How to Sell a Car
Shared by: Marymenti
How to sell your car Buying a car is always fun, but deciding to invest in new metal has a flipside - getting rid of your old car. It might be time to bid a fond farewell to a trusty workhorse that has served you well, or you might just want to get shot of a malevolent mechanical menace you wish you'd never laid eyes on. Ether way, you need to make your soon-to-be-departed car as attractive to potential purchasers as possible. Whether you're offering the vehicle for part exchange at a dealer, taking out an ad in the classified section of your local newspaper or placing it with an online sales service, it's important that you get maximum value to put towards your new wheels. So here are four essential tips that every seller should adhere to. Remove yourself from the car No, we don't just mean get out of the driver's seat (though offering to act as chauffeur to the new owner for six months might increase the asking price). Inevitably, you will have enjoyed - or endured - some sort of relationship with your car. That relationship is now at an end, so it's time to clear the decks and remove any remaining traces. Get that car interior spic and span Sling your CDs into that box under the stairs, remove all boiled sweets from storage areas and consign lucky charms, cuddly toys and nodding dogs to the dustbin. You may think they are hilarious, but a buyer will view them as silly items that still mark the car as yours. Even a flashy chrome tax-disc should get the heave-ho in favour of a simple plastic one. If you happen to have the original disc from the car's first dealer, all the better - it signals continuity. You should also remove any stickers you may have used to personalise the car, both inside and out. Anything related to politics, pets or football teams is a definite no-no that could easily alienate a buyer. The only exception you might like to make is any 'No Smoking' sticker you have fitted. When a buyers see one, they might think you're a bit of a busybody, but they will be reassured that no nicotine smells are lingering in the upholstery. Clean the machine Give the car a thorough clean, inside and out. Pay particular attention to the steering wheel, switchgear and seat adjustment controls - the first things a potential buyer is likely to touch on a test drive. Clean the inside of the windows as well as the outside to let as much light into the cabin as possible. Spending a few pounds on proper car cleaning products is a sound investment - don't be tempted to make do with washing up liquid and an old tea towel. Try to avoid cleaning agents with a strong smell - it makes the fact that the car has only recently been tarted up far too obvious. Remove air fresheners, too. If the buyer doesn't like the fragrance, he or she won't like the car either. Aim for as neutral a smell as possible. Brush excess grime from the engine bay but don't be tempted to have the whole lot steamcleaned unless your car is of the sort that looks at home on a concourse. Many buyers will view a gleaming engine in an ageing car with understandable suspicion. Second-guess your buyer and ask yourself what you would look at if you were considering a purchase. Make sure the oil filler cap is clear of any suspicious deposits and check that battery terminals, fluid levels and electrical connections all look presentable. Loose cables or pipes should be neatly put in place to give the impression of an engine that has been worked but never abused. Paper over the cracks No matter how much elbow grease you expend on making the bodywork shiny and the wheels sparkling, it could all come to nothing unless you've put in some legwork on the paperwork. Hopefully, as a good owner (you are, aren't you?) you will have kept a comprehensive record of all the vehicle's trips to the garage and will have a servicing record with plenty of reputable stamps and no blank spaces. Even if your records are incomplete, a thick pile of paper can provide buyers with valuable reassurance that they are dealing with someone who has taken care of the car and is not just selling it on after a short stint of problematic ownership. But it's no good to thrust a thick sheaf of disorganised papers, receipts and MoT certificates into a buyer's hand and expect them to work through them. Buy a cheap file or binder and put all the documents inside with the most important ones at the front (V5 registration, MoT and insurance). Behind these, place other papers and receipts in chronological order to give a full account of the car's life. If possible, present the owners' handbook, stereo instructions and other printed material that came with the car in their original wallet. Do your homework You are certainly not the only person currently selling a car and you're unlikely even to be the only person in your area selling any particular model, so a little awareness of the marketplace can be a great help. One of the easiest and cheapest ways for you to find out the value of your car on the second-hand market at any one time is to find another one in the Auto Trader listings that is similar and take it from there. You can of course ask for as much as you like for your car, but unless it’s in line with the market value you will not sell it – it’s as simple as that.