What repairs are worth doing on my car that's about to be sold?
July 14, 2015 3:55 AM   Subscribe

Hi there. Everyone. I was hoping you all could help me with a question. It's time to sell my beloved 2005 LE (82K miles, good condition, new tires) and I wonder if it's worth doing a few things to help with the sale: It needs new bumper inserts, 1 new hubcap and has some scratches. If you were selling, would you make these fixes: is it worth it? Worth detailing, as well? Many thanks for any thoughts or ideas, CC
posted by CaptainCaseous to Grab Bag (7 answers total)
Scratches - if they're minor and you're prepared to sit and watch a few youtube videos and buy a few cheap materials, you can do a lot towards fixing them yourself. I wouldn't bother paying to have scratches repaired on a 10 year old car.

Hubcap and bumper inserts - try eBay and other online sources. I buy all kinds of bits and pieces, some new, some used, for my similarly-aged car.

A spotlessly clear car that smells nice, whatever the age and condition, is going to sell more easily (if not necessarily at a higher price).

Short version: do whatever things you can that are cheap and not too onerous.
posted by pipeski at 4:36 AM on July 14, 2015

Won't help much with price, but would save the haggling, i.e. "I'm going to ding you here for XXX for this, XXX for that..." Also, don't make it TOO pretty, else the buyers may wonder what the heck you're hiding with the pretty exterior.
posted by kschang at 4:49 AM on July 14, 2015

I'd probably replace the hubcap, if it could be done at a Pick'n'Pull or similar place (or via eBay or RockAuto if I wasn't in a hurry). If the bumper inserts are missing, I'd probably see if I could pick a couple of those (these?) up cheap while I was at it. If they're just sun-faded, as ten-year-old black plastic left outside tends to be, I wouldn't worry about it.

I wouldn't worry about the scratches.

I would, at minimum, thoroughly clean the car inside and out. I would not take it to one of those detailing places with the toothbrushes and fine-toothed combs and stuff--it's not that kind of car.
posted by box at 4:55 AM on July 14, 2015

Not high end detailing but definitely clean inside and out. I would just pay for a basic detail, no need to clean the engine block, kind of detail where you know they got all the gunk/junk out of the car. No one wants to feel that they bought poor or took, literally, someone else's trash.
posted by jadepearl at 5:04 AM on July 14, 2015

Anything simple that would need done for the safety inspection, like polishing scratches out the headlights?
(that headlight thing might be an Ontario weirdness, tho)
posted by scruss at 7:14 AM on July 14, 2015

From my experience of driving a just-bought car cross country last week: please double check and make sure the battery has decent life left in it so that it doesn't die a few days after the sale.

In my case, I had bought the car from my parents, who were very sheepish and paid for the replacement, but if I were buying from a stranger, I'd have been really upset.
posted by ocherdraco at 7:39 AM on July 14, 2015

Get it as clean as possible. Nobody looks at a clean car with skepticism. The skepticism comes from the seller.
posted by oceanjesse at 7:44 AM on July 14, 2015

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