12 Prep Tips to Sell Your Car for the Best Price

Selling your car for the best price involves several steps to ensure it looks appealing and well-maintained to potential buyers.

Do you want to sell your car fast and for the highest price? Then proper preparation is key to getting the best price for your car and ensuring a smooth experience.

We’ve put together our best tips on selling your car for the best price and experiencing the smoothest sale possible.


12 Tips to Sell Your Car for the Best Price

1. Remove All Personal Items

The first step in preparing to sell your car is removing all personal items and trash from the vehicle.

Check under the seats, glove boxes, storage compartments, ashtrays, consoles, and throughout the vehicle to make sure loose or personal items are cleared out.

The service book and owner’s manual can remain in the glove compartment but everything else should be removed from the car.


2. Sort Out Documents

Gathering necessary documents beforehand can make the sale go smoother.

As you prepare to sell your car, make sure you have:

  • Any service records or logbooks
  • The vehicle’s user manual
  • Receipts for any parts purchased or for any work done
  • Registration papers and title
  • Roadworthy certificate (if required)
  • Any info on the manufacturer’s warranty, if applicable


3. Prepare a Bill of Sale

When showing your car to potential buyers, it is helpful to have a bill of sale ready. You can find bill of sale templates online, but here’s the general info you’ll want to include on it:

  • Name
  • Address
  • VIN (vehicle identification number)
  • Vehicle make
  • Vehicle model
  • Vehicle year
  • A space to fill out the odometer reading at the time of sale
  • A space to fill out the buyer’s details (name, address, etc.)

Note: Many sellers specify that the vehicle is sold “as is condition” on the bill of sale.


4. Figure Out Financing

Do you have a loan on your vehicle? If so, get in touch with your lender to determine your options. Owing money on a car can turn potential buyers away.


5. Check That Your Vehicle Is Roadworthy

In Queensland and Victoria, owners are required to prove roadworthiness to sell a registered car. In the ACT, cars that are 6 years or older are also required to be proven roadworthy.

To sell a car in WA, there are fewer rules. WA does not require a roadworthy check to sell a car. This means the process involves less hassle but we still recommend checking your car for overall roadworthiness before selling it.

You may not be required to fix certain things to sell your car in WA, but a buyer will likely offer a lower price if they notice bald tyres or exterior lights that aren’t working.


6. Get Your Car Serviced

If your car hasn’t been serviced in a while and is past warranty coverage, schedule to have your car inspected by a mechanic. This will ensure any engine problems or mechanical issues are addressed.

You’ll likely sell your car for a higher price and both you and the buyer will have peace of mind that the vehicle is safe and fit for the road. Be sure to include this service history in your documentation.

Regular servicing helps identify and rectify potential safety issues.


7. Schedule Cosmetic Repairs

It is up to your discretion to fix cosmetic issues. Minor wear, scratches, dents, dings, or other blemishes can negatively affect a car’s value.

Consider scheduling an appointment to fix minor cosmetic dings or scratches. If you choose not to fix cosmetic issues, you may want to drop your price to reflect any damage.


8. Consider Accessories

The right vehicle accessories can increase your car’s resale value. The wrong add-ons can turn a buyer away completely.

Accessories are a very personal thing, so we recommend being careful about what you choose to keep or add-on when selling your vehicle.

For instance, if you’ve got an off-road vehicle with a pricey bull bar and winch on it, you may be better off putting the original front bumper back on. Then, you can sell the bull bar and winch separately. It requires more effort but you’ll almost certainly end up with more money in your pocket.

To learn more about which vehicle accessories can help you get the best sale price, check out our guide on The Best Accessories to Increase Car Resale Value.


9. Check Your Insurance

Check with your insurance provider to ensure your car is properly insured. This will protect you against accidents or theft incidents as you try to sell your car.


10. Do a Deep Clean

As mentioned earlier, it is important to remove all personal items before you list your car for sale. To sell your car for the highest price, you’ll also want to do a deep clean of both the interior and exterior.

To deep clean the exterior of your car:

  • Wash it yourself or take it to the car wash
  • Consider a cut and polish to make it shine (you can do this yourself or hire a mechanic)
  • Clean the windows (both outside and inside)
  • Clean the door jams
  • Scrub the wheels
  • Wipe down engine bay surfaces using a damp microfibre cloth and make sure the engine bay is clean and free of any coolant or oil leaks. Do not hose down your engine bay as it can damage electrical components. When in doubt, leave the engine bay cleaning to a mechanic.

To deep clean the interior of your car:

  • Vacuum the floors and carpets thoroughly, making sure to lift up any mats to vacuum under them
  • Clean the mats
  • Shampoo the carpets if necessary
  • Clean the seats
  • Clean the inside of the windows
  • Consider adding an air freshener or spraying some deodoriser
  • Make sure any ashtrays are empty and cleaned (steam clean if necessary)
  • Clean the door trims
  • Wipe down all surfaces
  • Make sure the dash is free of dust and grime (this is an important area to focus on because it’s one of the main things in focus when sitting in the front seats)
  • Make sure instruments and controls are wiped clean with a damp cloth and free of dust or grime
  • Inspect the car as if you are the buyer, looking at it from all angles

For more tips on preparing to sell your car for the best price, check out our guide on Ways to Make Your Old Car Look New Again.


11. Make Sure the Boot Is Clean

Vacuum the boot and check to make sure:

  • No items are loose and able to rattle around
  • You do not have any personal items left in it
  • The spare tyre is secure
  • The jack and any tools that came with the vehicle are present and secure
  • The spare tyre is fully inflated


12. Consider Professional Car Detailing

If you aren’t sure how to detail a car yourself or just don’t have enough time, consider a professional car detailing.

A professional car detailing will leave the car looking spotless inside and out and take care of much of the prep work for you.

Spending that extra few hundred bucks can result in a higher sale price and save you a lot of time and hassle.

Consider professional detailing if your car needs it.


Have Questions on Which Vehicle Accessories Help Increase Car Resale Value?

We offer a range of car accessories that may add to your car’s resale value. If you’re looking to sell your car for the highest price, contact our team for personalised product recommendations and advice.