You don’t need a background as a car salesperson to get a good price when selling your used car.
However, regardless of the vehicle you are trying to sell, fully capitalizing on the market means knowing some tricks. Use these steps to help you get top dollar for your used car or truck:
1. Get a CarMax appraisal
This used-car retailer, established in the early 1990s, offers a fast, free, no-obligation appraisal of your vehicle.
Use this appraisal to get an idea of how much your car is really worth.
2. Don’t skimp on due diligence
Take your vehicle to a qualified technician for a safety check. Even if you plan to sell your car at a dealership or other retailer, understanding what work needs to be done will help you better negotiate a selling price, especially if you get an estimate on needed repairs or maintenance.
3. Keep it clean
Whether you have the car professionally detailed or clean it yourself, make sure it’s spick and span, inside and out. Otherwise, expect potential buyers to wonder whether the lack of cleaning translates into a lack of maintenance.
4. Know the crucial times in your car’s life
The ages 16, 21 and 40 are major milestones in most people’s lives. Cars first hit a milestone between 30,000 and 40,000 miles, notes Edmunds. That’s generally when bumper-to-bumper warranties expire and parts such as brakes need replacement.
Other milestones are 60,000 miles — when parts like timing belts, which cost at least $300, tend to need replacing. The next major odometer reading is 100,000 miles. Vehicles that hit that mark may still be completely safe and operable, but their values drop significantly.
5. Do your online research
Whether you’re researching your car’s value or planning to sell it online, Popular Mechanics recommends you consider important tips for using certain sites.
For example, if you use eBay Motors, look at what sold and for what price. That way you’ll know if your car is in demand.
Use TrueCar to find actual transaction prices. But if you sign in before searching the site, you’ll alert dealers that you’re interested in selling, so expect some calls.
Do you have additional tips on selling vehicles? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.