When it comes to selling your car on, a bit of savvy and plenty of elbow grease will reap rewards, Suzanne Keane offers some tips to get the best price for your car.
It happens to all new cars. Before too long your once pristine vehicle is showing signs of neglect. Everything from salt, grit, rain, snow and mud attack the minute it is driven from the showroom. Inside, the upholstery keeps no secrets and scuffs and dirt marks bear witness to the many items, people and pets ferried about.
When it comes to selling your car, restoring it to its former glory will not only reap the best price but it will have buyers falling over each other to get their hands on the registration cert. It is possible to recreate that car showroom look at home with a bit of elbow grease and attention.
Here are some top tips that could woo your buyers and maximise your car’s value.
In the quest for a sparkling vehicle you need to get ready for some basic cleaning and clearing. You will need two buckets, some car shampoo and lots of elbow grease. Start from the top down and wash the car one panel at a time. Use one bucket for shampoo and the second bucket to rinse off the dirty wash mitt/sponge. Don’t forget to hose down the undercarriage and the inside of the wheel arches before you finish! Use a specialist bug and tar remover if washing alone doesn’t remove any spatters.
If you know how, a quick polish and wax will make a huge difference to your paintwork. Depending on the value of your car it may be worthwhile getting this done professionally when you decide to sell. If a professional polish / valet isn’t in your budget some colour correcting polish can make a huge difference but you must follow the instructions carefully or you may damage, not restore, the surface. As a finishing touch use a specialist cleaner on any black plastics on the car exterior – especially if they have turned grey with age.
Wheels and Tyres
Like the rest of your car, the wheels can present some cleaning challenges. Take the wheel trims off the car and scrub them clean and when replacing them use some new cable ties to lock them in place. If you have alloy wheels you will need a specialist wheel cleaner and wheel brush to remove any brake dust residues.
If you are missing any wheel trims or alloys try your local motor factors to get a new set in a similar style (not chrome spinners) or you could contact a car dismantlers to see if they had one to match. Finally check the thread depth and your tyre pressures – then apply some tyre shine and don’t forget to check on your spare wheel too!
To get the best price it is vital to make sure that the interior is as spotless as the paintwork on the outside. Clean the seats, vacuum the carpet and polish the dashboard.
Spruce up the seats with upholstery cleaner, clear any personal items out of the boot and remove any accessories – you may love that fluffy steering wheel cover but a potential buyer won’t! Polish the windows, both inside and out with plenty of window cleaner and newspaper and as a finishing touch add a new air freshener – but not a scent that’s too overpowering.
Top up all fluids – coolant, windscreen washer, oil – and make sure you have enough petrol in the tank for any test drives! When the engine is cold wipe down the plastics with a damp cloth.
Be objective about the condition of your car, and be honest with prospective buyers about any serious problems or repairs the new owner will have to assume. An internet savvy buyer will always do an online check of a car’s history before they buy so if you’re aware of any problems with your car be sure to let them know at a viewing.
With a car that shines, inside and out, the hard part is done; all you now need to do is determine how much your car is worth and haggle hard.