Selling Your Car? Learn How To Get The Most For Your Used Auto

What’s an old car really worth? If you ask anyone who’s part of the Transformers fandom, they’ll tell you that the most valuable of objects are often disguised right under our nose — and in some cases, world-saving Autobots!

But even if your car isn’t secretly a converting Autobot, you can still sell your old car for top dollar. After all, if your vehicle is still in decent condition, has plenty of miles left in it, and has been taken care of, there’s no reason why someone wouldn’t want to give you what you’re asking for it.

Here’s how you can increase your chances of getting an excellent price for your used car.

Know Your Blue Book Value

First things first: you need to know what a fair price looks like, so you’ll know how much to ask for your old car. The Kelly Blue Book is the most widely used pricing guide for cars that will tell you what every make and model is worth based on its condition. (Side note: if your car really is a Transformers robot in disguise, you likely won’t find its value in a book).

Also, you can compare your car to similar ones listed on Auto Trader or Edmunds. These sites also offer online tools that let you input things like mileage, specs, and condition of your car to get a recommended asking price.

Keep in mind these values are approximations and do not reflect what people might be willing to pay in your area. If quality used cars are hard to come by where you live, you may be able to get a little more from your car sale.

Keep a Service History

As Optimus Prime once said, “There are mysteries to the universe we were never meant to solve.” But your car’s service history isn’t one of them.

Knowing a car has been taken good care of can instill peace of mind in the buyer. It’s a good idea to maintain receipts and history of the car’s service, such as oil changes, so the buyer knows it hasn’t been neglected. 

Cars that have been well maintained tend to last longer, which can assure the buyer is getting a quality used car that isn’t likely to die on them in a few short months.

Fix Minor and Obvious Defects

A broken headlight, missing mirror, or door ding are hard to ignore. And even if you give a fantastic story of your car getting dinged up during an epic battle between the Autobots and Decepticons, a potential buyer doesn’t want to pay good money for visible damage or signs of wear and tear. Plus, they may wonder what else you neglected when caring for your car. Besides, they may think they’ll have to sink more money into the car than just your asking price, which could cause them to lowball you.

Clean Your Car Inside and Out

A clean car can do wonders to attract buyers. It makes it look like you’ve taken great care of the vehicle and may even make your vehicle look newer than it really is. 

If you don’t have the time to invest in cleaning your car, take it to a detailing pro who can polish it up for about $150. They’ll handle everything from vacuuming the floor mats to cleaning the windows and shining the tires, and you’ll more than recoup your investment. After all, your car is not a sentient being that can clean and maintain itself, it needs a little help.

Sell Directly to the Public

You’ll usually get more from your car if you skip the dealership altogether and opt to sell it privately. This eliminates the middleman (i.e., the dealership) so you can claim the full retail value vs. the wholesale cost.

However, keep in mind that finding a private buyer can be much like the elusive quest of Starscream in his efforts to take control of the Decepticons from Megatron — it’s going to take more effort on your part. You may need to invest in marketing and advertising, plus it may take longer to find a buyer. Still, it could end up putting anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a couple of thousand dollars extra in your pocket.


Though your car isn’t valuable as a large cache of Energon, it’s still worth something to you. You’re never obligated to take the first offer someone gives you, and more often than not, they don’t expect you to. Car dealers and private buyers alike will likely be willing to negotiate on price, so don’t hesitate to come back with a higher offer.

With a little practice, you may end up becoming a car-selling pro!

For more fun financial wisdom, head back to our blog.

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