RAC Cars News


How to get the best price when selling your car

By raccars Published

Second Hand Cars

Battle the inevitable effects of depreciation when it comes to selling your car.

Depreciation is an unlovely but inevitable side effect of buying a new car. As soon as you take ownership of that shiny new metal, it starts losing money. When you are ready to sell it a couple or more years later, you may remember the price you paid and weep at what you can expect to sell it for now. Trying to fight depreciation is like trying to fight the effects of ageing - it can't be done. However there are steps you can take to minimise the obvious damage or, in this case, maximise the resale value of your car.

Selling your car with a full service history

The key factors when setting a price for a used car are make, model, age and mileage - there's not terribly much you can do about any of these. Probably the next most important factor is the service history. A great deal is made of the value of a service history when buying a used car, to the point where it can be worth up to 20 per cent of the car's value.

To gain maximum traction for the service history you have so carefully preserved, don't just collect stamps in your service log. Keep invoices and details of any inspections and work carried out on the car. A stamped service book alone counts as a 'partial service history'.

Minor repairs

You'll find very few used cars for sale without some evidence of kerbed alloys or stone chips. No matter how carefully you drive, all cars are subject to minor damage during the course of daily use. The question is whether it's worth paying to get that damage repaired before selling.

Paying to get minor damage repaired could be financially worthwhile if it costs less to do so than any discount you would have to give based upon that damage. Repairing a kerbed alloy can cost about £50-75 - if you pay to get it done, will you make back that money in the sale price due to that specific work? It's unlikely.

However, it's worth getting the touch-up pen out to address stone chips but make sure that you match your paint code exactly, and do arrange to have more significant damage professionally repaired - and not just because you're selling. If you suffer a deep scratch or dent, get it dealt with at the time so any bare metal doesn't start to show the effects of exposure.

Keep it clean

Keeping your car clean not only makes it a more pleasant place to be but it can also protect your paintwork from the damaging effects of dirt. Modern paints are very sophisticated but can still degrade if abused. Smart, shiny paintwork is all important for first impressions and surface contaminants such as bird droppings and tree sap can leave permanent stains in the top layers of paint. Make an effort to clean your car regularly, without using strong abrasives, and treat it to a professional polish occasionally. The same applies to the interior and exterior.

Service and MOT

Many people advertise their used cars with a fresh service and MOT. This can be an attractive selling point if you're selling privately but don't bother if you're likely to part exchange or sell to a dealer because they'll probably want to perform the work themselves so you're unlikely to see a return on the expense.

RAC Car Passport

An RAC Car Passport can reassure buyers as to the integrity of your vehicle's paperwork, providing evidence that there are no outstanding loans, that the mileage is genuine and various other helpful data. While buyers can perform their own HPI check and other research, providing them with this information from a reputable source can set your car apart from others they may be considering.

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