Tricks of the Second Hand Car Trader

second hard car shiny and new

How to Sell Your Car Like a Pro

Some simple tips for getting the best price for your second hand car – straight from the people who do it for a living.

Selling a car – the very phrase is enough to curdle the blood. It conjures images of shady dealers offering rock bottom prices on a trade in, or a procession of chancers turning up at your house to kick the tyres and waste your time.

Negotiation skills are, of course important when you are trying to sell anything, and particularly something that might be worth several thousands of pounds. But there are some tangible things you can do to boost your car’s value and desirability. From getting the paperwork in order to visiting your car paint suppliers to do some touch ups, these are the tricks of the trade that the professionals use every day.

Give it a thorough clean

First impressions count. If you are selling your house, you will cut the grass and tidy everything up before someone comes to view – it stands to reason. The same applies with a car. If it’s grimy on the outside and full of rubbish on the inside, it looks unloved and unappealing.

Pop down to your local car wash and invest £15 or so in getting it properly cleaned inside and out. If you are still using the car while you wait to sell it, keep it junk-free. Remember the boot and the cubby holes in the doors.

Check the tyres

With modern cars, there is a limit to how many mechanical bits and pieces the casual buyer can really check properly. But one place they will go immediately is to the tyres. If yours are getting close to the ends of their useful lives, that’s an immediate haggling point. And if the wear is uneven, it can point to tracking or balance problems that might put the buyer off.

Budget tyres do not cost the earth, and if you are selling a car in the hundreds, rather than thousands, you can even buy part worn tyres that will still have plenty of life in them and will look better than the ones that are on it now.

Deal with minor repairs

Most cars acquire a few scrapes and dents here and there through daily use. If you have alloy wheels, kerbs seem to have a magnetic attraction, and can put unsightly gouges in them. Professional repairs are inexpensive and make a big difference.

Scratches and grazes can be repaired to a good standard by anyone with basic DIY skills, and don’t forget little things like replacing duff bulbs. If everything works properly, it shows the car has been properly looked after.

Get the paperwork in order

If your car has a full service history, that’s great news. If it is a little sketchy, you can mitigate that by ensuring the most recent entry is a good one. Get at least a basic service done, and ensure the service light, if fitted, is reset and the service book is filled out.

If you had the clutch replaced 2,000 miles ago and bought a new battery last winter, that’s great. But make sure all the paperwork is filed away along with the service book.