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Add Hundreds of Pounds to the Selling Price of Your Car

By: Kevin Dowling BA (IMC) - Updated: 6 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Pounds Car Oil Warning Buyer Tyres

If you are looking to sell your car, you might be surprised how a few quick and easy jobs can add hundreds of pounds to your car’s value. All it takes is a bit of elbow grease and an understanding of what potential buyers look for and you can improve the asking price by hundreds of pounds.

Taking Care of the Essentials

It is important to put yourself in the shoes of any potential buyer. All car buyers want to make sure that the car they are looking at has been well looked after by its previous owner. This means making sure that everything is in working order and your car is in tip-top condition.

First, you should check your oil level and make sure that it is at an appropriate level. The last thing you want is for someone taking the car out on a test drive to ask you why the oil warning light is flashing on the dashboard. Also make sure that your water is topped up and that you have enough petrol for a test drive or two.

Check your tyre pressure and make sure that you replace any damaged tyres or tyres that look noticeably worn.

It also pays to make sure that all the lights on your car are working – replacing any bulbs that no longer work – and ensuring that the electrics are in good working order.

Under the Bonnet

Most prospective car buyers will want to take a look under the bonnet, even if they are not entirely sure what they are looking for. Make sure that you clean out any leaves or debris that has been trapped under the bonnet and remove any blockages to the air intakes.

If you have a pressure washer you might want to clean the engine bay, but try not to overdo the cleaning. It may make some buyers suspicious that you are trying to hide certain faults. Also, if you use a pressure washer or steam cleaner try not to get too close, as the pressure can damage parts or loosen connections.

Washing your car

You might be surprised at the number of people who, having decided to sell their car, simply don’t make an effort in keeping up its appearance. This can be a costly mistake. Cleaning your car greatly increases the chances of you selling it.

You’ll need to spend a few pounds on items such as car shampoo, a sponge, leather chamois and some car wax or polish. You will also need a glass or window spray and a vacuum cleaner.

Cleaning the Exterior

Make sure that you clean the car from top to bottom, using a good quality shampoo. Make sure that you remember those hidden places that a potential buyer might want to look over, such as wheel arches, bumpers and the inside door panels.

Make sure that you rinse the car off thorough to avoid leaving any residue or streaking. You should dry the car with a chamois leather before applying the polish.

If you have alloy wheels it is worth spending money on a special alloy wheel cleaner, which will remove even stubborn dirt.

Use a good car wax or polish to give the car a shiny finish. If you spot any stone chips or scratches you can cover these up with a paint touch-up stick. If your car has any minor dents you may consider getting these repaired, but it is worth being realistic about whether you can recoup the cost with the sale of the car.

The Interior

Don’t forget about the inside of the car too. You should give the carpets, mats, seats and the door trims a thorough vacuuming, along with cleaning out the boot.

It's probably best to get rid of any items that are left in the boot, you will have to take these out once the car is sold anyway and whatever you can do to the boot to give it that impression of extra space is well worth the effort.

Any smokers should empty the ashtray and give the car’s upholstery a thorough cleaning, no-one likes the smell of old tobacco in a car. If your car is in particularly poor shape it might be worth getting a professional valet service to spruce up the interior.

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