According to the experts, you have to treat the sale of your car exactly the same way you would your house, and that means making it as appealing as possible. So what can you do, and is it worth the expense?
One of the most important things is cleaning your car inside and out, which costs next to nothing but can make a big difference. Karen Quinn, product manager at Halford said, “Spend up to £30 on a few car-cleaning essentials and, after an afternoons work, you easily add £200 to your car’s value”.
The maximum you should spend is £250 on an average car – otherwise you won’t see much of a return. Quinn added, “What any buyer wants to see is something that looks as though it’s been cared for, but he is not expecting perfection. Repairing scuffed or damaged bumpers is a must, but you might get away with a little wear and tear on the alloy wheels”.
So what are the top things you can do to add value to your car?
BODYWORK DENTS, SCRATCHES, CHIPS AND STAINS
Large knocks from other car doors or parking scrapes should be fixed by a professional, as an amateur job can do more harm than good. Long scratches can be fixed cheaply with a product such as T-Cut. For small bodywork chips you can buy a DIY touch up kit which includes primer, colour-matched paint and lacquer for around £12. Remove stains from bird droppings/trees by using a clay kit from around £25 to instantly add value.
CAR WASH AND SUN DAMAGE
If automatic car washes have left swirls or scratches on your car, use a colour polish (such as Turtle Wax Colour Magic) over affected panels or T-Cut Colour Restorer. The same products also remedy fading due to sun damage.
Ageing and accumulated wax on the bumper turns rubberised parts a whiteish-grey. You can easily put this right with the product Back to Black, for £4.99.
ALLOY WHEEL SCRATCHES
For around £30 you can remove wheel scratches with a special gel and elbow grease, then finishing with lacquer.
STEEL WHEEL GOUGES
If you find you’ve got dents and scratches, simply snap on four new wheel covers for the price of £13 for four and instantly make your car look better.
Buyers love tyres that look new. Use a paint-on product such as Turtle Wax Wet and Black for £5 to achieve the new tyre look.
INTERIOR AND UPHOLSTERY
The inside of your car is often a very important factor in the amount you will sell your car for. A couple of hours with an upholstery cleaner and sponge will pay dividends.
If your glass has small chips or cracks be sure to get these fixed. Finish by cleaning the glass inside and out.
There is nothing worse than dirty interior carpets. Clean your carpet with an upholstery cleaner or Sticky Stuff Remover (£4.99). If that doesn’t work, buy a set of new mats for between £8 and £20.
If your dashboard is faded from prolonged exposure to direct sunlight, shine it up in minutes with a cheap product on a cloth to make your car look new.