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13 Ways to Increase The Resale Value of Your Vehicle

The car market has been tight. People have been getting top dollar for their trade-ins for the last two years. However, many people put off buying new cars. The lack of inventory made trading up impossible.

You may be thinking about a new car now that inventory is increasing. However, prices for used vehicles are also falling. What can you do to increase the value of your used car?

Get Rid of the Bumper Stickers

We know you love your stick-figure family. About half of all buyers love your political candidate. You are proud of your honor student. However, bumper stickers devalue your car. No one wants to buy your car; they want to buy their new car. So, spend the time to remove your old bumper stickers.

Repair or Replace Broken Windshields

Nothing makes a car look as busted as a broken windshield. Even if the windshield is safe, it makes a car look old and worn out. Plus, the vehicle might not pass inspection if the crack is in the wrong spot.

A broken windshield might take $500 or more off your trade’s value. However, you may be able to replace it for a much lower cost. First, check your car insurance. Many insurance companies have windshield replacement as part of their policies. With this service, you may be able to replace a windshield for free or for a low deductible.

Not covered? Contact windshield replacement companies to get a quote. For most cars, windshield replacement is affordable and easy. They will even come to you. Replacing the windshield yourself will usually mean more money in your pocket than if you sell it as-is.

Inspection Stickers

If you are selling an older used car, your buyer might worry about it passing inspection. If your inspection sticker is expired, you should get your vehicle inspected. It is inexpensive and gives your buyer peace of mind. STA handles state inspections and can help you get your car ready.


Buyers want to see a history of regular maintenance. If you have not regularly maintained your car, you cannot go back in time and fix that. However, you can handle scheduled maintenance before you sell the car. We can perform factory-scheduled maintenance for your vehicle and provide documentation of our inspection process.

Get Rid of Check Engine Lights

A check engine light can make your resale value plummet. However, fixing them may be cheaper than you think. Come by our shop for a diagnosis of your check engine light. Once we know what is wrong, we can give you an estimate for repair costs. Then, you can decide whether it is worth repairing for resale.

Squash the Smells

Does the inside of your car smell? Nose blindness means that you might not be able to answer that question. Assume that your car does smell a little funky. Spend time cleaning all soft surfaces thoroughly. Sprinkle them with baking soda and let it sit. Then, vacuum thoroughly. After that, you may want to steam clean them, as well. You can also use an ozone-based air treatment.

Those steps should work for most smells. What about smoking? In reality, non-smokers do not want to buy a car that smells like smoke. It can cut your resale value by thousands. That is when you may want to turn to the professionals. A car detailer may have tricks and products to remove the smoke smell.

Ozone machines work great to remove smells. You can get an ozone machine for around $75. That may seem expensive, but it can make your trade-in value thousands higher. Plus, it is reusable.

Find Your Records

Today’s buyers are going to run a report on your vehicle. It will tell them if you have been in any accidents. It will also tell them something about your maintenance history. Of course, not all garages report every maintenance item. So, if you have records of regular maintenance, include them.

Buyers want to know about oil changes, tire rotation, and other essential maintenance. You also want to include records for major repairs if you have an older vehicle. A car that has already had a major age-related repair is more valuable than a car that will soon need that repair!

If you do not have records, talk to your garage. If you use a regular garage, it will have your service history. You can ask for a printout before you sell. We can print out records for our customers to help them with resales.

Look at the Tires

Customers want tires that are safe to drive. However, replacing your tires may cost you more than you recover when you sell the car. That is where tire resale places may be helpful. If your tires have excessive wear or damage, consider replacing them with used tires. Used tires can increase your resale value at a fraction of the cost of new tires.

Polish the Headlights

Over time, headlights can get scratched and fade. Fortunately, it is easy to improve their appearance. You probably even have the supplies you need at home. You can use toothpaste and a toothbrush to scrub your headlights. The mild abrasives in the toothpaste can polish out the scratches. You can also opt for commercial headlight restoration supplies.

You should consider a replacement if your headlights, brake lights, or other lights are too cloudy. At STA, we can replace broken bulbs or light fixtures to prepare your vehicle for resale.

Replace the Wiper Blades

If you sell to an individual, you want everything in working condition. That means you want to ensure your washer fluid is full and your wiper blades work. Replacing wiper blades is easy and inexpensive. Not sure how to replace your wiper blades? For a small fee, we can replace your blades for you.

However, this may not be necessary if you trade in your vehicle. As long as the wipers work, a car dealership will not discount the value of your trade if you need replacement blades. So, before you tackle this improvement, think about your buyer.

Unrepaired Damage

If your vehicle looks like it has been in a wreck, you will take a hit on the resale value. The size of the blow depends on the amount of damage. You might think it will be cheaper to trade in the vehicle instead of getting it repaired, especially if insurance will not cover it. However, you may be able to get bodywork from an affordable repair shop. If you can fix the damage, you will increase the resale value.

Dings, Dents, and Scratches

Everyday driving means wear and tear on your vehicle. Before you know it, you may have dings, dents, and scratches. While they may seem inevitable, they may not be as permanent as you think. Most auto body places offer restoration packages. They may call them to lease restoration packages. They are designed to eliminate the minor physical imperfections your car collects. While people use them to ensure they do not get financial penalties at the end of a car lease, they are also great for sellers. They can move your car from good to excellent condition and increase your trade value.

Remove Your Modifications

You limit the resale market if you have done much work to make your car your own. So, you may need to reverse your changes. That can mean reinstalling factory stereos, removing extra lighting, and removing your custom rims.

However, this depends on the type of vehicle that you have. Some cars are sought after because people customize them. If your vehicle falls into that category, you may need to research whether removing the options is good.

The great thing about removing modifications is that there is a robust second-hand market for many of these modifications. You may be able to recoup the cost of some of them.



Specialized Truck & Auto is here to help make sure your vehicle is running well to help with your resale. Furthermore, we can also help you make sure you are making the right choice in buying your next car or truck. Contact us for more information on scheduling an inspection with us.