What to do before selling your car to get the most money for it

Thinking of trading in your car to purchase a new one, and want the most money back for your vehicle? Then look no further, we’ve compiled a list of things you should do before selling your motor.

It’s all about first impressions

When you turn up to the dealership wanting the most for your vehicle, you need to impress. Arriving with your car looking like you’ve taken it off-roading, will not go down well. The sales team will think you’ve not taken good care of your ride and will instantly knock money off it. They will be thinking a lot of work will need to be done to this car to make it ready for resale, so they’ll want the best price for it.

How to make your car ‘retail ready’

The sales team will have already looked at a lot of cars that day that have been traded-in, so you want yours to stand out from the rest and be offered the most money for it. Ahead of going to the dealership, set aside a couple of hours to give your vehicle a good clean. And we’re not meaning just a quick wash with a bucket and sponge – we mean a full car detail! A proper detail where you ensure absolutely everything is spotless inside and out.

What does it mean to detail your car?

Detailing your car means cleaning it to the extent it restores the vehicle to a condition that is like brand new. Removing all the bugs and grime collected over the years, as well as removing contaminants from the wheels and paintwork.

How to detail your car

Stock up on professional car detailing products to make cleaning your car as easy as possible. These products do a lot of the hard work for you. Simply spray on and leave for the designated time and let the chemicals break down the dirt and grime.

The ideal detailing method would look like this:

Wheels – always clean the wheels first, as they are covered in lots of brake dust. Use a brush to reach the more difficult areas.

Pre-clean – use a pre cleaner that breaks up stubborn grime. This helps remove tough dirt ready to be washed.

Pre-wash – use a snow foam to remove loose dirt and soften more ground in dirt that will lift off when you wash it.

Contact wash – use a good car shampoo and wash mitt to remove the dirt that has been softened by the pre-washing methods.

Decontaminate – spray a decontaminate over your wheels and paintwork. This will dissolve any fall out or dust fused to the paintwork. Once you have done this step, wash and rinse again.

Dry – using a car drying towel, remove all excess water so the vehicle is dry and ready to be polished.

Polish – polishing by hand will do the job well. An all-in-one polish will be perfect!

Tyre dressing – now they’re all clean, applying a tyre dressing will give your tyres the wet tyre look.

Glass – the final touch is to use glass cleaner to remove any light scratches or fingerprints left on the windows.

Check under your bonnet

If you haven’t opened your bonnet for a while, expect to find all sort of leaves, moss, spiders and goodness knows what else! Cleaning out your engine bay and making it dirt and dust free will also put you in a great position to get the most money for your car.

If you want to, you can also clean under your bonnet with an engine bay cleaner. Dealers love a clean engine bay as, again, it shows you’ve taken good care of your vehicle – and it gives them one less job to do before they can resell your motor.

Ensure your vehicle is empty

If you know you’re going to part-ex your car on the day, then ensure you empty it. Make sure you’ve chucked out all the rubbish from any compartments and removed any personal items. Remember to leave the logbook, spare key and your locking wheel nut in a place the dealer will be able to find it. You don’t want to be rushing around emptying your car when the salesman is waiting – this is when you might accidently leave something behind.

Doing the simplest things, such as cleaning your car and making sure it’s empty inside, can make a real difference when you’re planning to sell. It’s worth putting in the hours to ensure your vehicle’s looking its best to get the best return on it.

And if you’re thinking about buying another car, then you really should check out these second-hand Vauxhalls – there are some cracking deals going on at the moment. Let’s face it, once you’ve bought yourself another car, you’ll want to detail your pride and joy in even more detail than before. Enjoy!


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  1. […] detailing the outside of your car is about much more than making sure it looks its best. It also will help to […]