Do You Need To Detail A Car Before Selling It?

Do You Need To Detail A Car Before Selling It_


This blog post will answer pressing questions for a car owner like you wanting to sell your car. 

You’ll find out:

  • If it’s worth detailing a car before selling it
  • How you can detail your car before selling it
  • Other things you need to get ready when selling your car

If you want to get the most out of your car when selling it or trading it in, this post is definitely for you. 

Let’s drive right in. 

Is It Worth Detailing Your Car Before Selling It?

Yes, detailing the interior and exterior of your car is important before selling it. It keeps the resale value high. 


Because prospective car buyers have an intrinsic expectation to find and buy a car that’s 100% working and in order. 

Think about it:

Only a handful of people nowadays buy a “project-car”. This only happens when they find a rare-find vintage model. 

project car resale


Most people pick a car that’s visually almost good as new. Clutter and filth is such an eyesore, they’ll be looking the other way in a split second. 

If you buy a used car, you surely wouldn’t want to be cleaning what you just paid your hard-earned money for. 

You’d want something you can immediately use, something presentable, something that’d convince it’s a good buy although it’s not brand new. 

Here’s another thing to keep in mind:

How clean your car looks when viewed by prospective buyers reflects the care it received from you as the owner. 

If they see it’s messy and dirty, they have high reasons to believe your car is not in its best condition. They’d immediately think you haven’t taken good care of it.

This fact echoes the words of RJ de Vera of Meguiar, a car care product company. He says, “If you give your interior a good fresh, clean scent… it leaves a good impression”.

And that’s what you’re aiming for when a buyer checks your car out. 

If your car is detailed inside and out, it’ll leave a good impression, and it’d be a major selling point for your car. 

Used car fast resale

A Detailed Car Limits Depreciation

A car with a sick engine drives its resale price down. 

One reason for this is an engine that overheats quickly because of the layers of dirt encasing it. If it has been detailed regularly, the engine will run better, and it stays healthy until you put it out for sale. 

There won’t be significant issues which also means no additional cost for you before you make money from it. 

A regularly cleaned engine keeps a competitive price for your car. 

How Do I Detail My Car Before Selling It?

Here’s a rough step-by-step process for detailing your car before selling it. If you want an in-depth version of it, you can head on to our in-depth interior detailing process post

Detail car before reselling
  1. Remove Loose Trash

  • Bring a trash bag along and collect bottles, takeout food containers, loose wraps, and other scraps on the seats, floor, cup holders, pockets, and compartments. 
  • If your car has a trunk, don’t forget to empty it too. 
  •  Collect personal items like car documents and secure them someplace safe. (Don’t forget where you put it!)
  1. Vacuum To Get Rid Of Stubborn Dust And Dirt

Go over the:

  • Dashboard 
  • Center console
  • Seats
  • Door panels
  • Carpet and floor mat
  • Other nooks, crannies, and hard-to-reach areas
  1. Wipe Down The Interior With Car Cleaner

Using an automotive cleaning solution wipe down components and brush nooks and crannies, and other areas where dust collects in your car. 

You’d want it sparkling clean to make it look as pristine as it gets. 

You can merge steps 2 and 3 if you have a car cleaning gun. It cleans thoroughly, but quicker than manual wiping and brushing. 

The car cleaning gun is impressive most especially for nook, crannies, and hard-to-reach areas of your car.

  1. Wash The Exterior

  • Soften dust and dirt sticking to the paintwork by soaking it in water first
  • Using a car cleaning gun, go over every surface and trim to dislodge stubborn dust
  • If you wipe down the car manually, rinse with water and wipe to dry
  1. Clean The Engine Bay

  • Warm up the engine for at least 5 minutes
  • Apply degreaser
  • Disconnect the battery and tuck the exposed wire. Cover it with a plastic bag along with other external wirings
  • Spray the car cleaning gun on parts that need cleaning 
  • Wipe with a microfiber cloth to dry

12 Other Things To Prepare When Selling Your Car

Getting your car detailed is just one slice of the cake. Here are other things you need to prepare to get your car enticing to buy. 

Prepare car for resale
  • Change mechanical fluids like engine oil
  • Replace the battery if it’s old
  • Have the tires serviced
  • Adjust parking brake when needed
  • Replace hoses and belts
  • Replace wiper blades if worn out
  • Replace burned out lights
  • Lubricate hinges
  • Remove personalized sticker and plates
  • Fix scratches, dings, chips, and nicks
  • Fix knobs, handles, and switches that aren’t working properly
  • Service the A/C if now working well

These might seem like a lot to prepare but doing these steps can mean the difference between making your car a hot or cold prospect for buyers. 

The main principle:

Get the car drive-ready for its new owner. This is a fool-proof bait in hooking buyers to get your car. 

When it comes to detailing it, you don’t have to exhaust all day to do a thorough clean. The car cleaning gun will get your car thoroughly detailed effortlessly. 

You can choose car cleaning models here. 

It doesn’t just work for car interior parts, it’s also great for the exterior, especially edges, trims, and other hard-to-reach areas. (The engine bay got a lot of those)

So, do you need to detail your car before selling it?

Yes, you do. It doesn’t only help it get sold fast, it also allows you to get sold at a good price. 

High car resale value


A pristine, brand-new-looking car is a sure magnet for second-hand car buyers. 

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