Sign On
  • Online Banking
    Sign On Form is Loading

Everyone has heard the adage about the car resale value going down as soon as you drive it off of the lot. But that doesn't mean you can't get top dollar when you decide to sell your car down the road.

With the average new vehicle costing about $31,000, used vehicles are in demand. But if you're looking to get a higher cost on a resale, your car or truck has to be in top condition. There are easy ways to enhance the appearance and condition of your vehicle. From getting a professional detail to making some mechanical improvements, here's how to increase your used car's value for resale:

Make it Shine

The longer you own a car, the more wear and tear it will be subjected to — this is where the car wax and polish comes in. Purchasing the materials to make your car or truck shine can help sell the car off faster if you're trying to get a higher price.

You may not get it back to its original luster, but by waxing and polishing regularly, it'll have a little more shine that can go a long way in raising the value of your vehicle. To prevent the shiny appearance from fading, make sure to avoid household detergents when washing your car.

Details Matter

One of the quickest ways to lose a prospective buyer is to show them a vehicle that is dirty and worn on the inside. While it may be your old car, it's a new car for whoever decides to buy it. That is why it should be clean and up-to-date on all maintenance, from brakes to current emissions.

If your car mats are torn or too soiled to clean, replace them with new ones. If the dashboard is dusty take out the cleaner and get to work. It may even be worth it to get a professional detailing job. It might cost you anywhere from $50 to $175 depending on the size of the vehicle, but it can boost the value greatly, making it a worthy investment — especially if the car is worth more than a couple thousand dollars even at resale value.

Don't Forget the Small Stuff

Just like many homebuyers want to purchase a move-in ready house, the same is true of purchasing a car or truck. Consumers are often willing to pay more if they know they don't have to make repairs. Be sure to make those easy fixes if your aim is to get the most you can in a sale.

Replace any burnt out headlights or taillights, along with windshield wipers. Same goes for making sure there is antifreeze, windshield washer fluid, and enough oil in the car. Fixing or replacing tires, brakes, and taking care of a check engine light can all go a long way in boosting your car's value. It's easy to let the next owner worry about those little things, but leaving them unfixed may raise alarm bells with potential buyers.

Getting top dollar for your used car may require some work, but the effort will be worth it. If you're able to present your vehicle in the best light, would-be buyers are going to pay up. Without those actions, you could be stuck getting book value or worse for your vehicle in a sale.

This information and recommendations contained herein is compiled from sources deemed reliable, but is not represented to be accurate or complete. In providing this information, neither KeyBank nor its affiliates are acting as your agent or is offering any tax, accounting, or legal advice.

By selecting any external link on, you will leave the KeyBank website and jump to an unaffiliated third party website that may offer a different privacy policy and level of security. The third party is responsible for website content and system availability. KeyBank does not offer, endorse, recommend, or guarantee any product or service available on that entity's website.

Call Us

1-800-KEY2YOU® (539-2968)

Clients using a TDD/TTY device:

Clients using a relay service:

Schedule an Appointment

Talk to a Branch Manager in your neighborhood.

Schedule an appointment now

Find a Branch or ATM