Should I Clean my Car Before Trading It in?

Clean my car or not to clean my car

Let’s get right down to it: To clean my car, or not to clean my car… right? That is the question. If you clean your car before you trade it in you may see more of the dings and scratches.  But if you don’t, all you’ll do is stave off the inevitable, the technician eventually sees all of the dents and scratches and then you’ll look like you have something to hide.

If you are a smoker, you may want to spend some extra cash and take some extra time to eliminate the smell of smoke from the interior

Why go into the sale of your car with doubt surrounding you?  Some people think, “Why should I clean my car? It’s old and used and it’s not like I am going to get more for it, right?”  That is not necessarily true. In fact, studies have shown that a salesman will consider giving you more money for a trade-in if you take the time to clean it beforehand. By having your car detailed inside and out, you show the car dealer that you’re serious about getting a good deal and that you have nothing to hide.  Don’t get me wrong, other items do factor in to getting the right price for your car, but cleaning it is one thing that will definitely help.

The 5-Points to Clean Car Nirvana:

  1. Walk around your car before trading it in and think about the first impression it will make when a dealer takes a look at it. As you walk around your car, take note of the biggest problems that may leap out at you. Did you notice it the car had worn tires, filthy rims, torn upholstery or minor dents and scratches? Whatever you notice first will be the same things the dealer notices, so fix these items.
  2. Remove all the personal items from your car before trading it in. This will make it easier for the dealer to visualize how your trade-in will be sold. If it’s clean and uncluttered with car seats, garbage, and loose debris they will be able to see its value easier.  Make sure you remove window clings, decals, and bumper stickers. Clean the trunk and glove box as well.
  3. Have the car detailed inside and out before trading it in. A clean car shows the dealer that you took care of it, and it’s less likely that you’re hiding problems. Have the carpeting and upholstery shampooed, the wheels and tires cleaned, and dust and grime removed from the nooks and crannies in the dashboard.
  4. Repair any minor dents or scratches. All dealers deduct money on your trade-in value for these.  You can very easily have these items fixed in advance at a local body shop or with a good buffing.
  5. Take your car in for service and maintenance before trading it in. By having the oil changed and the fluids filled, you’re showing the dealer that you cared about the engine, and that it’s in excellent condition. Steam cleaning the engine compartment is also a good idea.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you are a smoker, you may want to spend some extra cash and take some extra time to eliminate the smell of smoke from the interior through the use of ozone treatments, deodorizers and disinfectants.

Most importantly, bring your car to a reputable dealership like Koons for a no pressure fair evaluation of its trade-in value.  We love cars and we love giving our customers the best service and pricing around, you can trust our pricing and our advice and you know when you drive away from the sale that you got the best deal in town. ♛




About Krystal Koons

Krystal Koons is the spokesperson for Jim Koons Automotive Companies, one of the country's largest privately-held dealership groups headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area. Visit us at

Posted on March 17, 2014, in Automotive, Maintenance Monday and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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