How to Get Your Car Ready For Sale

Car sale

Selling a car can be a daunting process – for many people it’s the highest-value sale they’ve been in control of, and it can be difficult to prepare and advertise the car to the right potential buyers.

To manage your concerns about the upcoming sale, there are just five things to do to ensure your car’s in perfect shape to find a new owner.

Fix It Up

The first step to any car sale is to get a car service at a trusted mechanic.

No matter how long you’ve owned the car, getting a service is essential before beginning a sale. Common fixes include replacing old tires, fixing up scratches and dents, and repairing malfunctioning or out-of-date electronics. Proving that you’ve got up-to-date vehicle safety checks and a roadworthy certificate will also be an important part of attracting buyers.

Advertise the recent service and repairs when it comes to selling your car! Buyers will want to know that they’re not inheriting old problems.

Get Cleaning

Though superficial, a big factor in a buyer’s decision to purchase a car is its cleanliness. Is the windscreen grimy? Is there dog hair in the footwells? What’s that weird stain on the seat?

Some people might prefer taking their car to a professional cleaning service before heading to sale, but there are ways of recreating that new-car look at home.

The outside:

If you’ve got access to a pressure washer start by going over the car with that, follow up with a soapy sponge, and then pressure wash it once again. For a stainless finish, dry with microfibre towels.

If you don’t have a pressure washer, a soapy sponge along with a car cleaner (available at auto stores and most supermarkets) will work fine.

The inside:

The first step here is to go over the inside with a vacuum. But to get the true new-car feel make sure to go over the smaller areas such as seat lining and the hard-to-get spaces between panels.

Follow a detailed car clean list for tips on how to shine up your headlights, remove lingering odour, and clean old floor mats.

Gather the Paperwork

Ensuring you’ve got all the correct paperwork for a sale doesn’t have to be a headache. Car sales laws can vary from state to state, but legally in Victoria, you’ll need a:

  • Roadworthy certificate
  • Vehicle transfer form
  • Copy of the registration certificate

For the benefit of the buyer, it’s best to provide the car’s full service history, your own photo identification, and a full record of all parts of the sale (addresses, dates, finances). Going above and beyond to ensure legality and trust will make you stand out as a reputable seller, attracting more buyers and making your car worth more.

Value Your Car

Cars depreciate in value over time, so it can be tricky to figure out what a car you bought for $10,000 five years ago is worth now, especially when you take into consideration factors such as kilometre count and service history.

The simplest method is to search for similar cars online and compare to get an idea of your car’s current value. For more detailed valuation you can look into professional evaluators, or do further research on valuation factors. Remember to keep your price negotiable and competitive, while being firm on your lowest asking figure.


You’ve had the car serviced, cleaned, documented and evaluated, but none of this will be much help if you can’t get the car in front of people interested in buying it.

Where to sell?

It’s a given that most car sales are conducted online now. The largest car sales website in Australia is, followed by sites such as Gumtree and eBay. If the car is specialised or vintage, consider advertising on online forums relating to those. A lot of online sales are also conducted through community groups – head to Facebook and search for ‘car sales’ or buy-swap-sell groups in your area.

When communicating with potential buyers it’s important to be professional, prompt in your replies, and clear on details.

Don’t discount a good old fashioned sticker in the window either!

Break out the camera (or smartphone)

One of the first things to interest or turn away a buyer is the quality of the photos. Good quality photos (but not too fancy – the buyer wants to know it’s the real deal) will mean that you are taken seriously from the outset.

In general, the best way to take good photos of your car is to take clear, in-focus photos from multiple angles, and avoid shadows.

There are a few different elements to preparing a car to be sold, from legal matters to scrubbing food crumbs out of seat lining. By covering the five steps above you’ll be well on your way to impressing potential buyers with a car that’s had a dealership-worthy treatment.