How to Prep Your Car for Sale in Canada

Make no mistake – a clean vehicle nets a greater value when it’s time to sell.

It happens to the best of us. Our favourite manufacturer rolls out a new version of the vehicle we currently own to lights, fanfare, and great excitement. Suddenly, the apple of our driveway has lost its lustre. It’s time for a new car.

But first, you need to sell your old one. Whether it’s due to its high mileage, a fetid interior, oddball spec – or some combination of all three – a dealership or private buyer is not likely to give you top dollar for your ride without a bit of prep on the seller’s part (that’s you, buster).

Fortunately, it doesn’t take a lot of cash or an advanced degree in automotive maintenance to get one’s ride in tip top shape before hanging a for sale sign on it. In fact, with a bit of planning, pocketing extra shekels is a no-brainer.

Pro Detail

Canadian weather is notoriously hard on cars, so don’t be too proud to call in the big guns. Most professional shops charge a reasonable rate for a thorough detail job, in which they’ll do more than simply clean the crayon marks out of the upholstery and remove the apple cores that have rolled under the front seat. The carpets will be steam cleaned, sucking out years of grit and making them look new once again.

Don’t limit the scrubbing to your vehicle’s interior. The paint on a car can be surprisingly delicate, attracting scratches and swirls like lint to a cheap suit. Using professional cleaning materials, detail shops will actually remove contaminants from the paint, vanquishing irregularities that conspire to dull a car’s finish. A good wax helps protect the work and makes the paint shine.

Headlights, taillights, and exterior trim should also be given a measure of rejuvenation, especially here in Canada where those parts of a car are under constant assault from road salt and other tough conditions.

Make no mistake – a clean vehicle nets a greater value when it’s time to sell.

Pictures are Worth Thousands of Words

Yes, that’s a hackneyed old saying seemingly spouted by every art teacher in the nation. But it’s true! Making sure to capture several images of the vehicle you’re trying to sell is absolutely critical.

Many online sites offer the chance to upload multiple photos, so make good use of that generosity. Ideally, one should take these pictures in a setting where the car is the only subject, like in a empty parking lot or in a grassy field. This may not be practical for everyone, especially those who live in a city, but the intention is to make the vehicle the focus of the picture with little distraction. Parking in front of a brick wall might be an alternative solution, for example.

Standing a few feet away from your vehicle, take at least one photo that captures the entire car. If possible, take shots squarely of the car’s front and rear. This will give potential buyers the assurance you’re not trying anything nefarious like surreptitiously hiding body damage.

One doesn’t need to invest in pro-grade photography equipment, either. Most modern smartphones have a good quality camera baked into them, more than sufficient for taking photos of a car or truck.

After taking the essential photos mentioned above, move in for some closer shots of options or unique things about your car you feel are important. Perhaps your truck has a factory built-in trailer brake controller, for example. An up-close picture of that feature would be quite appealing to a shopper who is looking for that specific option.

Wordsmithing

Don’t concern yourself with trying to write a Shakespeare-worthy paean about your ten-year old Toyota Camry. Creativity is fantastic but not all shoppers will wade through a minefield of clever quips and smart remarks to learn about the car you have for sale.

Your author has first-hand experience with this phenomeon, having penned the ad you see below. While I derived satisfaction from it showing up on the front page of Reddit, the ad did not help sell my snowblower. I ended up giving it to the new owners of my old house.

SnowBlower

Instead, simply and thoroughly craft a list of all your car’s notable features. Heated seats? Mention them. Sunroof? Mention it. Navigation system? Include a picture. Be sure to include the vehicle’s year, mileage, and engine type in the advertisement as well. And please turn off your computer’s CAPS LOCK button.

Dollar Dollar Bills

Here’s where a few minutes of research can save weeks of frustration. Peruse used car websites and find a few vehicles that mirror your own in terms of model, age, and mileage. Chances are, unless you own a super-rare classic, you’ll find several examples to help you determine a fair asking price.

