Should I Detail My Car Before Selling or Trading In?

Should I Detail My Car Before Selling It?

The title question of this article is one asked by thousands of potential car-sellers across the nation, both individual and dealership alike. Should I detail my car before selling it? Will I increase my trade-in value by detailing my car first? It’s a great question for people considering selling to a private party, or trading in a vehicle to a dealership – since anyone selling a vehicle is of course looking to maximize the return on their investment. At Simply Clean Automotive, we’ve taken the time to do the research, pull the numbers, and find you the facts on whether or not detailing before a sale or trade-in is the right way to go.

How Much Does a Dirty Car Detract?

According to, the value of a vehicle being put up for sale or trade can be impacted by as much as 10% by the state of its interior and exterior. That barely-double-digit percentage might not sound like much, but in reality it means that when selling a $10,000 vehicle, you could be losing out on upwards of $1,000 dollars if you present your buyer with a dirty, dinged-up car. This means that what you’ll actually achieve by detailing your vehicle first before a sale isn’t necessarily an increase over the vehicle’s actual value – instead you’re avoiding a decrease in that value, instead.

Time to Do Some Math! (Don’t Worry, We Already Did!)

To figure out whether or not detailing your vehicle before a sale is worth it, you’ll need to know a couple numbers. First off, you’ll want to know the approximate value of your vehicle. You can use a website like Kelly Blue Book ( to get reports on the average price your vehicle fetches as both an independently sold vehicle, or a trade-in. Next, it’s important to factor in the price of the detailing service itself. Detailing can vary in price based on the condition of your vehicle, as well as other factors including the vehicle’s size and even the exterior paint color.

Once you’ve got those two numbers, factoring in the potential loss of 10% value without a detail, it’s time to do some math. Luckily for you, we’ve provided a handy chart that should give you a good idea of the value retained by having your vehicle detailed before a sale, depending on the vehicle’s original value.

Should I Detail My Car Before Selling it Chart
As you can see, if you’re selling a vehicle for even as low as $2,500, a detail is still worth it, and should provide you with some return!

In Conclusion: Detail That Car!

So, should you detail your car before selling it? Well, if your asking price or trade-in value is around the $2,000 mark or above, then absolutely! Money saved is money earned, right? If you have any questions about the information provided here, or if you would like to get a quote on detailing your soon-to-be-sold vehicle, give us a call at 360-519-3762 or visit us online at!

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