So, you’ve decided to sell your car. Now what? How do you get started and how can you make sure you get a great price?
Don’t worry, we’ve put together this handy guide full of tips to help you successfully sell your car and make it worth more. With just a little bit of time and effort, you can make your motor look marvellous and add some more value to it too.
As the saying goes, though “you have to spend money to make money”, but don’t worry, we’ll show you how to keep costs to a minimum.
Make your car look presentable
This might sound obvious, but first impressions count and you want your motor to look appealing.
To increase the car’s value, get it professionally cleaned with a reputable company. A full valet can cost anything from €50 to €100 but can add up to €1,000 to the asking price, depending on the car’s original condition. A grand is a huge return on your investment.
If you can’t get the car professionally cleaned, you need to do it yourself.
We suggest using a car cleaning kit, which cost around €20. At a push, you could use baby shampoo. We’d avoid using washing up liquid as this can strip oils and wax from the paintwork and can leave a residue.
Start on the outside and give it a good wash and don’t forget the wheels and as much of the underneath as you can manage. If your car has wheel trims, buy a new set for around €20.
Make sure your cleaning kit, cloths, buckets etc. are spotlessly clean. Any dirt could cause scratches. Rinsing the car before you start cleaning will wash away any debris and again help prevent scratches to the paintwork.
You should also wash your car from the top down. The lower parts of the car are the dirtiest and if you wash these first you could transfer dirt upwards and again, this can cause damage to the paintwork.
You need to clean the cabin too. Start by removing all personal items from the car, don’t forget to check the doorbins and glovebox.
You should do the vacuuming first as this can kick up dust. Remember the ‘Shack n’ Vac’? Well, get yourself some dry carpet shampoo and sprinkle it over the seats and floor and in the boot. Leave it to sit for as long as you can before vacuuming it up. This should help clean the majority of stains and add a nice fragrance to the car.
For more stubborn stains, use baking soda, a little water and an old toothbrush. Do not wet the seats as they take ages to dry. Trust us on this one.
New mats will go a long way to sprucing up an old interior. These can be got for around €20.
If you have a leather interior, use a damp cloth and put some mild hand soap on the cloth and then wipe down the seats and other leather areas.
Wipe down all the surfaces and clean the windows. If your car has an ashtray make sure you wash it out.
Removing odours is vitally important too, so fill the ashtray with baking soda or coffee beans, which should help to neutralise any foul smells. You can also place tumble dryer sheets under the seats to help absorb odours and add a fresh fragrance.
Dealing with dents
Buyers expect to see some scratches and wear and tear, but dents in the bodywork and bumpers aren’t a good look. They will turn buyers off or they’ll use these as bargaining tools to knock down the price.
You can add, on average, 15 per cent back on the value of your vehicle just by fixings any obvious dents. You can do it yourself – there are plenty of YouTube tutorials to show you how – but for bigger dents, we advise you to let the professionals do it. This can cost anywhere from €50 to €100. The same goes from deep and obvious scratches, leave those to the professionals to sort out while you tackle the smaller ones.
Check all the electrics – like you would when putting your car through its NCT. It is cheap and easy to replace most bulbs and fuses yourself or get someone in the garage to help you. Specialist motoring stores will usually do this for a small fee.
Mind the mechanics
Most buyers will want to look under the bonnet so have a quick look under there yourself and wipe down dirty areas and remove any leaves that may have blown in. You can make a paste of baking soda and water and use this with a damp cloth to rub on any corrosion.
Having a valid NCT is a real plus point for buyers. Consider putting your car through the NCT before selling as it really will give you the edge over those without an NCT cert. This costs €55.
Set a limit
A well-maintained car shows that you have taken care of it and this is attractive to buyers. Of course, you don’t want to spend too much money on the car that you are selling. It is recommended that you spend no more than €300 fixing up your car for a sale. This is according to Paul Normyle, who is the founder of the vehicle preparation service Shine.
Paul says between €250 to €300 is the point where “the cost might begin to eat into what you get back. What any buyer wants to see is something that looks as though it’s been cared for,” but they’re not expecting perfection.
So there you have it, top tips for selling your car to help you add value and get the best price possible.
Of course, when it comes time to sell your car, the best place to do so is on the Sweep app. Want to know how to create the best advert to sell your car? We’ve got a handy guide here.