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The Simple Guide to Preparing Your Car for Sale

You may be trading your car for something newer, or scaling back in size to something more manageable, likely due to a change in lifestyle and transportation requirements, sooner or later you may have to sell your car.

Most sellers will want to ensure they maximise their return on the vehicle as the extra funds will go towards a replacement. Others may just want to sell it in the easiest and quickest way possible. Regardless, there are a number of steps you need to take to preparing your car for sale. Those in the business of trading will need a suitable motor trade insurance policy, dealers can find the most competitive quotes by using an online comparison site such as Utility Saving Expert. Simply enter a few details about your business and you will be able to compare a range of quotes from leading providers in minutes. Whether you’re a private seller or do this for a living, one thing is for certain – you’ll want to get the best price for the car.

Before you start producing an advert, you’ll need to take care of a few preliminary things first to prepare it for sale.

The price is right

You don’t want to undersell your car. Search for similar models of your car online that have the same age and features to get a better idea of what your vehicle is worth and will possibly sell for. This should be done in advance of listing and agreeing to a part-exchange deal.

MOT and important paperwork

Cars that have recently passed an MOT are far more appealing to buyers than those that haven’t. This is because it gives buyers some level of reassurance and they don’t have to pay for this extra cost themselves. This will go a long way to demonstrate that the vehicle is in good condition. Additionally, you’ll need to gather all the relevant documentation. You will require the following:

  • V5C (logbook)
  • Service book and manual
  • MOT certificates
  • Any significant invoices and receipts for work carried out or parts purchased

Locate the keys

You’ll need to find all the keys for your car, this includes the special socket-style tool for unlocking alloy wheels (where applicable). If you have removed any accessories or parts since ownership, make sure to reinstall these. This could include a tool kit or parcel shelf for the boot. If your vehicle comes with a built-in navigation system, this will likely include the address data of your home, workplace and friends. You’ll need to ensure this data is erased before selling.

Ensure your car is presentable

It won’t come as a surprise that buyers are attracted to cars that are clean and in tip top condition. Give the car a good clean from the inside and outside before taking photos. Think about the areas that potential buyers will likely see, such as the dashboard, steering wheel, seats and windows.

For those that have vehicles that are relatively new and of high value, it could be a good idea to repair any bodywork damage and paintwork scrapes.

Data protection

Many people don’t think their car stores any data about them. However, if your mobile phone has Bluetooth, a copy of your contacts may be stored in the vehicle’s memory. We mentioned above that a built-in satellite navigation system will likely have your home, work and friends’ addresses. You will not want to share this information with the buyer, so make sure you securely delete it before selling. Furthermore, access rights may need to be revoked on more modern cars and evidence will need to be given to reassure the buyer.

Here’s how you can achieve this: Access your vehicle’s infotainment unit and search for the Settings menu. Here you’ll find the necessary controls to erase your account and data. If you’re having trouble, consult the car manual for further help. Normally, this sort of setting is referred to as ‘restore to factory settings’, similar to what you would find on a mobile phone. Before driving to the dealer or private buyer, ensure you don’t reconnect your smartphone as you’ll have to go through these steps again.

Simply deleting the car’s application from your smartphone will not be enough to remove your access. To break the link, you’ll need to trigger the master reset key by physically accessing the car’s infotainment system. There should be step by step instructions on how to do this in the car’s manual. You can also use an online guide or video tutorial to help you do this. Those who are still having trouble may want to call the manufacturer to ask for guidance on this.

Always be honest

Honesty really is the best policy, and this goes both ways, whether you’re buying or selling a car. Although it may be tempting to be omit certain details, buyers will actually feel more confident if you’re upfront and honest about things, especially if it’s only a very minor issue. If you are asked any questions, answer these truthfully and to the best of your knowledge. This will ultimately make selling the car a lot more straightforward and ensure you avoid any potential legal ramifications later down the road.