How To Sell a Car That Has Been Modified

by William Zane

Upgrading, modifying and customizing cars is a popular activity. It seems like almost all cars have been modified in some way, whether it's upgrading a shift knob or adding a body kit and a set of wheels. The only problem with modifying a car from its original specification is that it can be difficult to sell it should that time come.

Detail the entire car. This goes for any car you're selling, modified or not. A proper detailing of a car can often make it worth several hundred dollars more. Wash and wax the exterior, detail the wheels and clean the windows. Scrub the engine bay with degreaser and dry everything well. Finish off the engine bay by putting vinyl protectant on all of the plastic surfaces. Steam clean the carpeting and detail the interior as well. A car that is clean gives the impression that it was loved and well taken care of.

List all of the changes and upgrades when you describe the car in any ads you place in the classifieds or online. If there is room, list every last part added to the car or upgraded. Though a lot of people may be looking for an original car, if you present the modifications as adding value to the vehicle, you will have an easier time selling it.

Sell the original parts with it. If you still have the parts that were removed from the car so that aftermarket or custom parts could be installed, sell these with the car. For instance, if you upgraded the wheels and still have the original wheels than offer these with the purchase price of the vehicle. That way, if the buyer wants to, he has the option of returning the car to its original state.

Have the receipts available to prove the work was done, particularly if it was something like engine or suspension modifications that are not readily apparent when visually inspecting the vehicle. If you had a high-performance motor built for your car, this may add value to it, but you need to prove the work was done correctly with receipts for the parts and the labor that went into it.

Advertise the car on enthusiast forums on the Internet. There are forums for every car ever made, and many of the visitors to these forums are all about modifying and improving their vehicles. This is an ideal place to get a sympathetic audience of potential buyers who understand why you modified your car in the first place as opposed to someone who is shopping the paper for a regular, un-modified car. Say you have a modified Porsche 911. The classified section of the Pelican Part Porsche 911 Technical Forum is a good place to advertise (see "Resources"). Not only is it free, but many of the visitors to the site understand the point of modifying a car and will have a better idea of the true value of well done modifications.

Advertise the vehicle in as many places as possible, including Craigslist, the local newspaper and with the "Auto Trader." If possible, include detailed photos of the modifications that have been done to the car and explain why you think they are improvements over the original car.

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About the Author

William Zane has been a freelance writer and photographer for over six years and specializes primarily in automotive-related subject matter among many other topics. He has attended the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, where he studied automotive design, and the University of New Mexico, where he studied journalism.