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August 2019 Its all about DETAILS

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When selling a car at an auction, It's all about DETAILS.

When you sell or auction your car or truck, details matter. A clean car is more likely to get a higher bid than a dirty one. A clean car suggests that the owner took care of it.  Used car dealers report that a detailed car will fetch up to 15 or 25 per cent more and sell more quickly.

The auction house is responsible for bringing buyers and sellers together, not for cleaning the car before the sale. “Sometimes a car will arrive dirty at the auction or the battery will be dead and the seller will be surprised that the car did not get bid as high as he wanted,” said Jason McCormick of McCormick’s Palm Springs Collector Car Auction. Here are some tips you should follow before your car arrives at the auction.

Under the hood

Have the engine cleaned by a professional or do it yourself with a can of Gunk engine cleaner and a high-pressure hose at the do-it-yourself car wash. Put a plastic bag over the distributor and plug the intake port in the carburetor to keep them dry. Remember to clean the underside of the hood.

This is a good time to inspect the wiring, the belts and hoses and replace them if necessary.


Does the upholstery need a shampoo? Clean the dashboard and all vinyl parts with warm water and finish with a soft towel and spray with ArmourAll or an equivalent to give it a polished look. Vacuum and clean the carpets. Remove any and all odors, especially from smoking.




A good wax job never hurt any car. Clean and apply a chrome cleaner to the bumpers, hubcaps, door handles and other parts. Spray the tires, including the spare, with rubber refresher and cleaner.

About now you might be looking for a neighborhood kid who wants to make a few bucks to do all the grunt work. A car detail company is worth checking out in your local yellow pages or online.


Every prospective buyer sits behind the wheel and looks out the windows. It’s a subtle but important point to keep these clean.



Tune up

Nothing is worse than the car failing to start up just before the auction. Make sure it purrs like a kitten, the battery is fully charged and all fluid levels are topped off. Change the oil. Buyers want a car that is well maintained.


Market the Car

Make a small sign for the side window or a display board that highlights all the major selling points, the history of the car and all the work that has been done to it, let interested bidders learn about the car before it is on the auction block  If the paint and chrome are original and looks good, brag about it. Make sure the auctioneer has a fact sheet about the car so he or she can pass on information during the critical minutes that the car passes through the auction tent.

Camp out by the car while on the parking lot before the auction and answer questions from prospective buyers. Tell them the lot number and the day and time the car will be auctioned. Have fun meeting people and answering questions, even the less-than-brilliant ones, and be honest about the car and its pros and cons.

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