How Elbow Grease Can Improve the Value of a Used Car

If you are getting ready to trade, there are many ways to improve the value and quality of your car without spending too much money. If you’re willing to put in a little elbow grease, your improvements could mean the difference between a good rating and a fair one OR a fair rating and a poor one. Either way, you’ll get more money out of the deal.

how elbow grease can improve the value of a used car
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This is especially important if you are trading in a luxury car or if you are looking to buy one. You need to get maximum value from a dealer. Keep in mind that a typical dealership will pay less than an individual because the dealership will have to raise the price to make a profit. Your goal should be inexpensive answers to all of the car’s most obvious problems.

Dig Through Paperwork

Before you even start cleaning up your car, dig through your paperwork. Find everything you can to prove you have taken good care of the car. This includes receipts for oil changes, new tires, and other improvements. Dealers will appreciate this and may improve their offer for a car.

Clean, Wax, and Polish

Don’t let dirt or a dull paint job fool you; a sun-worn vehicle may still have some life left in its coat. If you are selling, you don’t want to pay for a new paint job. Instead, try giving your pre-owned vehicle a good wash, dry, wax, and polish.

Cars come off the lot looking shiny and new because they are regularly cleaned, waxed, and polished. Giving your car the same treatment as one on the lot can restore the color and vibrancy of most vehicles.

Check Your Lights

Dim or mismatched headlights can make any vehicle look more wartorn than it is. Take time to clean your lights properly to make sure there isn’t any film or residue causing odd lighting. If mismatched lights cause color or intensity differences, buy matching bulbs and update the lights to improve the look and value of your car.

Wheels That Shine

If that clean, wax, and polish didn’t improve the shine in your wheels, it might be time to look at replacement tires, wheels, or hubcaps. If you utilize your truck for more function, you may consider removing the hubcap and doing a great job with the polish instead of maintaining hubcaps that can’t keep up with your wear and tear. If you have one bad tire, consider calling around to find a used replacement tire that doesn’t look bad. It could upgrade your trade-in value by hundreds while costing you a mere $25 or $50.

Interior Quality

Keeping the car interior clean or truck will improve the value of the vehicle and how people treat it. If you don’t want to have your vehicle detailed, many cleaners, accessories, and locations offer help detailing your car.

How does your carpet look? Can your floor mats be cleaned? If not, new floor mats can be inexpensive. Plus, they will hide unsightly stains from years of use.

Make Necessary and Low-Cost Fixes

If your car warning lights are glowing, you will almost certainly have to address the problem or end up losing money on your trade-in. Definitely do the low-cost fixes that the owner can do or that can be done for little money. You need the repair cost to be affordable. For you, it doesn’t matter if the repair really increases the value and longevity of your vehicle. You are selling it and just need it to appear like a healthy vehicle in order to get a fair trade-in value.

If you are selling it to an individual, however, the stakes are a little higher. You want to be able to state categorically that improvements you made will extend the car’s road life.

Minor repairs add value beyond their cost. However, if the repairs cost beyond the vehicle’s worth, you should simply trade and start again.

Jasper has been an enthusiast of the automotive and IT industries since the age of 16. He independently writes on the auto industry's recent happenings.