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How to Increase Your Car's Resale Value

Emma Street
Selling a car can be daunting. You’ll want to get the most amount of money possible, which means dealing with multiple buyers and haggling over prices. The good news is that there are some things you can do to increase your car's resale value and make the process easier. Here, we share our top tips so you can get the most out of it all.

Get a professional appraisal

If you're looking to sell your car, one of the most important things you can do is get a professional appraisal. Knowing how much your car is worth will help you set a realistic asking price and avoid under-pricing your car. There are a few ways to get an appraisal.

One option is to take your car to a local dealership, who can give you a written estimate of the value of your vehicle. Another option is to use an online service such as Kelley Blue Book or NADA. These services will provide you with a detailed report on the value of your car.

When choosing a professional appraiser, check their credentials and reviews. The appraiser should be certified and have experience in the automotive industry. 

Get a car history report

If you're looking to sell your car, you should obtain a car history report. This report will provide potential buyers with important information about your car such as its accident history and mileage.

A car history report can be obtained from a number of different sources, such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or Carfax. These reports can help give buyers peace of mind, which may lead to a higher selling price for your car.

It's important to note that a car history report is not the same as a vehicle history report. A car history report will provide information on the car itself, while a vehicle history report will provide information on the car's owner. 

Get a tune-up

To make sure your car is in good mechanical condition, book an inspection from a professional mechanic. They will give your car a tune-up and check all the major systems are working correctly. This includes the brakes, transmission, engine, and suspension. 

Your brakes will need to be checked to ensure they are in good condition and not worn down. The transmission will be checked for leaks, and the engine should be tuned up to ensure it is running smoothly. The suspension will also need to be checked, as any issues could result in a lower resale value. 

You should also ensure that your tires are in good condition and have plenty of tread. Also, remember other mechanical items in your car, such as the sunroof, wipers, and headlights.

Fix any cosmetic issues

Dents, scratches, and other minor imperfections can be off-putting to potential buyers, so ensure your car looks its best by repairing any cosmetic damage. If you have any body damage, it's important to fix it as soon as possible. Unless you’re qualified to do the repairs yourself, take your car to a professional for a complete detailing service.

Make sure the interior of your car is in good condition, too. Repair any stained or damaged upholstery, and check all the seats and headrests are in good condition. Even small changes like replacing dirty or scuffed mats with new ones will make your car look newer and increase its resale value.

Clean it thoroughly - both inside and out

A thorough clean is one of the simplest and most effective things you can do to increase your car's resale value. A good exterior wash and wax will make your car look shiny and new. 

Clean the wheels, hubcaps, windows, and mirrors until they're streak-free. Shampoo the carpets and upholstery, and clean all the nooks and crannies, including under the seats. 

Cars that smell of cigarettes, pets, or food will be less attractive to potential buyers. If you smoked in your car or if it has other strong odors, you may want to invest in an ozone machine to remove the smells completely. A car that looks and smells fresh will sell for more than one that doesn't. 

Sell Your Car Online

If you’re thinking “Why should I sell my car online?”, there are several reasons why this is the best option. For one, car selling websites expose your car to a wider audience, which can help you get a better price. Additionally, selling online is hassle-free and can be done from the comfort of your own home. 

Most car selling websites don’t charge a fee, and the process is simple and straightforward. To create a listing, you’ll need to sign up on the company’s website and provide a photo and description of your car. 

If you’re looking for a quick sale, though, selling your car to a dealership can be a good option. The dealership will make you an offer, and if you accept it, you can complete the sale and receive money for your car straight away.

However, be aware that, in order to make a profit on the cars they sell, dealerships typically offer less money than your car is worth. Sellers who use car selling websites typically receive more for their cars than those who sell through other methods.

Take good photos

Buyers often base their decision on whether to even look at a car on the photos alone, so you want them to be good!

When taking photos of your car, make sure the lighting is good and that the camera is in focus. You also want to show off the best features of your car, which means photographing it from every angle and capturing its most appealing features.

The best time of day to take photos of your car is in the early morning or late afternoon when the lighting is softer. Don't use filters or Photoshop to edit the images, as this will make you appear untrustworthy to the buyer. You want your car photos to be as natural and realistic as possible.

Write a great description

If you're selling your car online, you'll need to write a good description to give potential buyers all the information they need about your car.

When writing your description, start by including the car's make, model, and year. Then, list the car's features, such as the color, engine size, and transmission type. Be sure to mention anything that makes your car unique, such as low mileage or special features.

Once you've listed all the information about your car, you can add a personal touch to your description. Write about why you're selling the car and what you'll miss most about it. If you can connect with potential buyers on an emotional level, you may be more likely to sell your car.

Be prepared to negotiate

When selling your car, it's important to be prepared to negotiate. Potential buyers will often try to haggle with you on the price, so you need to be ready to counter their offers.

To prepare for a negotiation, start by setting a fair price for your car. Then, add a little bit of wiggle room to that price. This will give you some flexibility when negotiating with potential buyers.

Remain calm and confident during negotiations. If you show that you're desperate to sell your car, buyers will know that they can lowball you on the price. Buyers will be more likely to give you a fair price for your car if you appear confident and relaxed.

Think about resale value when you buy your next car 

Many people don't think about their car's resale value until it’s time to sell it. However, if you want to increase the chances of a high resale value, there are things you should consider before you even purchase your next car. 

Some types of cars, such as hybrids and electric cars, often have a higher resale value than traditional gas cars. Luxury vehicles and SUVs usually hold their value better than economy cars. Popular colors are likely to appeal to a wide range of buyers. Neutral colors such as black, white, or silver sell more quickly than unusual ones.

Once you have bought your car, keep up with regular maintenance and repairs so it stays in good condition and runs smoothly. If you’ve made any modifications or upgrades, be sure to document them. This will show potential buyers that your car has been well cared for. 


Selling your car can be an exciting time, especially if you’re planning to upgrade to a new model. It's a great feeling to know that you've got the best possible price for your used car. By preparing your car before putting it on the market, you can ensure it catches people's attention, makes them fall in love with it, and gets you its full worth.

Emma Street
Emma Street holds a BSc in Computer Science and has worked in software development for 15+ years as a support analyst, developer, and technical writer. Emma writes for and has extensive experience in the fields of InsureTech and FinTech, with strong understanding of the intersection of personal and corporate finance and technology.