How to prepare your car for sale

Consider your car's condition before a sale

In a private sale, signs of wear and tear could become major negotiating points. But car buying sites, auctions and part exchanges tend to be more forgiving of minor dents and scratches.

The most important thing to do first, before you decide how to sell your car, is to get an up-to-date market valuation of your vehicle. There are a couple of ways to do this:

  • Use a free online valuation
  • Compare your make and model, including mileage and condition, with other cars being sold privately. Use our Car Price Guide to quickly and easily compare prices.

Be sure to check prices with private sellers over dealerships. Dealerships add supplements to prices in line with the other services provided by the company.

Best time to sell your car

Certain cars sell better during certain seasons. Consider the time of year you are selling, as well as the age and mileage of your car. Remember:

  • Online auctions: pay days and weekends often produce better results
  • Spring and summer: convertibles and cabriolets tend to sell better when the weather is nice
  • Autumn and winter: 4x4s are more desirable when the weather and road conditions are poor
  • Major festivities: avoid trying to sell a car directly after a major spending event like Christmas or the summer holidays
  • Part exchanges: visit dealerships during traditionally quieter months - December, January, March and August.

How to prepare your car for sale

Presentation is key when it comes to getting your car ready for sale. As well as making it significantly more appealing, having a well-prepared car can also add hundreds, even thousands, onto the value of a vehicle in some cases.

It's also a good idea to collate all of your car's paperwork ready for the new owner, as this is key to proving that it has been well maintained over the years.

Below are a few ways to maximise your car's value, and get it truly ready to move onto the next owner.