Five Sneaky Ways To Save Hundreds When Selling Your Car

by Hank Coleman

How to save when selling your carRecently I sold my beloved BMW and am currently looking for a new car to replace it. I took my car to one of those places with signs out front that say, “buy, sell, or trade”. So, I sold it to them. I had them make me an offer, and the offer was fair. It was also several hundred dollars more than what I had expected to receive.

But, that got me thinking. Could I have gotten more for my car? Could I have saved myself some money by preparing for the sale earlier? How far are you willing to go to save a few hundred dollars?

Here are a few ways that you can squeeze out a little more profit in your pocket when you are selling your car.

Delay Some Non-Critical Maintenance

Now I am not saying to drive around in a car that is unsafe and about to fall apart. Don’t drive a car shouldn’t be on the road because you are waiting to get some critical maintenance done to save a few bucks.

But, I would recommend timing your routine car maintenance so that you sell your car before you have to complete the maintenance. For example, an oil change for a late model BMW is over $125.

If you delayed changing that oil until you sold your car, that is money that you didn’t spend and money that stays in your pocket. Do you need new tires? Have you been putting off getting a tune up or your air conditioner looked at for the summer? These can be simple things to put off to keep more money for yourself and save. Of course, you could also find yourself having to concede money for whoever you sell your car to for the needed repairs if they are significant and obvious.

Show Up With An Empty Gas Tank

With a lot of cars and the price of gasoline nowadays, you can actually save a lot of money by showing up on fumes to the car lot when you want to trade in or sell your used car. For example, if gas is $4 per gallon and you have a 20 gallon tank, you just saved yourself $80 in gas.

Some of us also have a gas guzzler that can cost even more than $80 to fill up. This is a simple way to save a good size chunk of change when you are selling your car.

Get A Car Wash And Clean The Inside

You would be surprised by how many people drive onto the car lot with a dirty car. It only takes a few minutes of your time and less than a roll of quarters to get a good car wash and vacuum. It is, without a doubt, money well spent. You have to think about the first impression that you are making with your car when you show it to a potential buyer.

This time we are not talking about delaying paying for a cost. We are talking about spending a little bit of money to earn a higher amount when you sell your car. Are there scuff marks on the seats, left over cereal from your kids, etc.? Cleaning the car or even paying for a detail can help you earn a larger price when you sell.

The old saying is often true that you have to sometimes spend money to make money. This is definitely the case when you are selling your car and want to receive the most amount of money possible for your car and time getting it ready.

Fix The Obvious Things Before You Go

Another thing that you want to do is to fix simple issues that a dealer or potential buyer will see right away. Certain automobile insurance companies can fix cosmetic issues for a minor deductible.

To get an idea of an insurance company that covers these cosmetic issues, check out these automobile insurance quotes from the Hartford. Fixing the obvious issues with your car such as needing new windshield wipers can help you make a great first impression and can help you receive the most amount for your trade in.

Sell Your Car Right Before Your Loan Payment

If you can sell your car right before your car loan payment is due, then that money you were going to spend can stay in your pocket right where it belongs. This is one of the easiest ways to save money when you sell your car.

Like when you are paying your rent, you pay your car loan for the next month. So, if you pay your loan payment on the first of the money, you are paying for the rest of the month (the four months following).

Have you ever sold a car either to a dealership or in a private sale to someone else? Have you tried to save a few bucks here or there? How did you do it? How did you get top dollar for your car when you sold? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below.

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About Hank Coleman

Hank Coleman is the founder of Money Q&A, an Iraq combat veteran, a Dr. Pepper addict, and a self-proclaimed investing junkie. He has written extensively for many nationally known financial websites and publications. Hank holds a Master’s Degree in Finance and is currently pursuing his Certified Financial Planner credentials. Email him directly at Hank[at]

Hank Coleman has written 545 articles on Money Q&A. Learn more about Money Q&A on Twitter @MoneyQandA and @HankColeman.

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