You’ve had your car for a few years and you want a change, you’re bored with the interior or a few things are going wrong with it or you simply just fancy a change. So how can you minimise your liability? “Liability” I hear you say “my car is one of my most prized assets.” An asset normally increases in value where as liabilities cost you money and more often than not cars cost us money.

So how do you maximise your money out of your car?

Should you part exchange it or sell it privately?

Do you get the dents and scratches repaired? Do you refurbish the alloys?

Do you spend money on a full valet inside and out?

Ok the first thing you need to know is how much your car is worth depending on its condition.

You can find this out using a guide like Parker’s or Glasses Guide. Another way is looking at auto trader and seeing what the same make and model of car is being sold for and also checking the completed listings on eBay which will tell you how much similar cars are actually being sold for.

Once you know the market value of your car you then need to decide what you are going to spend on tidying it up. For example your car could be worth £1000 in bad condition or £1600 in good condition. So you don’t want the cost of the tidy up to exceed £600.  I would probably want to only spend £400 on the tidying up the car.

So next you need to decide where you are going to spend your money. Do you get the alloys refurbed, do you get the dent repaired, do you have the rust fixed, do you have it valeted?

I would definitely recommend a valet, having the interior all cleaned, seats washed and vacuumed if needed. Get it looking as clean as possible on the inside. That’s where you spend most of your time looking at your car! Then you need to tackle the exterior, if you have a dark coloured car that is a few years old I would recommend a machine polish, now there is a difference between a valeter’s machine polish and a painter’s. I would use someone who is a professional car painter to machine polish your car as they will have the expertise to remove any light scratches as well as reviving your paintwork.

Do you have the scratches painted or the dents fixed? Okay, when deciding this you need to look at the year and value of the car. A lot of people are concerned about corrosion, so if the scratch is revealing bare metal but the dent is small and clean, what I mean by clean is that the paintwork has not been broken. Then I would go with getting the scratch painted.

Cars can always be tidied up and made to look good for resale purposes. If you know some one in the trade I would ask their advice or even get a few quotes in for getting the work done, ask the companies opinion. We are always more than happy to give impartial advise on what we think you are best of doing when it comes selling your car.

Alloy wheels? If the car is some what of an enthusiasts car then I would say get the alloys refurbished and any other marks around the car sorted. If it’s your every day standard common car then people accept that alloys get kerbed, a kerbed alloy is not going to stop someone from buying your car!

Okay, once you have decided on what repairs you are going to have done on your car you then need to decide if you are going to sell it privately or trade it in. If you trade it in you are not going to get as much money for it as if you were going to sell it privately. I’m guessing you probably lose about 20% to 30% of the value of your car.  Please note that I am not a buyer or seller of cars but I have dealt with a lot of people and companies that do buy and sell cars!

So to break it all down you need to:

  1. Value your car
  2. Decide on a budget to fix the car
  3. Decide if you want to part exchange it or sell it privately