Pre-Sale Improvement Questions

So I think it is time to sell my 2000 Corvette.

It’s a fun car and it’s nice to have the power on tap, but in the end the 2000-era GM build quality and feel of the vehicle never sat well with me.

The car is in great shape mechanically, but the paint could use some work. It has a lot of minor things that could be fixed with some time and more $$ than I think appropriate. One of the headlights bounces, the weather stripping isn’t in great shape, suspension squeaks a bit, that sort of thing.

My question is how much should I invest in fix-up before sale? The market says this year vehicle with about 85,000 on the clock can get around $12,000. With some paint and weather stripping issues I can get into expensive fixes pretty fast. I’m debating spending around $300-$500 on a good buff and polish and calling it good. I’m curious what people think I should focus on. I’m worried I may only get $10,000 for the car in its current condition and that’s just too low to part with.

Thanks for the feedback!

How much return can you get for each further investment?

If you spend $800 on a paint job, can you get $800 more for the car?

If you spend $500 on weatehrstripping, can you get $500 more for the car?

This is a hard question to answer, because a lot of this depends on who you find to purchase it, and what they are willing to invest- time and money wise.

at the end of the day, you want $12,000, but think you may only get $10,000. Unfortunately, it may take $3,000-4,000 to get the extra $2,000 you are after. That wouldn’t be a financially smart move.

Wash, and wax- buff if necessary, and list it for $12,000 and see if anyone bites.


If I was looking at this vehicle the bouncing head light would be a concern . I would want to know how much it would cost before even making an offer . Same go for the weather stripping if it leaks during a rain storm.

A good detail of the car will make it show the best. Especially dark colors. It also shows that you cared for the car. No on expects an 85K, 19 year old vehicle to be perfect but many will overlook minor things because it looks so good, is clean inside and smells good. If you are a smoker, there is a LOT more cleaning to do, don’t kid yourself. I’d fix the headlight, too.

Not sure what these cars sell for in your area but you did the research. C5’s have a pretty good reputation among performance enthusiasts. They also can run a LONG time. A former employee of mine owns one with nearly 500K miles and the engine has never been apart! I can see yours is a coupe but not if it is a Z06 or not. If the car is a manual transmission, you have an uphill climb ahead of you. 85% of the public can’t even drive a stick.

I’d suggest joining some Corvette forums and offer the car there, especially if this is a manual trans car. Even more so if the car is a Z06 or Z51 optioned car. That will find a buyer more motivated to pay your asking price.


You might try this . Park the vehicle in your drive front facing street . Walk to street and pretend you just came to look at this Corvette like you were a buyer. Look it over and try doors and controls just like you would if you were buying it . That might give you some idea of what someone else would think about your car.


It’s a standard Coupe, 6-MT, with the Z51 package. Definitely more attractive to the enthusiast crowd than a casual buyer.

On Ebay motors, completed listings have that age/miles Corvettes bid up to $9,000 - $10,000. Here’s hoping you get more.

You definitely need to target SCCA autocross and track day drivers. Post on Grassroots Motorsports for sale forum if possible. Specialty sites will bring the buyers most interested in this specific model. Visit local autocrosses, cars and coffee and Corvette club events held in your area with a for sale sign and flyers detailing the special options.


$12,000 in great condition
With all those problems you listed, I figure you’ll be lucky to get $8,000

Spend $4,000 to fix it up and you might get your $12,000.

Or just get the car detailed and buffed, put it up for sale at $14,000 OBO , and see what happens.

Most people seem to look at cosmetics more than anything else. Polishing the turd (your vehicle is by no means a turd) seems to be the most bang for the buck. I personally think you’re on the right track with the detailing.

Posted by someone who has experience with polishing turds intended to be sold for scrap metal and selling them for a profit of 5 times what I bought them for.

I’ve had people comment that the vehicle was “so clean”. They never mentioned the check engine light that is resolved, the fact that everything now functions as designed, or the low idle that I’d addressed.

Your market is a little more high end, of course. But appearance seems to trump everything else, barring glaring flaws.

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Bring A Trailer might be another option to explore, this is the sort of car that appeals to enthusiasts more than collectors (right now at least) since it’s not the 6000 mile example that a local dealer wants $25,000 for. A good detail would help it bring a higher price, $12,000 isn’t out of line for the market on the forums at least.

The headlight issue is most likely the gear in the headlight motor which is a known fault and has been on corvettes with pop up lamps for years. New motors can be bought for $111 each on rockauto (Cardone) or the gear itself is $12 for Dorman. I’ve found a youtube video that shows how to fix the problem.

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I’m debating changing the gears out to metal ones. Should prevent it from recurring.

The metal ones are the preferred option, my understanding is that the Cardone motors have them.

My advice is to give it a good cleaning and do nothing else, because you’re not likely to recuperate the money you spend in the sale price. Repairs might increase the resale value, but any increase will be by an amount that is lower than what you spent.

I agree on skipping repairs, except something that’s pretty easy to fix, and is an obvious problem. It sounds like that headlight issue fits that category. So I’d clean it up, and fix the headlight, nothing more. There are lots of Corvettes out there, you don’t want to give a buyer an excuse to eliminate yours.

I agree with @Mustangman 's suggestion that you market this car to enthusiasts. The C5 has garnered a reputation for being one of the best bang-for-buck track day cars you can get. A person who wants to turn this thing into a weekend track toy isn’t going to be terribly bothered by less-than-perfect paint so long as the car is mechanically sound.

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