
30$ from Costco. This helps to improve first impression lot if you are like me and scratch the covers on the kerb when doing a parallel park,
6. Warm up the car before the buyer comes
So that the engine has the power for quick acceleration which buyers like to test
7. Get your documentation ready
a. New Smog Check
b. Service records
c. The title
d. Carfax report
e. Vin Number
8. Get a cheap mechanic check from a honest mechanic (I use a highly yelped mechanic)
You can share the cost with the first interested buyer. A recent check report will help push in decisive buyers to real buyers.
Be aware that mechanics usually tell you to change everything. So get the mechanic to highlight only the things that really need to be changed.
9. Take lots of flattering photos of your car(photoshop???)
No need to highlight the flaws. The buyers will see them when they come for the test drive. But the goal of an ad is to get response and not to close the deal. The test drive and you are the deal closer.
10. Test the market valuation
Other than checking KBB and other similar car prices, you can do a market price test.
Post a ad on Craigslist with some information. No pictures or vin number and see how many people email you to setup an appointment. Once you have 3-5 people emailing you in a week, you are probably are at a good spot.
Now post the real ad with photos and bell and whistle. Add a few hundred dollars to the price where you got response. Now people will be contacting you and you know how much your car can fetch
Bonus:Never let bird shit stay on your car for too long. After a while it starts to corrode the paint and past that point, there isn’t much you can do 🙁
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