Under The Hood

4 Steps To Prepare Your Car For a Vehicle Evaluation

Having a vehicle evaluation done is the 1st step of the selling process at Swap Motors. But in general, it's a great thing to have done for your car before you sell it. A vehicle evaluation documents the condition of your car, and creates trust between you and a potential buyer before you even meet. These 4 steps will help you properly prepare your vehicle for one. 

1) Interior and Exterior Cleaning 

The first point of contact a buyer will have with your vehicle is its outer aesthetics. A shiny and clean car makes a great first impression. A car that is grimy and dirty makes the customer wonder if the engine of the car is in similar condition.


  • Remove all personal belongings and trash 
  • Vacuum seats and carpets. (if there's major stains you'll want to get it professionally detailed.)  
  • If there's a less than desirable smell coming from the cabin, crack open those windows and doors and let some fresh air in. After that use a de- deodorizer ( Lysol works well). 


Wash and dry your car. Don't use a normal soap, as they are not formulated for car paint and may strip off the protective layer of wax. For a cleaning solution, Meguiars Gold Class car wash should do a great job. For drying, use a natural sponge or lambs wool mitt. Make sure to use a separate sponge to wash the wheels and tires. 

You can also apply a wax to get that showroom finish look. Meguiars G18216 Ultimate Liquid Wax has been getting great reviews lately. 

When you get a vehicle evaluation done with Swap Motors, we take pictures and videos of your car in addition to assessing the condition and functionality of your vehicle. It all happens on the same day, which is why it's important that your car is shiny and clean before the vehicle evaluation! 

2) Lights and Fluids 

Check your vehicle's lights ( dome, head, and tail lights) and make sure they are in working order. Having lights that are out will be major red flag to the buyer. It's both a safety and legal concern ( you can get pulled over), and will leave the impression that the car has not been well cared for. 

Also, make sure your transmission fluid, washer fluid, brake fluid, coolant and oil are all at acceptable levels. These are small but important details, and thankfully they are relatively inexpensive to take care of. These are issues that will be diagnosed and fixed at any automotive repair center during a routine checkup. 

3) Gather documents & keys 

If you sell your car with Swap Motors, the technician evaluating your car will need a couple of documents to make sure the vehicle evaluation goes smoothly. Some of the documentation will be to verify your identity, while other documents will serve to make your vehicle more attractive to potential buyers. 

  • Vehicle Title 
  • Lender Statement ( if your vehicle is financed) 

You'll also want to include all service records ( oil changes, repairs, etc.) These documents communicate how well and often your vehicle was maintained, and will help retain the value of your car. 

Last but not least, make sure you have located and brought all sets of your vehicles keys and remotes. If there are any accessories that come with your car, such as a SD card for its navigation system, make sure to bring that as well as it will affect the appraisal of your vehicle. 

4) Do your own research 

The more information you know about your car, the better equipped you will be to ensure that it is in top shape for its vehicle evaluation when the time comes. 

Start by documenting the condition of your car: 

Be aware of any nicks, scratches or dents on the body of your vehicle, as they will most likely come up in the evaluation. For smaller surface scratches, you can remove them yourself with Turtle Wax Scratch and Swirl Removal.  

Notate anything wrong with the car functionally. Is your check engine light on? Maybe one of your windshield wipers isn't working. How about the A/C? 

Check your tires. Do the penny test and determine how much tread you left before they need to be changed. 

Go to KBB.com and find out what the estimated private party value is for your vehicle. To do this, check out our recent article where we go into more detail on the subject 

Vehicle evaluations are important step in the process of selling your car. And you know what the best part about getting a vehicle evaluation done with Swap Motors is? It's 100% free. 

In fact, the whole process is. It doesn't cost a thing to sell your car in Swap Motors marketplace. Sound like a dream? It's not. Schedule your free vehicle evaluation today to get started