Are you considering selling your vehicle because you have a newer one now, or are planning on getting a newer vehicle? The question that often comes up is, should I fix my car before selling it? Or should I just sell it and let the new owner take care of any future maintenance and or needed repairs?
Fixing a Car takes Time & Money
However you look at it, usually it is going to take time and or money to sell your used vehicle. If you decide there are some things you can do yourself such and cleaning, detailing, or minor repairs like replace brakes, oil change, spark plugs, belts, wipers, etc.. You can usually save some money. Then again, some things are better to get done by a professional because the cost may be fairly low such as drive in oil changes, or basic auto detailing. You really need to weigh out the pros and cons of reconditioning your used vehicle, and research the selling price versus the condition of the vehicle.
Regular Maintenance and Selling a Used Car
Selling a car that has a long history of regular maintenance can really increase the perceived value of the vehicle. If you have had the vehicle a long time and have kept up with regular oil changes, fluid changes, tires rotations, brake service, and manufacturers recommended maintenance shows the potential buyer that the vehicle has not been abused and has been well cared for. Also, by investing time and money into periodic maintenance, you don’t have come up with larger lump sums to recondition the vehicle in order to sell it. If the vehicle has not been maintained on a regular basis it may cost more time and money to bring it up to standards you are happy with. Nothing sells better than a clean well maintained car than is turn key ready to drive and enjoy.
Fixing Minor Issues Can add Value
Fixing a cars minor issues can add a lot of value, and is usually well worth the time and effort. When there are issues with a vehicle, the potential buy expects the price of the vehicle to be less, the more issues, the lower the perceived value is. It’s sometimes very tricky to know if it is worth the time, and money to fix issues with a used car, especially if time is most important.
Replace any burned-out lights: Make sure there are no burned out headlights, bulbs and that all lights are functioning properly. A burned out bulb can raise questions such as is there bad wiring, a bad switch or other failing component? Replacing bulbs and headlights is usually fairly inexpensive and you can usually do it yourself as well. If you want to make the vehicle look and work its best for the least amount of cost, then changing a bulb, headlight or taillight can be a great added value.
Replace windshield wipers: A vehicles windshield wipers are usually a very low cost overall and can enhance the look of your used vehicle. A pair of new windshield wipers is just another small thing that the new owner won’t have to add to a list of things needed on the car. Obviously this is a small detail and there may be other larger items that should be addressed first. Weigh out the options and the time and or money investment.
Replace Worn Tires: If your tires are less than 40% or near the wear bar, it may be a good investment to replace them. Tire condition is one of the very first things people will look at when viewing a used vehicle. Replacing them can really enhance the look, and feel when road testing. Buying new or used tires is sometimes a question as well, and will the cost of swapping out the tires be worth the time and money in doing so? Used tires are sometimes less expensive than brand new, but be aware of the year and month of manufactures date. Older tires although may hold air still may not be safe anymore.
Body & Paint Repairs: Does your car have small chips in the paint, scratches, minor dings, dents or even small corrosion spots? You can get paint to match any vehicle in small, medium or larger amounts. Touch up paint is usually available in aerosol or small non aerosol containers. Touching up even small chips can enhance the look and reduce further deterioration of the paint. You may also even consider taking the car to a detail specialist if there are scratches that can be removed by buffing. Again it all boils down to cost vs. payoff. Is the selling price of the vehicle now going to be higher over and above the cost? Are you at least at a breakeven point?
Windshield Repair or Replacement: Depending on the overall condition of your car and where you are selling it, you may want to consider either repairing or replacing the windshield. Small chips and cracks can sometimes be fixed at a very low cost. Some automotive glass shops even offer this service for free. If the visibility is impaired by a cracked windshield it may be worthwhile to replace the glass, but if it is not really in the line of vision, you may be able to just leave it without any huge objections from the potential new owner. Some windshields in newer cars have vehicles smart features built in, and may not function properly without the new windshield. So it is good to know the market value of your vehicle in different conditions before deciding either way.
Should I Fix my Car Before Trading In?
When trading in your car to a dealership, the potential buyers, in this case the dealer is also making a check list of all the potential items your car may need in order for them to resell it at a profit. In some cases the dealer may just wholesale your vehicle off to another dealer or wholesaler. If your vehicle is an older and higher mileage unit, the dealer may just try to wholesale it and get you the most they can. Typically, there will be photos taken of the vehicle and any known issues will be declared to the potential buyer. A picture is worth a thousand words as the old saying goes, where as in this case it could be worth a thousand dollars or more. Even if you have decided not to completely recondition your vehicle with new tires, fresh oil, body work, touch ups and more.. at the very least just clearing out all personal belongings, washing the vehicle’s exterior and interior can go a long way.
Trading in a car instead of selling it can have many advantages, and save you a lot of time. Typically you will get more money selling a car privately, but there is time and money to consider in that case as well. Dealers are fully equipped and reconditioning vehicles is an ongoing process, so they usually have a very cost effective way of reconditioning trade in vehicles. The benefits are usually a quicker process and you also only pay a portion of taxes on the new car. If there is a higher value on the trade in this can be significant. Buy a new truck for $100,000 and the taxes in Alberta are $5000. Trade in a vehicle worth $50,000 and now you are only taxed on the difference of $50,000. A savings of $2500 over if you did not trade in. Check out our Auto Loans Calculator here to estimate more trade in value savings. Check out Used Car Canada for recent vehicle values.
So Should I Fix My Car before selling it?
The answer will become clearer as you research the selling price of your vehicle in the private market and sale price at local dealerships, and the cost to repair and fix the vehicle to bring it up to your standards.
If you would like to get Pre Approved for an auto loan with or without your trade in, we can assist just click here to get started. There is no obligation and it’s completely free to find out your best options.
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