How to prepare your car for sale

Whether you're looking for a trade-in or are just keen to get rid of your existing car for cash, you'll get a better deal if your car looks great and all the paperwork is in order...

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Claire Evans
11 Nov 2018 15:20 | Last updated: 13 Nov 2018 17:27

Getting your car looking its best before your show it to a potential buyer – whether a private individual or a dealer – will help you sell it as quickly as possible and for the best price.

Apart from looking more attractive, a clean car sends out a good message about how well the car has been cared for. There are several things you can do to make it look more appealing.

Clean your car

You can give your car a 'forecourt' look by using the professional cleaning products that garages use. Read our car shampoo product test to see which will make your car gleam and which offers the best value.

Cleaning car seat

Plastic restorers are especially effective in rejuvenating a tired car, both inside and out. If you've had the dog in there, borrow a powerful vacuum to get rid of the hair and put in an air freshener to banish unattractive smells.

Valeting is a competitive business in the UK, so you get a lot for your money. Spending between £15 and £50 on a full valet is cost-effective if it results in an immediate sale and stops you having to re-advertise.

Simple DIY checks

Wipe the engine clean, but don't steam-clean it; as well as raising buyers' suspicions about why it’s been cleaned, you could also damage the electrics. Topping up the engine oil is a good idea though, and fill up the washer and coolant bottles, too. Read our guide on how to care for your car.

Car dent repair

Bodywork repairs

Small dents and scratches are worth removing from nearly new cars, but they're to be expected on older vehicles so you're unlikely to recover the cost of getting professionals to put them right.

Dealers, in particular, won't bat an eyelid at the odd dink as they can get any obvious ones repaired in their own body shop.

The paperwork

Collect together all the relevant paperwork for your car, including the V5C registration document, servicing schedule and MoT certificate. If you have receipts for work you’ve had done on your car, so much the better – it'll show that you've attended to problems as necessary, and that you're particular enough to retain the evidence.

Next: How to write the perfect car advert >

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