What You Should and Shouldn't Fix Before Selling Your Car

After raising seven children through their teenage years, I've had my fair share of experiences with selling used cars that have body damage. As a child saved up to buy a newer car, I was relied on to find a way to sell their old one for the most money possible. I have learned that fixing small dents and other aesthetic issues with your vehicle is a great way to significantly increase the sales price you ask when you put it on the market. But not all dents are worth paying to have fixed because it won't affect the value much. Whether you are just trying to make the money back that you've put into your vehicle or you're trying to make a profit, hopefully the pages on this website will give you some insight into what's worth putting your time and effort into fixing and what's best left untouched.

How to Smooth Out Rough Auto Body Surfaces and Apply Decals


There are some very fun and interesting automotive decals out there that can make your car unique. The additional benefits to using decals are that they are not nearly as costly as a custom paint job and they stay put even long after the rest of the paint job around them has faded or rusted. However, decals need to be applied to smooth, clean, and even surfaces. Here is how you can avoid auto body repair services while applying your vehicle's decals yourself.

Smoothing Out Rough Spots

Decals for cars and trucks can easily be applied over the top of your vehicle's glossy paint job. What they will not stick to well is rust, small dents, or really rough areas. If you own a disc sander, use a coarse grit disc to smooth out the surface of the paint. If you have some rust, use a wire disc to grind off the little bit of rust you have. (If there is a lot of rust, skip this step, since you will not be able to apply decals over this area at all.) If you have some very small dents, dents that are not even a quarter inch wide or deep, you can leave these alone. Bigger dents, however, will need a dent removal kit, which you can buy from an automotive store.

Cleaning and Buffing

Once all of your dents and rough patches are removed and smoothed, clean your vehicle thoroughly. The decals will stick better to clean surfaces. Make sure there is no soap residue left by gently buffing your vehicle with a soft, lint-free cloth. Use a little rubbing alcohol and wipe it all along the areas where you plan to apply your decals. The rubbing alcohol helps remove any final traces of dirt or soap residue and prepares the surface for the decal adhesive.

Applying Your Decals

If you chose self-adhesive decals, great. You just have to carefully peel, stick, and smooth into place. If the decals develop little air bubbles during the application process, just poke them gently with a pin and smooth the air out.

If you chose decals with separate adhesive, you will need to either hand paint or spray paint the adhesive onto your vehicle before applying the decals. Many auto body and paint shops prefer spray paint because it drips less than the hand-painted adhesives and it is easier to wipe off any excess. Be sure to carefully apply your decals because spray-on or paint-on adhesive is far less forgiving of application errors than the self-adhesive decals. Smooth the decals out and use a warm, moistened sponge to remove any extra adhesive. Keep your vehicle in a covered area, such as a garage, until the adhesive dries so that wind, weather, and bugs will not make a mess of your decals.


23 November 2015