It is not uncommon for folks to overprice the machine they’re trying to sell, thanks to either a misread of market demand or an inexplicable personal attachment to the thing. Sometimes it’s a combination of both. Asking too many simoleons is a surefire way to weld the car you’re trying to sell to your driveway, only for the seller to suffer through several rounds of price reductions until they virtually give the thing away. Shoppers are smart and will notice if a car has been listed for an extended period of time, using that information as leverage to get a better price.

The converse is true as well. Some people underestimate the worth of their pickup truck or import-brand minivan, when those types of vehicles actually hold their value quite well. Do your homework to avoid leaving money on the table.

Shout It Out Loud

Once you’ve done all of the above, advertise as much as humanly possible. Great sites like autocatch.com attract thousands of potential buyers every day. Have a friend who’s prolific on social media? Ask them to share your ad. With these few tips in mind, you’ll be putting a sold sign on your ride in no time.

Auto Detailing Restores Pride of Ownership

Pictures are Worth Thousands of Words

Yes, that’s a hackneyed old saying seemingly spouted by every art teacher in the nation. But it’s true! Making sure to capture several images of the vehicle you’re trying to sell is absolutely critical.

Many online sites offer the chance to upload multiple photos, so make good use of that generosity. Ideally, one should take these pictures in a setting where the car is the only subject, like in a empty parking lot or in a grassy field. This may not be practical for everyone, especially those who live in a city, but the intention is to make the vehicle the focus of the picture with little distraction. Parking in front of a brick wall might be an alternative solution, for example.

Standing a few feet away from your vehicle, take at least one photo that captures the entire car. If possible, take shots squarely of the car’s front and rear. This will give potential buyers the assurance you’re not trying anything nefarious like surreptitiously hiding body damage.

One doesn’t need to invest in pro-grade photography equipment, either. Most modern smartphones have a good quality camera baked into them, more than sufficient for taking photos of a car or truck.

After taking the essential photos mentioned above, move in for some closer shots of options or unique things about your car you feel are important. Perhaps your truck has a factory built-in trailer brake controller, for example. An up-close picture of that feature would be quite appealing to a shopper who is looking for that specific option.

Wordsmithing

Don’t concern yourself with trying to write a Shakespeare-worthy paean about your ten-year old Toyota Camry. Creativity is fantastic but not all shoppers will wade through a minefield of clever quips and smart remarks to learn about the car you have for sale.

Your author has first-hand experience with this phenomeon, having penned the ad you see below. While I derived satisfaction from it showing up on the front page of Reddit, the ad did not help sell my snowblower. I ended up giving it to the new owners of my old house.

SnowBlower

Instead, simply and thoroughly craft a list of all your car’s notable features. Heated seats? Mention them. Sunroof? Mention it. Navigation system? Include a picture. Be sure to include the vehicle’s year, mileage, and engine type in the advertisement as well. And please turn off your computer’s CAPS LOCK button.

Dollar Dollar Bills

Here’s where a few minutes of research can save weeks of frustration. Peruse used car websites and find a few vehicles that mirror your own in terms of model, age, and mileage. Chances are, unless you own a super-rare classic, you’ll find several examples to help you determine a fair asking price.

It is not uncommon for folks to overprice the machine they’re trying to sell, thanks to either a misread of market demand or an inexplicable personal attachment to the thing. Sometimes it’s a combination of both. Asking too many simoleons is a surefire way to weld the car you’re trying to sell to your driveway, only for the seller to suffer through several rounds of price reductions until they virtually give the thing away. Shoppers are smart and will notice if a car has been listed for an extended period of time, using that information as leverage to get a better price.

The converse is true as well. Some people underestimate the worth of their pickup truck or import-brand minivan, when those types of vehicles actually hold their value quite well. Do your homework to avoid leaving money on the table.

Shout It Out Loud

Once you’ve done all of the above, advertise as much as humanly possible. Great sites like autocatch.com attract thousands of potential buyers every day. Have a friend who’s prolific on social media? Ask them to share your ad. With these few tips in mind, you’ll be putting a sold sign on your ride in no time.

Auto Detailing Restores Pride of Ownership


  • FILED UNDER
  • maintenance
  • high mileage
  • Detailing
  • Resale Value
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