How to Increase the Resale Value of Your Car

The time has come. You’re finally ready to trade in your current ride for a bright, shiny new car. But how can you get the most bang for your used car’s buck? Here are six expert tips to help you do just that.

6 Expert Tip to Get More Money Selling a Used Car

1. Dealership Trade-in > Private Sale

One of the big myths out there is that you’re better off selling your car yourself rather than trading it in at a dealership. The fact is, most car dealers want to give you top dollar for your trade for two simple reasons: They want your business and they need your car for their used-car inventory. That means you’re in command — you’re the commodity.

A trade-in also enables you to pay for a down payment without cash, which is especially great if you’re buying a Civic with bad credit. You may also get a tax break by trading your car in at a dealership too, since the price of your trade-in is deducted from the sales price of the new car you are buying.

While you may get a slightly higher price for your car by selling it yourself, is it worth the hassle? You’ll have to advertise it in the classifieds and online, respond to dozens of inquiries, and deal with a lot of strangers coming to your home. Private sales also open you up to potential thieves and scammers.

2. Cleanliness is Next to Carliness

When it comes to increasing your car’s resale value, its appearance is a lot more than skin deep. The first thing people will notice is the condition of your vehicle. Here are some car cleaning tips to ensure you get more money when you sign over the title.

Start with the exterior. Give your car a thorough wash with a quality automotive detergent, avoiding household detergents like dish soap that can damage a car’s finish. Then, apply wax and polish that will put a deep shine on your car’s paint job. When doing so, look for superficial scratches that can be buffed out with a little elbow grease.

Good Car Cleaning Tips


Examine the headlights. If they look cloudy and faded, many DIY automotive lens-cleaning products will restore them to their brilliant, new-car luster.

Next, it’s time to give your wheels and tires a makeover. Get down and scrub in the wheel’s nooks and crannies to rid it of accumulated brake dust, dirt, and grime. Apply a long-lasting tire shine product to your tire’s sidewalls to make them look like new.

Walk around your vehicle and check for any obvious damage, such as a cracked taillight, frayed windshield wipers, or loose rubber seals around door frames and windows. If you come across any large, unsightly dents, consider having them professionally removed by a dent-repair service.

How to Details Inside a Vehicle


Now, let’s move on to your car’s interior. First off, remove your front and rear floormats and use a stiff brush to loosen dirt, followed by vacuuming. If the floormats are too worn, consider buying new ones (we can order new Honda floormats in Phoenix — just ask!). 

Then, use that same stiff brush and vacuum to clean the car’s carpeting. Vacuum all the nooks and crannies. This is the perfect time to break out your Honda Odyssey’s HondaVAC, which makes a parent’s life so much easier.

Next, it’s time to use an automotive plastic/vinyl protectant and make everything sparkle; especially the dash. It’s okay to use a regular glass cleaner on your car’s windows, inside and out. Clean leather seats with a quality leather cleaner designed for automotive interiors.

Sounds like a lot of work? Well, it is. So, you may want to have your car professionally detailed. Speak with your nearest car dealer and service center to see if they have any recommendations. 

3. Papers, Please

You know that you’ve taken good care of your car, but now’s the time to prove it. Gather up all the maintenance and service records that you can find and put them in a folder; preferably in chronological order. You should also have your current registration and insurance handy, too. 

Can’t find all those documents? If you’ve been keeping up with your service appointments, you can have your mechanic or auto service center email, fax, mail, or have those maintenance records printed off for you to pick up. 

And if your car is due for service, get it done before you sell it or trade it in. Contact any of our Valley Honda Dealers in Arizona to schedule a service appointment.

4. Make Sure Everything Works

Your trade-in value will quickly plummet if there’s something mechanically wrong with your vehicle. If you have any check engine lights showing or something like an obvious oil leak, find out what’s wrong and determine whether the problem is an inexpensive fix. It’s also cheap and easy to replace burned-out turn-signal/headlight bulbs and windshield wiper blades. This is also a good time to make sure all fluids are topped off in the engine compartment.

Check Engine Light


5. Drive Less. Get More.

A vehicle’s mileage is a major factor in determining its resale value. If you can avoid or minimize driving your car for a while, great. If not, then don’t plan on taking any cross-country road trips. The less mileage on the odometer before you sell it, the better.

6. For What It’s Worth

Do you know how much your car is worth in today’s market? Websites such as Kelly Blue Book and Edmunds.com have tools that can help you calculate your car’s estimated trade-in value. Our Valley Honda Dealers can also provide you with a trade-in estimate. Contact us to get a quote.

Do you still owe money on your car? Then you’ll have to first pay it off to get the title to the vehicle if you plan on selling it yourself.

Trade Car in Phoenix


Get the Highest Trade-In Value for Your Car

If you’re in the market for new Hondas for sale near Phoenix, then visit one of our conveniently located Valley Honda Dealers throughout the greater Phoenix area for the highest trade-in value for your car. Check out our current Honda offers and save on our extensive inventory of top-quality Certified Pre-Owned Hondas. Godspeed!