The first steps are to prepare your vehicle, follow the steps below to increase the value and the chances of selling.

Engine bay: -

  • Steam cleaners can be used to clean an entire engine bay but make sure all the electrics are covered and kept away from moisture.

  • I prefer using engine cleaner products on the inside of the bonnet, tanks and the top of the engine and leaving everything else as not to degrease any moving parts or ruin any electrics.

  • Make sure the window washer and coolant are topped up if required and check the level of the oil.

Exterior: -

  • The first few seconds of viewing a car can make or break a sale; this is why starting with the cars exterior is the most important.

  • Try and think what a showroom car looks like and try to recreate this with your car, purchase good quality car shampoo, polish, black bumper gel, tyre spray and interior cleaners.

  • Clean every area you can see, remember some potential buyers will get down on hands and knees so clean the wheel arches, wheels, door sills, engine bay etc.

  • Clean off any green marks around the window rubbers, get rid of any rust around the wheel arches or other areas with rust removers and use an original manufacturer touch up pen.

  • Touch up as many stone chips as you can and remove rust first if any has arisen. Make sure there are no watermarks and no dull areas on the paintwork. If there are you can try using a clay bar or a car mop from a body shop. Try and stay off products such as t-cut as they make the paintwork duller over time because of ammonia content.

  • There are various companies who offer paint-less dent removal and scratch removal without re-spraying the whole panel.

  • Touch up any alloy curbing you can with silver paint or refurbish if they are beyond minor touch up.

  • There are very few buyers who are after a modified car so it is worth selling all the expensive alloys, suspension or anything else you may have to fully return the vehicle to factory specification.

Interior: -

  • Make sure you clean the interior as well as the exterior by cleaning the roof lining, windows, dashboard, carpets, seats and all the buttons that may have become grubby.

  • I would advise getting any strange smells out of the car and removing any rubbish, loose items or anything that didn’t come with the car, such as scented trees or non-factory specific floor mats.

  • If you have a leather interior, cleaners and conditioners can make a huge different if you have never used them before.

  • A leather interior is a valuable asset to flaunt when selling a vehicle so try and get as good a finish as possible.

Documentation: -

  • Make sure you have all your documentation and everything is up to date and valid. It can be worth obtaining an HPI report to save time on a potential buyer having to get this done or to give your vehicle more “plus points” on the day.

Advertising: -

  • Make sure you highlight your vehicles assets by stating what extras it has – CD player, air conditioning, leather interior, alloy wheels etc.

  • Don’t go into too much detail unless you are selling a specialist car and you think potential buyers will be interested in the repairs or where you usually have your car serviced.

  • If your vehicle comes with an MOT or Tax for 12 months, make sure you write this as this can increase the value.

  • You can advertise your car on our forum for free or any other magazine or website of your choice. Make sure to price your vehicle realistically and take some good quality photo’s of the most attractive areas.

Handling the sale: -

  • Don’t get pushed down too low on your asking price. This won’t be the only person who is interested in your car so be polite and say no thank you if the offer is not good enough. You may even find they will come back if they can’t find anything better.

  • Try talking through with a friend how you would sell your vehicle, particularly useful if this is your first time.

  • Talk up all the good points and let the buyer know of any bad points as this shows your honesty and will give you a good name if you come to sell more cars.

  • Only let the potential buyer test drive the car on proof of insurance for the day and try and avoid “test pilots” if you are selling a high performance car.

  • Have all the documents ready including service invoices so the potential buyer can see what has been done.

  • Try to take a bankers draft or cash if possible. If the buyer wishes to pay by cheque, don’t let them take the car away until the cheque has cleared.

  • Use common sense on the day, don’t let the potential buyer drive the vehicle without you or a friend present, don’t leave receipts with your card number’s on in your documents etc.


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