Detailing is the art of trying to get a car looking, feeling, and even smelling like new again, but is it worth doing before you sell your car? This will ultimately depend on the condition of the car you’re trying to sell has been kept. You wouldn’t detail a junked car, would you?
If you’re looking to sell, say, an older Honda Civic that was your daily driver, getting it detailed would definitely raise the value of your junk car. Dealerships would see your car and think you must have loved and cared for it based on how nice it looks from the detail.
If you’re trying to sell it to a private individual, you can use that detail work as leverage in price negotiations. If you are selling any product, you want that product to look as appealing as possible to entice sales. This is no different than with a used car.
How Detailing Works
A reasonable detailing job could run you between 100 to 200 dollars based on where you live, and it includes a variety of work. This work is done both externally and internally of the car.
Externally, the company detailing your car would wash and dry it by hand, making use of specialized products for your car. They would then use a clay bar to remove anything left on the vehicle after the wash, leaving it clean and smooth for the polish and wax.
The polishing process removes tiny layers of the clear coat to get any surface scratches and imperfections to disappear, while the wax gives the car a glossy coat and a protective layer on the paint.
We all know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but if you’re buying a used car the exterior condition is a huge part of the deal. People aren’t interested in cars that show age or wear and tear.
Internally, the people detailing your car would vacuum your mats, carpet, seats, trunk, and any other area that needs it. If you’re like me who, occasionally in a hurry, has lunch in their car, then this is great for getting some of those lost crumbs out.
The detailers would brush and scrub out any stains on your carpets and mats, as well as steam clean some of those tougher stains. The windshields and windows would be cleaned with a special glass cleaner and if there is any leather it would receive a special soap and leather cleaner.
All this work gives the impression your old car is coming straight out of the dealership. They even use perfume to give it that “new car smell” everybody loves. Some people would even tell you to get your car detailed every other year but that’s up to you.
When Is Detailing Worth It?
What if the car you’re trying to sell is totaled or severely damaged and you want to get rid of it. You would probably look into junking your car, scrapping, or recycling it.
Although the car seems worthless, luckily there are buyers for totaled cars. Detailing a car in this scenario doesn’t make a lot of sense and could end up costing a pretty penny.
Depending on the condition of your car, detailing it and getting it back to working order could come too close to its current market value and if you’re unlucky, well exceed past it. Once a vehicle becomes junks there’s really no purpose in trying to fix it up. Its fate has been decided and its fate is to be torn apart for scrap.
However, if you’re lucky enough the car you want to get rid of is a classic or vintage, someone might want to fix it up. But even in this scenario getting it detailed would only cost you money because the buyer would have to replace most of the parts, anyway, getting it cleaned and detailed again after it’s fixed. So, if I were you, I’d stay away from a detail job.
The bottom line when it comes to selling damaged cars is to just sell them how they are, according to USNews. In some cases, you might want to clean them a little if the inside is particularly dirty, but for the most part, don’t worry about it.
Getting your car detailed before selling it is a great idea that will make you more money in the sale. People looking at a detailed car will think it was lovingly taken care of and their perceived value of the car will raise.
However, if it’s a damaged car and it doesn’t run, do not bother detailing it. There are businesses that buy totaled cars, which means you can sell your vehicle