How to Sell Your Used Car


Car buyers have a wealth of choice when it comes to buying a used car, whether through the classified ads in local papers, any of the second-hand car dealers in their area, or from the massive range held by so-called ‘car supermarkets’.

The painful truth is that some cars sell very quickly whilst others take forever. Knowing how to sell a used car the right way can ensure a quick car sale at the right price.

One invaluable piece of advice when it comes to selling a used car is to change your mind-set from that of the seller to that of the buyer. Imagine that you are seeing the car that you want to sell for the very first time.

Imagine that you were interested in buying a car of this make and model. What would make you think twice about buying the car that you’re trying to sell? Be honest. If you can identify anything about the car that would put you off buying it, then so can your potential purchasers.

To help you, here are some guidelines that will show you how to sell a used car easily and profitably whether to a private buyer or to a dealer.

Ensure the used car is mechanically sound

If you want to obtain the best price for your used car, purchasers must be satisfied that it is in a reliable, roadworthy, and safe condition. Get it fully serviced or at least inspected by a qualified mechanic prior to the sale so that potential problems can be identified and fixed.

A recent MOT pass will help a used car help more easily, as will the presence of full-service history. An oil change will help if this hasn’t been done for a long time and it wouldn’t harm a sale to replace worn windscreen wiper blades and to top up tire pressure, oil, water, screenwash, and brake fluid if necessary.

Thoroughly valet the used car’s interior

Begin by removing any loose rubbish such as sweet wrappers, receipts, stones, and twigs from the floor of the car. Empty the glove box; all that needs to be in there is the car owner’s manual and the paperwork. Check any other storage compartments that the car may have and remove CDs, maps, loose change, and anything else that might be in there.

Run your hands down the backs of the car’s seats and remove any junk you find. Once all of the larger items have been removed, thoroughly vacuum the car’s interior. Wash any removable mats if necessary. Now you can concentrate on cleaning the upholstery, dashboard, doors, and glass inside. A spotlessly clean and fresh-smelling car interior can make a huge difference when selling a used car.

Wash and polish the used car’s exterior

There’s truth in the old saying that you don’t get a second chance at a first impression and making your used car look as good as possible at first sight can help your chances of sale immeasurably. Many carwashes now provide a complete wash and wax-polishing cycle, but if this isn’t practical do it yourself.

Don’t forget to polish all glass including windows, headlights, rear lights, and mirrors. Replace missing or damaged hub caps. Blacking tires isn’t necessary unless they are really scruffy and detract from the overall appearance of the car; some buyers are suspicious about newly-blacked tires.

Don’t forget to remove any twigs or leaves that have collected around air inlets, and make sure that the license plates are clean and bright. Cosmetic scratches in the paintwork may be treatable with a ‘scratch-pen’ or T-Cut; anything deeper than exposes primer or bare metal should be attended to by a bodywork specialist. Don’t forget to empty and clean the used car’s boot.

Gather together all of the used car’s paperwork

Ownership/registration documents, MOT certificates, service records and receipts, insurance documents, the owner’s manual, and any other documents pertaining to the car should be collected together and placed in a folder or suchlike so that they can all be easily accessed by a potential buyer.

Find out exactly what the used car is worth and decide on a selling price

Ideally, you want to sell a used car at a price that is attractive to buyers but is neither too high nor too low. Check out classified ads and car magazines to get a feel for the price at which cars of your make, model, age, and mileage generally sell. You can also get a free online valuation and market price check from the respected.

Take flattering photos of the used car for use in sales ads

Taking pictures of a clean and polished used car on a bright sunlit day and from a variety of angles that show it off at its best will massively increase the effectiveness of newspaper and online advertisements, giving potential buyers a good indication of the quality of the used car that you’re selling and raise their interest.

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