Top 7 Things to Fix Before Selling Your Car

Top 7 Things to Fix Before Selling Your Car

Updated on February 23 2024

It doesn’t matter if you’re looking to buy a new vehicle or if you need some extra cash. Before selling your old car, fixing a few things will increase the chances of getting a quick sale while getting the most value out of your precious ride. With that in mind, did you know a used car is typically worth more if a potential buyer thinks the previous owner took good care of the vehicle?

Here’s the best part: It is easier to negotiate a better offer for your used car if it has no significant faults or impending repair jobs. So, before looking for potential buyers or listing your vehicle for sale online, consider these top 7 things to fix before selling your car.

Selling Your Vehicle? Here are the Basics

First, let’s tackle the basics. Before deciding to fix or repair your used car, make sure the following papers are clean and up to date:

  • Original Certificate of Registration (CR) from the Land Transportation Office (LTO)
  • Official Receipt (OR)
  • Absolute Deed of Sale or Transfer of Title
  • Motor Vehicle Clearance from the Highway Patrol Group (HPG)
  • Maintenance Records
  • Insurance documents (when applicable)

Remember that not having a clean title or an updated registration will severely affect your bottom line. Used car buyers prefer a vehicle with clean and legit paperwork. Also, you can sell your car faster and get your money sooner if all the necessary documents are in proper order.

Top 7 Things to Fix Before Selling a Used Car

1. Wash, wax, or detail the vehicle inside and out.

You can do it yourself or bring the car to a professional detailer. Either way, washing the vehicle, giving it a fresh coat of wax, and detailing the interior is an easy way to get the most bang for the buck. Making sure your car is looking its best will give buyers the impression that your vehicle has received the proper care during your tenure.

  • Wash the vehicle using water and car shampoo. Here’s a handy guide on how to do it right.
  • Before drying the vehicle, treat the paint and windows with a clay bar. If this is your first time hearing about a clay bar, this clay bar detailing guide will prove beneficial.
  • Give the paint a light polish and a coat of wax. If you don’t know where to start, here are the five steps on how to keep your vehicle shining like new.
  • Remove the floor mats and vacuum the interior, including the seats and carpets.

2. Make sure the windshield and windows are clean.

Having a clean and shiny exterior is only the beginning. Most car buyers prefer the windshield and windows to be spotless and free from water spots or stains. Dirty windows will not only affect your driving visibility, but it makes your car look old and tired. Check out this easy guide on how to remove water spots from your vehicle’s windshield and windows.

3. Inspect or replace the tires if necessary.

Besides the paint and windows, the tires are typically the first thing that catches a buyer’s eye. Having worn-out or balding tires will significantly lower the selling price of your used car. In addition, bald tires will affect handling, stability, and ride comfort, things that a buyer may notice when test driving your vehicle.

Bald or worn-out tires will affect your vehicle's resale value.

Check the tread depth and tire pressure before presenting your used car to a potential buyer. If the tread depth is below 1.6 millimeters (2/32 inches), replace the tires. Also, the tire pressure should fall between 28 to 31 PSI. If you’re not sure, check the owner’s manual.

4. Check or change the engine oil.

You probably heard this many times before: The oil is the lifeblood of a car’s engine. Periodically changing the oil ensures all the internal parts are lubricated and protected from cold starts. Used car buyers will most often check under the hood and pull out the dipstick to check the oil’s condition.

Remember, having dirty oil is a sign of neglect and may give the buyer second thoughts in purchasing your vehicle. This guide will show the easy steps on how to do a DIY oil change.

5. Check or replenish other vital fluids.

After inspecting or changing the oil, other vital engine fluids deserve attention. Check or replenish the engine coolant reservoir, the brake fluid (and clutch fluid if you have a manual car), power steering fluid (when applicable), automatic transmission fluid (ATF), and the windshield washer reservoir.

6. Replace the windshield wipers.

The windshield wipers are one of the most neglected parts of a car. Bad wiper blades will make an annoying screeching sound and severely affect your driving visibility, especially when driving in stormy or inclement weather. The best part is you can restore or replace the wipers easily without spending too much cash.

7. Check the lights.

Most used car buyers want a “gas-and-drive vehicle” or a used car that is ready to go. You can help the cause by inspecting or replacing faulty or busted light bulbs. Check the headlights, taillights, parking lights, reversing lights, license plate lights, fog lights, and interior lights. Spending little money on inexpensive bulbs will go a long way in securing a profitable sale.

Selling a Used Car? Maybe We Can Help

If you don’t know much about cars or vehicle maintenance, you can have the vehicle inspected by a professional mechanic before selling it. But if you’re not willing to go through all the hassles of selling a used car, Automart’s Sell-My-Car service is worth considering.

After signing up, Automart will send you a pre-inspection estimate. If you agree to the price, you will get your money on the same day. Automart’s Sell-My-Car feature is also ideal for “pasalo” or “assume balance” transactions. The service is quick, hassle-free, and helps you avoid lowballers and countless meet-ups with prospective used car buyers.