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Should You Repair Your Car Before Selling?

Selling a vehicle requires a lot of preparation. Obviously, you need to make sure you have a replacement vehicle. You need to decide whether to sell privately or trade into a dealership. And you need to appraise your vehicle to make sure you get a good price for it. However, before you do any of this, you should make sure your vehicle is in the right condition to sell. If your vehicle has body damage, it may make sense to invest a little money in repairs to help sell it.

As a disclaimer, this article assumes any damage to your vehicle is not covered by insurance. If you have damage covered by insurance, go fix it already!!

Easy Fixes

When someone comes to take a look at your vehicle, they will check the tires, the headlights and brake lights, the windows, and the paint. These components give a good indication of whether a vehicle has been well maintained. If you didn’t take care of your tires, why would you take care of your brakes, your oil, or your engine? Replacing things like wiper blades or headlights is easy and affordable.


Another simple thing you’ll want to do before selling your vehicle, is to clean it thoroughly. Wash the exterior, clean out the rims, and, ideally, wax it. On the inside, start by removing all of your possessions! Your prospective buyer wants to picture herself in the vehicle and your gym socks make that impossible. Next, clean out the ancient latte stain from the cupholder, vacuum, shampoo the carpet, and make the dash shine. Chances are, you don’t need me to tell you how to wash your car. But you probably aren’t as confident when it comes to costly repair decisions.

Visible Damage

Online marketplaces for used cars offer so much selection and most shoppers won’t waste their time inquiring about a vehicle with obvious signs of damage. For example, if your vehicle has a broken bumper or cracked windshield, you may struggle to sell it. These fixes aren’t costly and won’t take long. But, for the trouble a prospective buyer would have to go through to replace it on their own after buying, most will expect a discount far greater than the cost of the repair. And, as mentioned above, if the surface demonstrates neglect, prospective buyers will wonder what’s below.

Therefore, if your vehicle has significant body or glass damage, you should bring it to Universal Collision Centre. Our repair standards are second to none thanks to our seven-step process, excellent repair facility, and highly skilled technicians. If you invest a little money in repairs, it will be much easier to sell your car.

However, you must make sure you estimate your car’s value (as if it was not damaged) and the cost to repair beforehand. Putting $2,000 into a car worth $5,000 doesn’t make much sense. But, performing a $2,000 repair for a car worth $15,000 makes more sense. If you do your homework, you can easily recoup that $2,000. Especially considering your vehicle will generate more interest once it’s in good shape.

At the same time, used car shoppers won’t expect your 2010 Corolla to be in perfect condition. Scratches and dings are the inevitable cost of driving, especially when using the Ring Road in January can feel like signing up for the Dakar Rally. So, if your vehicle is a bit older, prospective buyers won’t care about a few blemishes. In fact, you’ll have saved them the trouble of making the first mark.

Trading In or Selling

Your decision to repair damage or not should also be informed by how you plan to sell your vehicle. If you’re selling privately, it makes sense to pay for repairs the next owner will likely require. However, if you’re trading in your vehicle at a dealership, there’s less incentive to have the repairs performed beforehand. Most dealerships have their own body shop, or partner with one, and have access to repairs performed at, or near, cost. They can fix your cracked bumper for less than you can, so keep that in mind while negotiating your trade value!

Bottom Line

Deciding whether or not to repair cosmetic damage before selling your vehicle can be a difficult decision. But, if you get an estimate for the damage, and an estimate for the value of your vehicle, you can make an informed decision. And, if you choose to repair with UCC, you’ll get first-class workmanship and expedient service. Good luck selling!


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