Car Buying

Selling Your Car: Items to Fix Before You Sell

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author photo by Doug DeMuro August 2013

If you're thinking of selling your car, it might be tempting to simply take a few photos and list it on AutoTrader.com. But we have a few suggestions on some items you might want to address before selling your car, as they're certain to be spotted by nearly every potential buyer.

Tires

Tires are the number-one item you should fix before trying to sell your car. The reason: Old or worn tires are among the easiest things for a potential buyer to spot. Most used-car shoppers know how to check tires for wear -- and nearly all will notice if they're not in good shape. If you don't replace your tires before selling your car, be prepared to knock some money off the price.

Brakes

Worn brakes are expected on any used car. But heavily worn brakes -- the kind that make a grinding noise as you come to a stop -- need to be replaced. Even if the car's brakes are its only problem, most buyers will run away the second they hear grinding. Our advice: Be sure to fix the brakes before trying to sell your car.

Oil Change

Unless an oil change has been performed recently, we strongly recommend getting a fresh one before selling a car. The reason: Oil changes are a rather inexpensive way to show a potential buyer that you've serviced the car before selling. They show that the car's maintenance is important to you, which will make a buyer feel more relaxed about the purchase.

Windows

Nearly all buyers will check a car's power windows before signing any paperwork. Therefore, we definitely recommend fixing a car's windows before you sell. If not, a potential buyer is likely to walk away once a window rolls down but doesn't come back up.

Lights

Lights are cheap and easy to fix, so we think you should do so before you sell your car. Most buyers will test out a car's headlights, brake lights and turn signals -- and many will take broken lights as a sign that a seller hasn't properly maintained his car. Fortunately for sellers, lights are cheap to buy and easy to replace, so you should be sure to do so before listing your car.

Of course, our list doesn't include every item on a car -- and that's because most used-car shoppers shouldn't assume that all features will be working perfectly. But if you're trying to sell your car, you should definitely follow our suggestions and fix a few of these important items before you place your ad.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Selling Your Car: Items to Fix Before You Sell - Autotrader