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Top tips: how to prepare your car for sale

Top tips: how to prepare your car for sale


Selling your car can often be a stressful and time consuming process. If you choose to sell privately, you might see countless weekends spent meeting prospective buyers only for them to decide against taking the car off your hands. To help you make your car stand out and sell faster, we’ve put the following list of tips together.

Get it cleaned

A bit of polish will never go amiss when the time to sell your car comes along. Be sure to give it a thorough seeing to both inside and out to remove any unsightly dirt or smudges from sight. 

Remember, chances are you’re going to be showcasing your car to quite a few people, and a clean and attractive looking vehicle is going to make a far better impression than a dirty and tired-looking one.

Get your car clean for sale

Make sure all documents are in order

Having all the car’s paperwork together in one place is important if you want to come across as a trustworthy seller. A punter will ultimately choose a vehicle that comes with a full service history, V5C registration form and up-to-date MOT certificate over one that doesn’t. 

It might also pay to collect any receipts for work you might have had done on the car during the course of your ownership, so that you can prove to any prospective buyer that you have looked after the car.

Documents in order before selling your car

Assess any bodywork damage

The odd dent or scratch here and there is to be expected if you’ve owned your car for a good deal of time. As a result, if your car isn’t near-new, getting these small aesthetic blemishes fixed may not be worth it, as it isn’t likely to add any additional value on to your car. 

If, however, your car is still a relatively recent model, you’re not as likely to get away with leaving any marks untouched. If you’re the type of driver that constantly kerbs your wheels, you might want to have a look into getting these refurbished, too.

Assess bodywork damage before selling

Get a vehicle appraisal

Take your car to a handful of dealers around your area and see if they will give you an offer. Remember, you don’t have to take them up on their offer, so if you’re not absolutely desperate to get your car off your hands doing this will give you a good idea of what your bottom line price should be if you decide to sell privately. You will then be able to use these figures to your advantage when negotiating with other potential buyers. 

Remember, if you’ve taken the time to clean your car up and get all of its papers in order, this should mean dealers will be willing to offer you more.

Craft a snappy advert

Listing your car for sale on classified sites like AutoTrader or eBay is likely to be your best bet if you’re wanting to sell privately. Make sure your ad is concise, easy to understand and gets to the point quickly. You also want to disclose any problems your car might have, or detail any work it has had done to ensure transparency. Make sure the photos you include show your car off from a flattering angle, but at the same time be honest about any noticeable damage.