How to prepare your car for sale

Whether you're ready to move on to bigger and better things or you just want to say goodbye to the clunker in general, selling your car can be a gratifying feeling. However, it's not as simple as parking it out front, throwing a "for sale" sign on the windshield and calling it a day. You're going to have to prepare the car for its new home. By getting your car in shape for top sale, you can help your customers get more bang for their buck, all while receiving a pretty penny to put on a down payment for your new ride.

Don't neglect your car before handing the keys over to a new owner. Instead, follow these tips for getting your car in top shape for sale.

1. Polish and detail
Before you take care of any maintenance issues, it's important to start by giving the looks some love. Forbes talked to a number of car experts and they all agreed that cleaning and detailing the car is the first step you should take to get it ready for point of sale. Ebay Motors Senior Manager Clayton Stanfield told Forbes it's a crucial yet easy task for prepping your car for a new owner.

"Invest in a thorough shampoo and vacuum job."

"Thoroughly cleaning your vehicle is absolutely crucial – it's one of the simplest things you can do," he said. "You want to make sure that your potential buyers are seeing your vehicle at its best."

Invest in a thorough shampoo and vacuum job – it'll be well worth it in the long run.

2. Do your research
After giving your ride the clean and polish it deserves, it's time to analyze the car's current performance.  Your next step in preparing your car for sale is to do your research. Find out your vehicle's value and check local listings to see what else is out on the market. Also, search sale history of similar vehicles in your area – this can give you a better idea of what to expect when selling your car in regard to profit and timeliness.

Also, if you've been good about taking care of your car, make sure to gather proof to share with the buyers.'s Keith Griffin told Forbes that this is a critical part of the research process.

"Service records are immensely important in a private sale to show prospective buyers that things have been taken care of at the right intervals," he said.

Taking care of your car all of those years can really reward you in the end if you've saved documentation.

3. Invest in last-minute repairs
Sure, you're ready to get rid of this car, but you're not going to sell it if you have outstanding damage that needs repairs. Whether it's noticeable scratches and chipped paint or the check engine light is on, the buyer is going to hesitate when it's time to make a deal. Carsguide suggested investing your time and dollars into making these repairs. Depending on the damage of the car, it might not even cost you much. Just take the car to the shop, get an estimate for the repairs and ask if it's worth it – a maintenance worker can give you great advice about your ride.

Repairing dents and scratches before putting it on the market could determine it's likeliness of selling.Repairing dents and scratches before putting it on the market could determine it's likeliness of selling.

4. Top off the fluids
According to Car Talk, it's in your best interest to top of all fluids before putting your car on the market. That means getting the oil changed and filling the brake and windshield fluids. This shows the buyer that you've been taking care of the car. It also suggests that you care about the buyer – who wants to see the oil light come on over the dashboard only days after buying a car?

If you've successfully sold your car and you're ready to start your search for a new vehicle, head to NJ Auto Auction. There, you'll find a lot full of inexpensive Carfax-certified used cars to choose from.