How To Get Your Car Ready To Sell

Decided it’s time for a new motor? What are you going to do with your old one? You might be keeping old of it or selling it for scrap, but if you’re selling it on, it’s vital you make it as attractive to buyers as possible.

Here are some tips for getting your car ready to sell. Most of the advice is for those selling their vehicle privately, but a lot of it will also be handy for those part exchanging their car for a new one.

Clean your car, inside and out

First impressions are important, so it’s vital you get your car looking as clean as possible in order to wow those potential suitors. If your car is covered in dirt and mud then it just doesn’t paint a very good picture, and if you haven’t looked after the outside then it suggests you haven’t looked after the inside or what’s under the bonnet either.

Speaking of what’s under the bonnet, it’s worth giving that a bit of a clean as well. Even if the person buying your car doesn’t know a thing about how anything works under there, the fact that it looks clean will go a long way.

Check out our full range of car cleaning products to get your vehicle sparkle.

Touch up any chips or scratches

For a similar reason to washing your car, touching up any scratches or chips just improves the overall look of your car. A buyer should expect a few marks here and there when buying a used car, but anything major could really put them off.

Take a look at our guide on how to touch up scratches on your car or browse our range of scratch repair products.

Fix major repairs

As well as touching up small scratches and marks, it’s also important to get any major work done before you sell, particularly anything that makes your car unroadworthy. It’s actually illegal to sell an unroadworthy car, unless the buyer is fully aware and wants to continue with the sale anyway.

If there’s other work that needs doing (but wouldn’t render the car unroadworthy) then you should either get it fixed or fully disclose the issues and prepare to sell at a reduced cost.

Problems you might want to consider fixing include broken headlights, balding tyres, and damaged upholstery.

If you need to replace any bulbs in your car, then we have a huge selection to choose from.


Take plenty of photos

Being able to see the car is incredibly important for buyers, so if you’re selling online, make sure you take plenty of photos. Photograph the car from angle, so potential buyers can see every little detail, including inside the car and even under the bonnet. Even taking photos of things like the tyre tread can make a difference.

This helps buyers to make a more informed decision, proves you’re not trying to hide anything and is less likely to result in anyone getting annoyed that you haven’t disclosed something.

Fill up fluids

It’s worth just topping up the fluids in your car before someone comes to take a look at it. It’s not a major issue, but if the engine management light comes on because you have low brake fluid or windscreen washer fluid then it doesn’t make a great impression.

Read more: How Brake Fluid Works & How To Top It Up

Take a look at our full range of car lubricants and fluids.

Get a third party inspection

If you really want to know how healthy your car is before you sell it then you can also get a third party inspection. Any garage will do this for you and should be able to give you a thorough breakdown of any problems and advise you on the cost to fix them.

Determine the true market value of your car

Don’t just pick a ballpark figure out of the air when putting a price out there. Doing this will more than likely either result in you putting off buyers with a price that’s too high or losing out on money with a price that’s too low.

Do your research beforehand and look at what similar cars are being sold for so you know where to pitch your price. You’ll also need to be prepared to negotiate – most buyers will try and knock you down on the price, so you may need to accept slightly lower than you originally advertise.

Gather together any and all paperwork

Before a potential buyer comes to take a look at your vehicle, have any and all paperwork ready for them to take a look over.

This should include all maintenance records, the V5 document, insurance records, log book, service history and records, and even any receipts of repairs if you have them. Doing this means the new owner is fully informed of the history of the car, and is less likely to come knocking with questions or problems further down the line.

We reached out to online car dealership Carspring for their advice on selling your car, and they said that paperwork was a big deal in getting the most for your vehicle. Max from the company said: “You’d be surprised at the difference in price we’re able to offer cars with all the detailed paperwork and those without. A full-service history, for example, provides us with the evidence and reassurance we need to offer that little bit more, and for that peace of mind, you’ll find that buyers will be prepared to pay extra. It really is in everyone’s best interests to get as much paperwork as you can about your vehicle.”

However, do not let anyone borrow any of the documents or even make copies of them.

Car mechanic


Consider a new MOT

Depending on how long is left on your current MOT, it might be worth getting a new one as this says a lot about the condition of the car.

Read more: What Will A Car Fail Its MOT On?

If the car has less than three months left then you should definitely get a new MOT as otherwise this might suggest you’re trying to get rid of the car because it won’t pass its next MOT.

Deal with outstanding finance

Quite simply, you can’t sell a car that has outstanding finance, which includes hire-purchase or conditional sale agreements. If you do want to sell your car but you have outstanding finance, then you’ll need to speak to the finance company who may or may not grant you permission to transfer the finance over to someone else. They probably won’t allow you to without having full details of the potential new buyer.

The other option is to settle the remaining finance before selling.

Throw in some freebies

If you’re having trouble selling your car, or you just want to appear as attractive as possible for buyers, you could consider throwing in some freebies with your car. This could be in the form of 6 months of tax, a sat nav or organising a professional valet. Anything that could help your car stand out from others in the listings.

Once you’ve sold your car

Well done if you’ve managed to sell your car! But you can’t quite put your feet up just yet, unfortunately.

Once you’ve sold your car, you need to contact the DVLA as soon as possible and inform them that you are no longer responsible for the vehicle. If you don’t then you might find the new owner’s speeding fines or convictions coming through your letterbox.

Along with the new buyer, you’ll need to complete the relevant sections of the V5C and send them off to the DVLA You can find more information about this on the DVLA website.