Followers of our blog will have seen our recent feature about factors that affect your car's value when it comes to selling it, or part exchanging it for something new. If you need a reminder, here it is again. Seeing as small things can have a big effect on the value of your car, here are a few things that you might not have thought of, that you should check before sale time.
Find your spare keys!
Keys are very small and can easily get mislaid, but you'd be amazed how expensive a new one can be. Modern cars have sophisticated immobiliser systems and the remote keys are specifically coded to that car. So, if you lose one and need to replace it, a new one will need to be ordered, cut to fit the car locks, and electronically coded by a dealership. Each new key costs between £100 and £300, so it's an expensive loss. Anybody buying your car is likely to know this, so they won't want to pay the full price with only one key. If you're not sure where your spare key is, take the time to have a search through drawers and cupboards to see if you can find it, or order a new one if you really can't find it anywhere.
Paperwork and Maintenance
It's important that your car's service history stacks up. Buyers want the reassurance that their new car has been well looked after, and that all required service work has been done properly. This is particularly important when you consider parts such as timing belts, which need replacing after a few years and at a certain mileage. A timing belt can destroy the engine if it breaks, and you can't always tell it needs replacing by looking at it. By keeping up with routine maintenance items such as tyres, brakes, wipers and lights, keeping your service book stamped up, and by keeping all your bills from your services, parts and MOTs, you can tell the true story of a cherished car. If your car is on finance, obtain a settlement figure early on so you know how much you need to pay to settle it, and be up front about this with potential buyers. They won't be very pleased if you don't tell them, and it comes up on a vehicle history check. It's worth planning early if you intend buying your new car on finance, because your dealer should be able to make this a seamless process.
Cleaning, cleaning, cleaning!
When it comes to maximising the value of your car, a proper clean helps its good condition shine through. By a proper clean, I don't mean driving it through an automatic car wash! Take the time to give your car a good wash and wax on the outside, and a vacuum and clean inside. If you want to do this yourself, all the products you need should be available at your local car spares store. Get a decent bucket and sponge, a wash and wax product, and some cleaning spray for the windows and interior. Clear out the side pockets, get rid of excess clutter, and don't forget to vacuum down the side of the seats! If you really can't face cleaning it yourself, it really is worth paying for a proper valet.
Pretend you're the buyer
We all love our car and would be hurt if someone ever dared pick fault with it! But nobody's car is perfect. A good way of checking your car is to pretend you're buying it for the first time, and inspect it carefully. Get someone else to look round it for you if you don't trust yourself! Look for bodywork issues, worn tyres, scuffed wheels, bonnet chips or damage to the interior - basically anything that a potential buyer is going to pick on. Many of these snags can be sorted quite cheaply, and usually for less money than a buyer would demand off the price, so it's often worth sorting them out yourself rather than leaving it for the buyer. If you want an expert's opinion on your car's mechanical condition, you can always book in at Thame Cars for a free health check.
You can also book your car in for a full valet at Thame Cars to ensure it looks good as new, to book your car in or find out more give us a call on 01844 390 560.
How can I value my car?
There are a range of ways in which you can find out how much your car is worth. You can do your own research on websites such as Auto Trader, eBay or Gumtree. Compare your car with similar advertised models of the same spec, age and mileage. Bear in mind that these sites will often show asking prices, not actual sale prices. Alternatively, visit our Value Your Vehicle page for more information, to use our free online value calculator tool, or to book in for your free valuation.
This little guide goes to show that with a little time and effort, you can potentially make a big positive difference to the value of your car and make it much easier to sell through being more attractive to potential buyers. Any increase in value is money in your pocket, and the potential of a nicer, higher spec car when it's time to upgrade.