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Everyone knows that a clean car drives better. But paying attention to the details can also raise your car’s resale value as well. If a buyer is headed to see your car and it’s looking a little ragged, these quick car detailing tips can raise the resale value of your ride in 30 minutes or less. Just pick the areas that need the most help and get that car cleaned up before your potential buyer arrives!

Take 10 minutes to clean the windows inside and out

Interior shot through window of 2023 Lexus RC F Carbon Package in metallic yellow paint
RC F Interior | Braden Carlson, MotorBiscuit

If you’re rushing to get your car ready for a potential buyer, cleaning the windows can help raise resale value in just 10 minutes. Windows take up a lot of visual real estate, especially from behind the wheel. A pristine windshield can make even an older model feel fresh, allowing you to get more money when selling your car. Meanwhile, dirty windows can make a quality car feel unkempt and may raise concerns about its quality from a potential buyer.

Vacuuming your car’s carpets can raise the resale value in just 5 minutes

Vacuum carpets to raise resale value of your car
Clean Carpet after pet hair removal | Marc Wiley,

Much like the windows, dirty carpets are easy to notice when a potential buyer gets behind the wheel. Meanwhile, clean carpets show a level of care that can lend some confidence in how you’ve maintained the car over the years. Most people only clean their car’s carpets a few times a year, so having that freshly cleaned upholstery makes a great first impression that can get you more money when selling your car.

A quick detailing of the dash tips resale value in your favor

Quick detailing tips for resale value: a clean dashboard and floor go a long way.
2017 Kia Sorento | Kia

This falls in line with the windows and carpets, where a visual impression is hard to overcome. Let’s face it, the dash is the most noticeable thing from behind the wheel. And a dash full of hair, dust, and dead flies doesn’t exactly instill confidence.

Skip the ultra high-shine dashboard dressing in favor of a simple clean and wipe-down. If you have time, add a satin or matte dressing to finish the look. But in general, simply cleaning the dash can help raise your car’s resale value in just 5 minutes.

Restore headlights in 10 minutes and raise your car’s resale value

A factory worker polishes a headlight
A headlight gets polished | via Getty Images
Related A Beginner’s Guide to Washing and Detailing Their Car at Home

A Beginner’s Guide to Washing and Detailing Their Car at Home

This one takes a bit more time, but if you’ve got the skills, you can restore headlights in as little as 10 minutes. Tape off the area around the headlights and get out your polishing kit for a quick headlight restore. Don’t sand or even compound the headlights – this will remove too much of the UV coating and lead to future cloudiness. But a fine finishing polish and foam pad can remove some surface oxidation. Even slightly clearer lenses will freshen up your car’s exterior look, make it look better in photos, and raise its resale value.

Skip the engine bay dressing

On the other hand, you can skip the engine bay dressing if you’re trying to raise your car’s resale value. If your engine looks too good, there is a swath of buyers who will think you’re trying too hard to hide something. As long as your engine bay isn’t chock full of leaves and acorns, leave it be and focus on the above quick detailing tips to get the most money for your used car with just a few minutes of work.

In 30 minutes, raise your car’s resale value with these quick detailing tips

Even if you do all of the above, you can raise your car’s potential resale value in just 30 minutes. Use these quick detailing tips to instill buyer confidence and allow you to eke an extra few hundred dollars out of your next car sale.