Vehicle Pre-Sale Checklist

January 31, 2023

What to Remove From Your Vehicle Before Selling

By Andre BoBo – Inventory Manager

Auto House Scottsdale


If you own a car in Arizona and drive to work every day, odds are that you spend quite a bit of time behind the wheel every week. When it comes time to sell your older vehicle before getting into a newer one, there are many things to consider before you officially part ways. Just like taking a shower in the morning, we suggest starting from the top of your vehicle and working your way to the ground. 

Consider this, if you were going to look at a vehicle that was for sale and the selling party showed it to you in a dirty state, wouldn’t your confidence level immediately decrease? It’s safe to assume that many people would believe that the vehicle hasn’t been maintained properly, whether it actually has been or not. The same rule applies for when you are preparing to sell your own vehicle. The first thing you would want to start with is creating a cleaning checklist

First you will need to decide if you are going to tackle the job yourself, leave it to the professionals by taking it to your local trusted car wash or even schedule an appointment with your favorite Auto House service advisor to request that your vehicle gets a full detail. Afterall, first impressions are everything! Once you’ve decided that, make sure that the following areas have been gone over once the detail is completed:

Exterior Cleaning Checklist  

Painted Surfaces

  • Wash surfaces
  • Clay bar treatment and oxidation removal
  • Bug and tar removal
  • Polish surfaces
  • Protect, wax and seal


  • Clean wheel wells
  • Wash wheels
  • Clean brake calipers
  • Apply protective coating


  • Scrub and clean rubber
  • Dress tires

Windows and glass

  • Sunroof
  • Windshield
  • Passenger windows
  • Side mirrors
  • Headlights and tail lights

Trim and molding

  • Front grill
  • Splash guards
  • Front and rear bumpers
  • Rocker panels


  • Door jams
  • Gas fill/charging port area
  • Tail pipe(s)
  • License plate(s)


Interior Cleaning Checklist

Carpet and upholstery

  • Floor mats removed and cleaned
  • All carpets and upholstery vacuumed
  • All carpets and upholstery shampooed
  • Headliner cleaned

Dashboard, trim and console

  • Dashboard and console area
  • Steering wheel, knobs, vents and buttons
  • Seat levers
  • Glove box 
  • Protectant applied to all plastic, rubber, vinyl, and leather trim


  • Vacuumed
  • Cleaned and conditioned

Windows and glass

  • Sunroof
  • Console
  • Windshield cleaned, and hydrophobic protectant applied
  • All passenger windows 

Trunk/Rear Cargo Area

  • Clear “rain gutter”
  • Trunk lid
  • Vacuum and shampoo


  • Pedals
  • Door jams
  • Interior air filter cleared of debris


What to Have Prepared Before You Sell Your Vehicle

Now that you have your car shining bright, you can start to confidently come up with a game plan on how to sell your car. Time is precious, so make sure to place your vehicle on as many public platforms as possible. Just like the initial vehicle cleaning task, we highly recommend creating a selling car checklist as well. Make sure to have the following ready to go at your fingertips before you sell:

  • Warranty documentation (if applicable)
  • Vehicle history report and or CarFax
  • Maintenance records
  • As-Is Documentation (A simple one page document that states that the buyer acknowledges there are no implied warranties and that they accept all future responsibility for the repair and maintenance of the vehicle immediately after transfer of ownership is completed)
  • Odometer disclosure (A one page document that your vehicle odometer truthfully states it’s current actual mileage)
  • Title
  • Bill of sale

Having all of your ducks in a row this way will ensure a smoother and more expedient car selling process. If you would like to maximize both your time and money, consider selling your vehicle directly to Auto House through one of our acquisition specialists where we can oftentimes write you a check on the same day or even consign the vehicle, if you are not in a rush. Also keep in mind that if you take care of your vehicle over the entire course of ownership, your vehicle will take care of you when it comes time to part ways with it. Last but certainly not least, check to make sure that you don’t leave valuables in your car before you hand your keys over to the next owner!


Click the link below to see how easy it is to sell your vehicle with Auto House

Sell Your Car

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