This recent article in The Telegraph confirms everything I’ve said – and gives details of how to fix common cosmetic problems before you put your car on sale. Doing this can increase the value of your car and make it sell quicker – but it’s surprising how many people don’t bother.
Then again, may be it isn’t. After all, the same thing happens with houses. It’s common sense to make sure that easy problems are fixed and that everything is clean and tidy before showing your home – but lots of people don’t.
Look Good, Sell Fast
There are plenty of cheap, easy things you can do to improve the appearance of your car before putting it on sale. Here are a few examples:
- Use a product like Simoniz Back to Black to renovate all the faded external plastic trim on your car – you’ll be amazed at the results
- Remove minor scratches and scuffs with T-Cut or a similar product
- Minor damage to alloy wheels can be fixed easily, more severe damage will need professional attention but can be (too) expensive.
- Remove surface contaminants like tree sap, tar and stains caused by birds using a clay kit such as Meguiars (click here for my guide)
- Consider having minor dents and paint damage professionally fixed – it’s surprisingly affordable
- Thoroughly clean the inside of your car – consider using a car upholstery shampoo to clean the seats. It only takes half an hour and makes a real difference. Clean/polish the dashboard, too.
- Finally, even if your car is in perfect condition, make sure you give it a good wash and wax before taking photos of it.
Things Not To Do…
There are also a few things you shouldn’t try yourself. At the top of this list is paint repairs. Touching up stone chips with colour-matched paint is ok, but don’t try respraying panels or bumpers – it will look pretty naff and may well reduce the value of your car. A pro job won’t cost the earth and is worth considering.
Spend A Little, Make A Lot
When preparing your car for sale, don’t get carried away and spend more than necessary. Your goal is to maximiuse the value of your car – not to try and restore it to showroom condition.
There is no point in spending £300-£400 having your alloy wheels professionally repaired if your car is only worth £2,500 – you won’t get this money back when you sell it.
Concentrate on the cheap, easy tasks that will really smarten up your car and won’t cost you more than a few quid plus a few hours of your time.
It may be worth paying a professional to repair minor dents or paintwork damage – but don’t get carried away. Lots of minor scuffs and scratches can be covered up with scratch repair kits and T-Cut. This is a lot cheaper than anything a professional will offer and may be enough to smarten up an older car.