by Ayvaunn Penn, Your Black World
For many people it is thrilling to get rid of an old vehicle and get a new one. That said, negotiating numbers with sly car dealers is probably everyone’s least favorite part of the process. When it comes to trying to get the most money out of your old car, you can give yourself some advantages simply by cleaning it and doing some small, pocket-friendly repairs.
According to the manager of vehicle evaluation for Kelly Blue Book, “You could probably negotiate an extra $300 to $500 if [your car is] properly cleaned.” Lauren Fix, the spokesperson for the Car Care Council, says that average vehicles in private sales can earn up to $2,000 or more in additional value simply from minor repairs. CNN Money so kindly shares 8 tips with car owners who would like to increase the value of their vehicles:
- Wax: “Break out the wax and polish your way to adding value to your car….When washing your car, experts advise against using household detergents, like dish soap. To preserve your car’s finish, use products that were created for the purpose.”
- Keep Lights Bright: “Nothing says “worn out beater” like dingy headlights. There are a number of headlight cleaning products on the market that can make those plastic headlight covers bright and clear in a matter of minutes…If you’ve tried window cleaners before to no avail, they failed because they weren’t made for this job.
- Shiny wheels: “Shiny wheels look new and can add to your vehicle’s luster and potential value. So, take the time to get in there and clean out dirt, dust and grime from the wheels. Also, swab a tire shine product on the tire sidewalls to make them look new, too.”
- Inside jobs: “Pull out those removable floor mats. If they’re cleanable, clean them. If they’ve got big holes in them or stains that only a flame thrower will obliterate, you’re just going to have to buy new ones….Once that’s done, clean the rest of the interior. Clean and treat the leather, if there is any, and vacuum and clean the carpeting.”
- Get your papers in order: “Sure, you say you’ve had your car maintained regularly and the battery is practically brand new, but can you prove it? This is why you should keep a folder of maintenance and repair records on your car…shows you really cared about your car and that’s what a potential owner wants to know. Also, get a vehicle history report from CarFax or Experian and present it with the car.”
- Make easy fixes: “If your car has a burned out headlight or taillight, replace it. If, at some point in your car’s life, some miscreant popped the chrome badge off the grill, you should replace that, too, just so long as the replacement doesn’t cost a lot. Also, make sure there are no warning lights — a.k.a. “idiot lights” — glowing on the dashboard. If the “windshield washer fluid low” warning is on, top it off.”
- Consider paying the pros: “If your car’s worth more than $40,000 or so, it may be worth paying professional auto detailers to clean and polish it thoroughly…With a car like this, the difference between super-clean and dirty could be thousands of dollars, so it will be worth paying to have the work done right, said Lauren Fix of the Car Care Council.”
- Don’t have a scratch-and-dent sale: “Don’t think a dent isn’t worth fixing, it is. While it probably isn’t worth investing in serious body work, some simple scratches and parking lot dings can be repaired without incurring huge bills. Many minor paint scratches and scuffs can be polished out. For dents, there are reputable firms that specialize in dent removal, said Kelley Blue Book’s Alec Gutierrez. Be careful, though, not to resort to shoddy bodywork that could actually reduce the car’s value.
Ayvaunn Penn is a spoken word artist and an award winning writer completing her degree in English and philosophy. For more of her witty-word works click here. To have your original poetry featured by Ms. Penn on Your Black Poets, click here.