Preparing Your Vehicle For a Sale

A person may want to sell a vehicle they own for many different reasons. It’s important when selling a vehicle for proper sale preparation to be done first. A vehicle owner must look at their vehicle as a potential buyer would see it. This way they can realize exactly what needs to be done. The goal will be to have the vehicle ready so it’s mechanically and aesthetically pleasing to a potential buyer.

The Car’s History

One of the first things a potential buyer will want to know about a vehicle is its history. Many experienced car sellers recommend having the vehicle’s history report ready to share with someone who is interested in purchasing their car. This can avoid questions about the car possibly having a salvage title, if it has ever been in an accident, had fire damage or been in a flood and more. It’s also recommended a seller be able to provide records of their vehicle’s maintenance history and repairs. Invoices, receipts, and other records will provide a good picture of a vehicle’s maintenance and repair history.

Vehicle Pricing

An important aspect of vehicle sale preparation is determining the vehicle’s selling price. This may require some research. One of the most respected sources for pricing automobiles for decades has been Kelley Blue Book. Sellers and buyers can access their website for free. There are other websites that will provide a way to see what price others are selling the same make and model vehicle.

Vehicle Inspection

Prior to selling their vehicle, many owners will tell themselves it’s time to get my vehicle inspected. Many people struggle with the idea of buying a vehicle from a stranger. Buyers know this is cheaper than what they would pay a dealership. They still want to feel comfortable about purchasing a vehicle. Prior to selling a vehicle, the owner should take it to a mechanic. Things that could cause a potential buyer concern are worn tires, burned out light bulbs, brakes that squeak, check engine lights being on as well as cloudy headlights and more. An experienced mechanic will know how to replace or repair minor issues affecting a vehicle.


It is also recommended a vehicle’s paint chips or scratches be fixed. Small dents should also be removed. This will have an impact on a vehicle’s visual appeal. It may not require a significant amount of money. There are certain companies and other tradespeople who will come to a person’s home or work to do the repairs. Fixing an engine’s coolant or oil leaks can provide a clean engine. This is very important to many buyers.


When a used car is sold by a dealership, they’re able to detail a vehicle and make it clean and shiny. A private seller who wants their vehicle to look this good may want to invest a few hours removing their vehicle’s dirt and grime. Everything from the vehicle’s hubcaps to its headliner needs to be cleaned. The floor mats should be cleaned as well as shampooed or replaced. Any and all dirt and debris from a cup holder or any other similar area of a car needs to be carefully cleaned. A proper wheel cleaner and brush should be used to make the vehicle’s tires shine. Fingerprints should be cleaned off of a vehicle’s mirrors, door handles and more.


When a vehicle is sold by a private seller; they need to have all the necessary documents ready. This includes such thing as the vehicle’s title, bill of sale, current registration card as well as proof of the vehicle passing all state-required inspections.

Purchasing a vehicle from a private owner is difficult for many people. A vehicle owner can make it easier by offering a vehicle that is clean. Also, being able to provide documentation that the vehicle is mechanically sound, has been properly maintained and is current on all inspections can make a private vehicle sale very appealing to a potential buyer.