How to Prepare your Car for Sale


Whether you’re selling your car to a dealer or selling it privately, you want to do everything you can to get the best possible price. There are plenty of minor things that can cause a potential buyer to sour on the deal or offer a low ball price. To avoid this, you should thoroughly prepare your car for sale before listing it or taking it to a dealer.

To ensure you get the quickest sale and best price for your car, there are some simple steps you should follow.

Get minor dents and scratches repaired

First impressions are important, so deal with any minor dents and scratches. You may be able polish some out at home, while others may mean taking it to a panel beater.

When it comes to dents and scratches, it’s about more than just cosmetic appeal. Some buyers may view dents and scratches as a sign that your car hasn’t been well maintained and cared for. And if you haven’t taken the time to fix the visible issues, then how can a buyer trust that there aren’t other invisible issues?

Additionally, scratches and dents that have broken the paint leave the metal exposed to the elements and this can lead to rust forming. Any sign of rust can be extremely off-putting to a buyer as rust can cause more extensive and expensive problems than just buffing out a dent.

Clean the engine and engine bay

The engine is the heart of your car and something that any competent buyer will check over thoroughly. It’s worth fully pressure-cleaning the engine and engine bay. A well cleaned engine area shows that there is no leaking oil and will help to inspire trust in the mechanical reliability of your car.

Clean the interior

Thoroughly vacuum and dust your car’s interior. Make sure the dashboard, floor and seats are clean. Don’t forget to clean under the seats, in the boot, around the console and in any pockets or compartments.

You might even consider getting new floor mats and seat covers if the current ones are showing signs of wear and tear.

Steam cleaning the upholstery and carpeting will remove any stains, revitalise the fabric and remove any odours.

You should also remove anything from inside the vehicle that you intend to keep. That includes any vehicle components. For example, if you have a custom stereo system that you’re planning to keep, you need to remove that before you start showing the vehicle to potential buyers.

Sell My Car Fast

Check the legalities

There are a number of legal requirements that you need to satisfy in order to sell a used car. If you’re selling to a dealer, then the dealer will be fully prepared to help with this. However, for a private sale you need to make sure that you have all the legal bases covered.

Some of the legal requirements and general recommendations include getting a roadworthy certificate, submitting a vehicle transfer form with VicRoads, getting a copy of the registration certificate/renewal notice, paying off any outstanding financing before the transfer and writing out full receipts.

Visit the VicRoads website for complete information on how to sell and transfer a vehicle.

Get paperwork together

Gather all relevant documentation for your car. This includes registration, service history and any logbooks, and the owner’s manual.

Service history and logbooks are good for proving that the car has been well cared for and regularly serviced.This can increase the value of your car significantly.

Get a roadworthy certificate

A roadworthy certificate is required by law before buying or selling a used car. Take your car to your preferred mechanic and ask them to complete a full roadworthy examination. If the roadworthy highlights any issues, have these fixed before listing the vehicle for sale or approaching a dealer.

You should consider getting your mechanic to carry out a full service as well.

Wash the car

Use a professional car wash service or thoroughly clean your car at home.Pay special attention to areas that you might usually ignore, like the tyres. Finishing touches like using wax or car polish and blacking the tyre walls can add that extra new car feel.

Take lots of pictures

Now that your car is clean inside and out, take lots of good-quality pictures. Don’t rush this job. Take pictures from a range of angles and get multiples in case there is poor lighting or the image is blurred. Get pictures of the interior and exterior of the vehicle, including the boot, engine bay and any other relevant areas.

If you’re listing your car on a sales site like, nothing will turn off a potential buyer faster than blurry, poor quality photos.

Do your research and set a fair price

Before listing your car or approaching a dealer, you need to know what is a fair asking price range.

Do some online research top see what similar vehicles are listed for. Be reasonable about what your car is worth and be prepared to negotiate. Take into account any repairs that may need to be done in the near-future, as well as how far it has travelled and what condition it’s in.

Set an asking price that you’d be happy to accept, but be prepared to negotiate and accept a lower price if necessary.

If you’re selling to a dealer, it’s worth doing some research on the dealers themselves to make sure they’re reputable and fair.

If you’re organised and you thoroughly prepare your vehicle for sale, you’re more likely to sort out a quick sale, get the best possible price and start enjoying your new car that much faster.