A One-Day Detail Can Get You Top-Dollar for Your Car

If you can make your car look as good as this Acura RL, you’ll get top dollar when it comes time to sell.

byNico DeMattia|
Buy & Sell photo

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When you're selling a car, especially to a private party, there are a few things you can do to get top-dollar for it. One such thing requires no additional money or time and that's taking quality photos of your car. With the high quality of smartphone cameras, you can easily take really attractive photos of your car, if you just take the time to learn how. Another selling technique takes some time, and a bit of money, but it's almost guaranteed to maximize your profit on the sale--detailing.

Larry Kosilla, owner of AMMO NYC, is always providing tips on the best ways to detail your car at home, with relatively inexpensive products. In his latest video, he not only teaches you how to detail your car quickly and effectively, but how to do so when selling your car to get as much as you possibly can.

In this case, the car was a 2006 Acura RL owned by friend who was offered $1,500 for it by a dealer. Kosilla told him a simple detail could net him far more in return and, to prove it, made him a deal. If Kosilla could detail it, sell it, and make more than $5,000 for it, they'd split any profits over the initial $1,500 offer. His friend agreed and Kosilla went to work.

Of course, Kosilla is a professional detailer, with the best equipment available, in a perfect workshop environment, so if you try this at home, your car likely won't look as good as this RL did when he was done. However, he acknowledged that and tried to offer tips on how to best detail your car at home, for as little money and time as possible. He even showed the differences between different methods of cleaning and detailing, so you can see how much effort you'd like to put in.

The Acura RL he worked on in this video was in rough shape. The paint was a swirl-fest, to say the least, and there was so much debris caught in the paint, it sounded like sandpaper when he rubbed it by hand. Once he was finished, though, it looked close to brand-new; the paint was gorgeous, the interior looked fresh, and even the engine bay looked showroom-ready. He was even able to sell it for $5,500, which allowed him to split the money with his friend.

Admittedly, it took Kosilla over ten hours to detail the RL as well as he did, but those ten hours made him $2,000. Ten hours is usually going to be too long for someone looking to get rid of a car. However, if you get a couple of buckets, some quality cleaning products, a few towels, and a hose, you can spend a few hours on a weekend, detailing your car and making it as attractive as possible. Even just cleaning out the door jambs, removing brake dust from the wheels, and vacuuming out the interior can go a long way to increasing your return on the car.

If you're looking into selling your car, it's likely well worth it to spend a little bit of money and a lot of time (or, conversely, a little bit of time and a lot of money for a professional) to detail your car to the best of your ability. Then, if you make sure to take good photos, you should be able to get top-dollar for your car.