Should You Clean Your Car Before Getting It Appraised?

When you’re getting your car appraised, you’re likely selling your car as part of the purchase of a new vehicle. This means you need to prepare your old ride.

Most of the time, an appraisal of your vehicle means you’re trading it for something newer. In some cases, you’ve already bought the new ride and only want to get as much cash as you can out of your old car. Regardless of the situation, it’s always a good idea to clean the vehicle before you sell it or trade it to the next person.

Let Your Car Make a Good First Impression

The cleanliness of a car tells a lot about the person who drives it. Before you get an appraisal or sell your old car, you should clean it up and let it offer the best first impression possible. It doesn’t matter if you’re trading the car, getting your car appraised for a trade, or selling it to another driver. In all instances, you give your car the best chance of bringing you the most money by cleaning it. This cleaning could be a full detail of the vehicle or simply making the inside and outside look fresh and much nicer.

Don’t Let Small Issues Bring the Value Down

Is the interior dome light out in your car? Do you need to add more washer fluid? Treat the dealership or buyer like you would want to be treated by handling the small issues. If there’s a light out or fluids that aren’t topped off, you might lose hundreds of dollars in value over something that would have cost you only a few bucks and a few minutes to fix. These small things will make a huge difference when you’re trying to get the most out of your car.

Have an Inspection Performed Before Listing Your Car

If you’ve been to the dealership and left disappointed in the value offered, you’ll want to know what’s wrong with your car. They might tell you while you’re getting your car appraised for a trade, or they might not. Have an inspection performed before listing your car on a private site to sell it. You might need to fix a couple of items that would have brought you a lot more value in the trade. This is a great way to offer the new owner some added value.

Be Realistic About The Expected Value

Yes, it’s important to clean your car before heading to the dealership to ask for a trade, but if your car doesn’t work well and barely makes it to the dealer, you won’t get much for it, regardless of how clean it is. Look at your vehicle as if you were going to buy it, and be realistic about its condition. In fact, a better idea might be to have a friend or family member do this for you. Tell them to be brutal so that you can get a good idea of what you should expect from your appraisal.

Tell the Full Story of Your Car

Part of the challenge of getting the most value when getting your car appraised is showing the true history of the vehicle. If you’ve always had the maintenance done at the dealership where you bought it, this history is easy to obtain. On the other hand, if you’ve performed some of the maintenance, went to various shops, and had an accident or two, the history of your old vehicle might be a little more complicated. Either way, showing a complete history of the vehicle helps offer value to the dealer or private buyer.

Don’t Forget the Engine Compartment

Have you ever been to a car show? If so, did you ask the owners if they drove their cars to the show? Most of them have, but their engine compartments look incredibly clean and pristine. While you don’t have to go this far, you should put in some time and clean this part of your car. If you’re paying for the car to be detailed, ask for this to be done. This is a great way to show that you care about the car and its condition.

Don’t Leave Any Junk in the Trunk

While you’re cleaning your old ride, you’ll want to remove any paperwork or items from all of the compartments of the vehicle. You’ll be getting your car appraised, and leaving behind a few pieces of garbage can cost you in the overall value. You wouldn’t want someone else’s trash in the car when you buy it, so don’t do that to them. Clean things up and remove anything that doesn’t need to be in the car. The idea is to trade or sell a vehicle in as close to the new condition as you possibly can.

Documents, You Need the Documents

When you trade in a car that still has a loan on it, you won’t have the title. Otherwise, you need to bring the title, registration, and service records with you to the dealership when you’re ready to trade in the vehicle. The dealer can pull a vehicle history report, but you’ll want to know what’s on this report and how it might impact you during the trade. The original owner’s manual is another item you certainly should have when it’s time to trade your vehicle in at the dealership.

It Doesn’t Hurt to Get Multiple Offers

One dealership could give you a better offer than another. This is something you need to realize when getting your car appraised. Unless you’re trading your car for a new model that you’ve already picked out, there’s nothing wrong with getting multiple offers. Of course, before you can do this, you’ll need to make sure you understand the estimated value of your vehicle before heading to any dealership for an appraisal. When you know what you should receive for your old car, you’ll have a much better chance of getting the price you desire.

Yes, you should clean any car before getting it appraised, but as you can see, that’s only one part of what you should do. The more you look at your vehicle objectively and prepare it as if you were buying it, the more value you’ll find when you either trade it at the dealer or sell it to the next owner.

This post may contain affiliate links. Meaning a commission is given should you decide to make a purchase through these links, at no cost to you. All products shown are researched and tested to give an accurate review for you.

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