You have a decent late model car that's a little roughed up and doesn't run as smoothly as it used to. Although you want to get a good price; you do not want to invest much money in repairs. What should you do? Well, like most things, it depends on what needs to be fixed. You may choose to fix some items and not others. You want to recoup any financial investment.
You may not have paid much attention to your car for a while, so you need to clean it thoroughly inside and out and then inspect it. If you have a buddy who knows cars, you can enlist them to help you check out your vehicle. Look for obvious leaks from the engine and note the body damage. Also, really look at the interior. You need to take every rip and tear into account when you determine your price. Once you know everything that is wrong, you need to decide whether to fix the problem or not.
Experts recommend fixing certain obvious things first. If your tires have little or no tread, buy a new set or at least a decent used set. Also, if your brakes are squealing, have the pads and the rotors replaced if necessary. These two things alone can discourage a buyer from purchasing your vehicle, even if you are selling it using blue book prices. Also, go ahead and have the oil changed and fix the headlights if necessary. None of these things will cost you much money, but they will help you sell your vehicle. Very few people want to purchase a car that needs work before it can be safely driven.
In some instances, you should have body work done as well, particularly if your car is not that old. You need to find out what your vehicle is worth as is. Then determine what price you can reasonably expect if you have those dents and scratches fixed. Many body shops will be happy to take a look at your car or truck and advise you on what body repairs will be worth the investment. Even small repairs can make your vehicle more appealing to potential buyers.
Before you sell your used car, you need to decide what repairs will be worth the money. If your car has minor mechanical issues, fixing those is a no-brainer. Body work decisions are more complicated. Enlist help from friends and professionals and get your vehicle in the best shape possible before you put it on the market.