• A polish job makes a great first impression; makes a big ...
    A polish job makes a great first impression; makes a big difference to ads as well.
  • Organise legal documents and papers neatly. Make copies f...
    Organise legal documents and papers neatly. Make copies for back-up.
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  • Get all the necessary formalities and paperwork sorted be...
    Get all the necessary formalities and paperwork sorted before handing over the keys.
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Best tips for preparing your used car for sale

20th Oct 2016 12:00 pm

A little effort goes a long way when you are about to sell your car.


Once you’ve made the heart wrenching decision of parting with your beloved car, there comes the daunting task of actually making the sale. For car lovers, their vehicles may be priceless, but the cars deserve the best value and also a good home. Getting the best price for your car certainly requires a fair amount of effort, but the end results are absolutely worth it. Here’s what you must do.


Minor mechanical updates like topping up the fluid levels and an engine oil change further add to the potential buyer’s confidence. Also check for windscreen washer fluids, AC coolant and brake fluids, and a new steering wheel cover would help during test drives. Additionally, a new set of wiper blades add on to the extras. Keep an eye out for electricals as well. Replacing a faulty bulb or speaker barely lightens your wallet, but makes a huge difference to a scrutinising customer. Keep in mind the spare wheel – a fully functional spare wheel and tool set are added bonuses. Also, for the careful buyers, keep a first-aid kit and hazard triangle ready. The final touch should be a mild and soothing air freshener.

No matter how well you’ve maintained and cared for your car, there are always those unfortunate moments when you scraped the bumper or a cabbie bumped into the rear. You may not have been concerned about the dings and dents then, but they surely creep up and can devalue the car. Fixing minor scratches goes miles to boost your car’s appearance and overall aesthetics. Also, a prospective buyer is likely to bring along a trusted mechanic to have a look at the car before he signs the deal. So make sure the car is mechanically sound, even if that means reaching for your wallet. Keep a clear record of as many of the maintenance slips of your car as you can as proof of good maintenance. Also, minor replacements for faded headlight covers, missing body trimmings or badges can work in your favour during a sale.


Looks will make or break your deal. A clean and well-maintained car immediately attracts buyers and also says a lot about the seller. Impress them and you’ve considerably increased the chances of making the sale. Wash the car thoroughly using car shampoo. After the exterior wash, give the car a good polish and wax job. If possible, get your car’s interior vacuumed and declutter unnecessary items like used bottles, wrappers and newspapers. Also, ensure accessories like the AUX cables and car chargers are kept in the glovebox, else, they might make the centre console appear untidy.

Paperwork and Evaluation

Once you are through with making your car look its best, organise the necessary paperwork like, insurance, registration and PUC. Remember, an insured car has higher resale value. Finding what your car is actually worth is crucial for a quick sale. Most car owners misrepresent the condition of their car and hence quote a wrong asking price. You can also visit popular websites to find out what your car is worth. Look out for other similar cars on sale and their asking price. When you’ve got a sense of comparable sale price range, pick a price you think is fair. Set it high enough, so you have room for negotiation. 

Organise legal documents and papers neatly. Make copies for back-up.


Images are powerful tools and can draw more buyers to your advert. Once the car is clean and detailed, take multiple shots of the front of the car with a clear, uncluttered background in good sunlight. Use a good quality camera or ask around if anyone knows a photographer who can help. Shoot pictures from different angles as well, and choose the best images from your selection for your ad. Also, take engine shots, interior, boot and the front and rear bottom if possible. Your ad presenting well-shot images of your car shows confidence and offers less opportunity for doubts. Make sure your Ad includes documentation photos as well, as they can improve your chances of getting shortlisted.

You can place your car ad for free on many online used car sales websites. A well written, crisp advert is the crucial next step. Keep the word count low, as readers’ attention span is limited. This way, buyers will catch the most relevant information about your car quickly. Your advert should comprise the following data: Price, year of registration, odometer reading, whether or not your car has a full service history, insurance and car colour written clearly, as opposed to the company paint names, number of owners and a list of optional extras if any. Usually, it is advised to advert as ‘Open for negotiation’ as it draws unsure buyers as well.

A polish job makes a great first impression; makes a big difference to ads as well.

Closing the deal

Once you’ve got prospective customers lining up at your door, it is time to close the deal. Potential buyers will want to test-drive the car. If in doubt, ride along with them so you can answer any questions about the car’s history and performance.

During negotiation, evaluate the buyer and try to understand if he/she can be brought to accept your price. If they are driving a hard bargain, stick to your guns. Once you have finalised the price, make sure you get the amount transferred before handing over the keys.

Beware of frauds and scams and be very careful about giving out your bank account details. Finally, get all the necessary paperwork signed and sorted before you hand over the keys. It is time for someone else to enjoy your car now.

The used car market is highly competitive and you might find multiple options similar to yours priced lower than what you are asking. Don’t slash the prices if you aren’t getting the demand you are expecting. A prospective buyer won’t mind shelling out a little bit extra for a better maintained and better advertised car. Also, have informal conversations with the buyer to add to his confidence. Ultimately, it is the car that will speak for itself. Keep your car in top shape and give it the care it deserves. For the ones who have just bought a new one, maintain and service it regularly to get the best out later.  

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