Clean Your Car
Physical appearance is one of the main factors used when assessing a used car’s value. So while it may sound simple, applying some elbow grease and a good few hours to get your car sparkling clean can add hundreds of pounds to a valuation.
It may be a good time to stock up on some basics, such as car shampoo, polish and wax. Pay particular attention to the interior, not forgetting the upholstery and any plastic trim.
If you don’t have the time or materials to hand, consider taking your car to be professionally valeted inside and out.
Fix Minor Damage
No amount of spit and polish can get rid of minor damage like scratches and panel dents. Large or small, these can have a significant impact on the trade in value of your car.
ChipsAway’s SMART repair technology can be a cost-effective choice, as Phil Nothard from car valuation company CAP describes: "If you're hoping to get £2,000 for your car it's probably not worth spending £100 on SMART repairs. If you're selling it for £8,000 to £9,000 it definitely is worthwhile. I think more often than not, SMART repairs will pay for themselves."
Paintless Dent Removal (otherwise referred to as PDR) can also be a cost-effective way of removing dents in particular, and returning your car’s bodywork to its original paintwork finish. PDR can often provide surprising results, making it an increasingly popular choice for car insurers and company car fleet providers.
Know Your Numbers
Use a number of trusted online car valuation tools (like CAP) to build up a good idea of your car’s current market value.
Be careful not to overestimate – even if your car is worth a certain amount, factors like local demand, or a garage’s idea of how easy or difficult your car will be to resell, may lower the offering price.
Keep Your Car off the Table
Car salesmen know that if you’re trading in a car, they’ll have more room for manoeuvre when it comes to the final sale price of the new vehicle. That means less room for negotiation for you.
Try and negotiate the new car separately until you agree on a final price before bringing a trade into the picture. If you’re asked about it, say you’re not sure and it’s not important yet. It could be enough to secure a better deal.
Don’t Just Take the First Offer
Perhaps the most important advice is not to accept the first offer you receive. With so many factors at play, offers from different dealers, even those in similar locations, can often be many hundreds of pounds different.
Ask around at other dealerships before agreeing an amount. If the difference is significant enough, it might be worth doing business elsewhere.
Image credit: insuranceage.co.uk