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Sell Your Car

By Cosmetic Car Repair

Ensuring that your car is looking its best before buyers come to see it will help you sell it for the maximum price with the minimum effort.

Here are some guidelines to help you get the most from your car:

Exterior Appearance

Step 1 – Wash your car

You can of course take your car to a car wash, or do it yourself.

If you are taking it to a car wash it is much better to take it to a hand wash. ‘Drive through’ car wash machines will often miss parts of the car, inside the wheels for example. Further to this they can leave fine scratches or ‘swirl marks’ on the paintwork.

If you are washing it yourself you will need a bucket with (preferably warm) water, car shampoo, a sponge or car washing brush, and ideally a chamois (drying cloth). Do not use washing up liquid as it encourages rust on a vehicle.

  • First rinse the vehicle with a hose / power washer.
  • If alloy wheels have unmoveable brake dust using ‘Alloy wheel cleaner’ will help.
  • Wash the vehicle with the sponge / brush, using soapy water.
  • Rinse off dirt and soap with the hose / power washer.
  • Chamois the car before it dries. (It will need to be wrung out when soaked)

It is worth running a chamois over a car after a wash as it will greatly help the appearance, giving a better shine and removing dirt on any areas you may have missed. You can get these car care products from various motor shops or a preparation specialist.

Step 2 – Polish your car

Polishing a car will help the appearance of the vehicle. If your vehicle hasn’t had a polish for a month or two it would be worth considering. Depending on the value of your vehicle it is also worth taking to a professional for a ‘Machine polish & wax’. This will take several hours by a qualified technician and will bring the appearance of the vehicle to ‘as new’ condition. For polishing a car yourself you will need to use a polish and a lint free cloth specifically made for cars. You can get this from various motor shops or a preparation specialist.

Step 3 – Inspect for damage

Rest assured a prospective buyer will check the vehicle for damage, so it is best advised to do this yourself before you advertise. Having damage on a car may put a potential buyer off purchasing the car and most likely give him/her opportunity to haggle a reduced price for the car.

When inspecting the exterior of a vehicle you should look for:

Small Dent Leather Trim Velour Upholstery Scuff on Bumper Alloy Wheels

So how do you know what is worth fixing and what isn’t?

There are specialists in the marketplace who will give you a free, no obligation ‘Pre-Sale Inspection’ and offer a ‘Pre-sale Preparation’ package. They can advise of the cost for having the various areas of damaged repaired and then you can choose for yourself. Studies have shown that on average, every 100 spent on preparing a car will add 300 in extra value.

Interior Appearance

To get the maximum value for your car it is important to have the interior clean, tidy, damage and odour free. Having an interior in good condition will give a good impression as to how the vehicle has been kept during its life and will encourage potential buyers that this will be a pleasant environment for them to spend their journeys. You can take the vehicle to a professional valeter or clean yourself. Depending on the vehicle’s value, a professional may worth considering if there are particular stains that you cannot remove yourself.

Step 1 – Tidy

Take all your belongings out of the vehicle and vacuum the full inside, looking out for hard to reach areas. Depending on their condition it may be worth removing the mats from the car and cleaning them outside the vehicle.

Step 2 – Clean

Wipe down the dash, door trims and centre console using a lint free cleaning cloth and a suitable cleaning product. There are specialist car cleaning products, some household products may be sufficient but be careful to read the surface types they are suitable for, some products will badly mark certain materials.

Clean the insides of the windows with window cleaner.

Step 3 - Damage

As with the exterior, a prospective buyer will check for interior damage. Scuffs, rips, cigarette burns and holes on the dash, trim, upholstery or leather can put buyers off. Some may conclude from this that the owner has not cared well for the vehicle. Most damage can be fixed using Interior repairs by a professional.

Step 4 – Odour

No one wants to buy a car with a bad odour so it is always worth putting an air freshener in it. For some vehicles that have been smoked in a lot, used for carrying dogs often or various other uses, an air freshener may not be a sufficient cure. A deodoriser can be used to remove deep smells. A professional can also provide a service called an ‘odour eliminator’ which will remove stale odours.

If preparing your vehicle for sale seems like too much effort you can bring it to a specialist for a ‘Pre-sale Preparation’ package and it will be taken care for you. 

Car Maintenance

Having the ‘little things’ right on your car with regards to maintenance will encourage confidence to a prospective buyer that you have cared for your vehicle. It will only take a few minutes to prepare the below few points:

  • Make sure the water level is correct in your radiator with the correct mixture of antifreeze/summer coolant.
  • Check the oil is at the right level.
  • Ensure the tyre pressures are correct.
  • Check all the lights are working, including the indicators and brake lights.
  • It’s worth getting the MOT test if it’s due, an overdue MOT request doesn’t reassure confidence to a buyer.
  • If your windscreen wipers are squeaky clean them with vinegar. If this doesn't solve the problem, replace them.
  • Fill your washer bottle and check the washers are squirting in the right direction.
  • Make sure you have plenty of fuel in the car for the test drive.
  • Have all your documentation i.e. tax book, MOT certificate and service book / manual to hand for inspection.

Our advisors will be happy to help give you advice on pre-sale preparation, if you have any queries you can call on 028 90 457 364.

By Cosmetic Car Repair

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