How to maximize the value of your used car

TAMPA, Florida — According to Daily Finance, now is the best time to sell your car in nearly 20 years.

Given the economy, people are holding onto their cars as long as they can, meaning dealerships are desperate for quality used cars.

But how do you make yours the most attractive to a buyer?

Tony Lockhart, from Tampa Bay-based national company Carsmetics, says anyone wanting to sell their car should start by getting a professional detail. He says it will cost you about $150, but can increase your car’s value by up to $800.

“That’s a big return on your investment,” Lockhart said.

He also points out that a buyer expects to see some wear and tear on a used car, but it’s things like dents you want to fix.

“It’s a small area of the car and it’s very noticeable to the end buyer,” he explained.

Lockhart also advises restoring your headlights for about $100, rather than completely replacing them for three times that price.

In addition, Carsmetics recommends putting on new tires if they’re approaching 40,000 miles, as well as making sure you don’t have squeaky breaks or a shaky steering wheel.

“Very noticeable on the test drive,” Lockhart said.

Experts also advise doing things over the long-term, like getting your car detailed once a year and keeping the paperwork from any maintenance can increase the value.

“That will bring trust in the buyer and trust in the dealership that they’re actually getting a quality vehicle,” said Will Sprague from Carsmetics.

Little things, he says, that can potentially make your car worth thousands of dollars more.