How to get more money for your car

Serious buyers will want to know how well your car has been maintained

A beautiful immaculate classic car in Thahiti Blue, parked up on a quiet leafy road, in May 2019, the trees are in blossom, and a soft light shining through the trees highlighting the shiny car.

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Traditionally speaking, there are ways you can sell your car that are quick and easy – such as doing a part exchange or selling to an instant car-buying website – but for this convenience, you will have to sacrifice price, as the money you’ll be offered will typically be on the low side. Alternatively, there are ways that will usually net you a good price, such as selling your car privately, but this is often an arduous process ­– and will generally require you spending a great deal of time and money in order to get the sale completed.

In this article, we’ll focus on what you can do to give yourself the best chances of selling your car in a private sale as quickly and easily as possible – whilst doing everything you can to proactively ensure that you drive up the sale price.

Get your car looking as good as possible

First impressions count. Thoroughly cleaning your car will help make it as appealing as possible to potential buyers. The better your car looks, the easier it’ll be for a dealer to imagine the car sitting on their forecourt or a private buyer to imagine themselves in the driving seat. If you’re hoping to sell the car for more than about £2,000 and you invest £50 on having a professional valet, you will usually make the money back several times over when you come to sell.

Have minor bodywork issues repaired

Anyone looking to purchase a used car – but especially a car dealer – will view any bodywork damage and instantly start to work out the cost of repairing it – then start factoring in this cost and deducting it from the asking price. If you’re selling a car for £1,000, it probably doesn’t make sense to have superficial damage repaired. However, if your ballpark selling price is more like £10,000 it will be – and you’ll probably find the outlay pays for itself.

Have your car serviced

If your car cost a lot of money when you bought it and you’re keen to get a decent return when you come to sell, having regular services is a way of protecting your investment. Your car will also be worth more when you come to sell if it has a full service history from a franchised dealership. It will also help you speed up the sale by removing any uncertainty about the car’s overall health.

Get your car’s paperwork together

Serious buyers will want to know how well your car has been maintained during its lifetime. So, when showing your car to a potential buyer, it is a good idea to take with you the car’s service book, any accompanying invoices for work carried out, and the car’s MOT certificates, if it has them. Some canny buyers might bring up the subject of paperwork as they attempt to chip you down on price – so it’s always best to have it readily available for their perusal and to be as transparent as possible.

Don’t leave original items out of the car sale

Often sellers will attempt to sell their car in an incomplete state. Trying to sell a car with a missing parcel shelf or without the spare wheel included, is something else that car-buyers might point out as they seek to knock money off your asking price. If you include all the parts of the car in the sale, you are taking away reasons for sellers not to buy your car – and, crucially, pay a fair price.

Find out more about selling your car and getting the best deal with verified dealers

Replace worn-out components

Again, this is probably only worth doing if your car is likely to achieve a decent price. However, floor mats, for example, are cheap and easy to replace – and can go a long way to revitalising the inside of your car. If you have a more expensive car, you can up the sale price by replacing key features, such as alloy wheels, with brand new ones in mint condition – and this will often help you achieve a much better price from a serious buyer.

Problems with private selling

Whilst it is certainly possible that you’ll get a great price for your car by selling privately, especially if you take proactive steps to drive up your sale price like the ones outlined above, it is still possible that you will be disappointed. You might not get the offers that you want, and the selling process might go on for a protracted period – during which time, you might meet a lot of timewasters.

On a more serious note, by selling your car privately you also run the risk of encountering scammers. Scammers can be very clever, and you will need to do all the due diligence to protect yourself. Taking video calls, getting addresses, meeting for inspections in safe locations, etc. Even if your seller is legitimate, many will want to pay for your car with cash or by cheque – both of which can be potentially worrying.

Unlike selling your car as a part exchange or to an instant car-buying company, there simply are no guarantees with selling privately. However, if you’re looking for a safe method of selling your car quickly and still getting a great price, you should try Motorway.

Sell your car the Motorway way

Motorway offers sellers an easy – and completely free – method of getting the best price when selling their cars.

Simply enter your car’s reg on Motorway’s website and you will be provided with an instant estimated sale price based on up-to-the-minute market data. They’ll then ask you a few easy questions about your car and guide you through the photos you need to take to complete your vehicle profile. It can usually be done right from your phone – in a matter of minutes.

If you choose to enter your car into their daily sale, it will be shown to Motorway’s nationwide network of more than 4,000 verified dealers looking to add to their stock of used cars. Interested dealers will then compete to buy your car, offering you their best price.

In as little as 24 hours you will receive your best offer – and, if you choose to go ahead with the sale, your car will be collected for free by the dealer and the money will be quickly and securely transferred to your bank account.

Find out more about selling your car and getting the best deal with verified dealers

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