Are you planning to sell or trade in your car before upgrading to a newer model? If so, read our guide to discover how you can boost the resale value of your old car.
You’ve decided that the time is right to change your car and you might be thinking of trading in your current vehicle against the value of the newer one. A little TLC on the vehicle you’re planning to sell, along with being shrewd on the market, will go a long way towards raising the resale value of the car you currently own.
You’re never going to recoup the value of a used car, but you can obtain a fantastic resale deal if you carry out ongoing basic maintenance. Once your vehicle is in decent condition and you can readily supply all its key documentation, you stand a great chance of optimising its resale value. Our guide outlines the main checks to conduct on a car you plan to sell, along with other tips for getting the best possible value out of it.
Important Tasks to Carry Out Before Selling Your Car
Unless your car is in a reasonably good condition, you will struggle to find a buyer for it, so make sure you do a few key checks first:
- Wash the car thoroughly, applying a suitable wax to add a gleaming shine. You should also make sure that the interior is spotlessly clean.
- Make sure that the windscreen wipers work properly and aren’t showing too much wear and tear. Consider installing a new set of wipers if the existing wipers are showing their age.
- Check that all the lights work and replace any which don’t. Ensure that the dashboard lights are also working properly.
- Top off all fluids such as oil, coolant and windscreen wash.
- Check the tyres to see if they are at an optimum pressure and tread depth.
- Have the vehicle serviced by a mechanic.
- If you think you can spot any faults with the car’s parts (e.g. pedals, gear box, brake pads), get these checked by a mechanic. They might be working just fine, but it’s best to get professional verification to be on the safe side.
- Get any visible dents or scratches removed.
- Get any cracks or chips on the windscreen repaired.
What Documentation Do You Need When Selling Your Car?
If you intend selling your car to a dealer or second-hand buyer, it’s vital to include key documentation such as:
- The vehicle’s registration certificate
- The vehicle’s service records
- The vehicle’s history report
- Your most recent insurance policy
- Warranty documents for parts such as batteries and tyres
How to Increase the Resale Value of Your Car1. Sure Your Car Is In Prime Condition
It seems obvious, but a lot of car owners neglect to touch up their vehicle before selling it on. Spending a small sum on carrying out vital checks could result in a notable addition to the car’s resale value.
2. Watch The Mileage
Vehicles with higher mileage are less likely to have a high resale value. The price of a car diminishes notably for every 10,000 miles clocked, so a car with 49,900 miles would have a significantly better value than one with 50,100 miles.
3. Know the Features that People Like
Some features are far more likely to add resale value than others, e.g. leather seats, parking sensors and snazzy infotainment systems will all boost resale value much more than subtle upgrades in styling.
4. Get the Timing Right
Cars being traded in late December will be targeted for sale in the New Year, which will help its trade-in value. The type of car you wish to sell can also become more valuable if in season, e.g. a 4-wheel drive will be sought-after in winter when road conditions are harsher.
5. Make the Most of Supply and Demand
If you’re planning to sell a car with in-demand qualities such as a diesel engine, you can fetch great value for it on a trade-in. Capitalising on car buyer trends can get you a fantastic trade-in deal.
6. Find a Dealer who Franchises in the Make that You’re Trading
Dealers will generally offer more for cars within their specialist franchise, e.g. a Vauxhall dealer will usually give better value on an Astra than a VW Golf. If you’re switching to a different car make, try to source a dealer who franchises in either the make that you’re selling or buying
7. Haggle Sensibly
Whatever the buyer offers you initially for the vehicle, ask for a higher amount. If the buyer sees that you’re intent on doing the deal and that you’ve done your research on the vehicle, you can haggle with them to get the best value from the deal. Don’t push your luck too much, though, or the prospective buyer could back out of the deal.
8. Consider Buying and Selling Separately
You don’t strictly have to sell your old car and buy a new(er) one in the same transaction. If the old car has a lot of mileage or mechanical issues, a dealer might not be overly keen on taking it as a trade-in. In this case, it’s better to take a lower price from a second-hand buyer for the older car and purchase new from a dealer eager to sell so that you end up with a lower net spend.