cleaning your car - get more for your motor

jonathan crouch on the importance of a little extra wash 'n brush-up for your car

cleaning your car - get more for your motor

When it comes to selling your car, a couple of hours spent on valeting and cosmetic repairs can make all the difference - in fact £500 worth of difference, according to motor trade journal Glass's Guide.

Certainly, a car that's well presented inside and out will particularly impress both dealers and private buyers - which should mean they'll pay more for it. In return for a bit of elbow grease and a small outlay on valeting products plus essential parts, sellers could easily realise that extra £500 on the value of any second-hand car.

So how should you go about cosseting your car - and what should you buy to prepare it for sale? Hopefully, these guidelines might help.

Body and Paint Work

Shoddy bodywork is a big turn-off. Scratches on paintwork and patches of rust not only make a car look scruffy and neglected, they automatically lower the price that a buyer is prepared to pay.

Make sure that rusty areas are treated with Rust Treatment

If the rust is too far gone, use a little body filler to fill up holes in the body work

Use a colour brush to cover up stone chips and minor paint work problems that need an exact colour match, or use the new Stone Chip and Scratch Repair System

Big motor stores like Halfords have wide ranges of car paints and normally offer a Special Order Paint Service for more obscure shades, with an exact match for any colour

Make sure that the less obvious areas are also pristine. Take care to treat marks on wheels, inside the engine and on bumpers with specialist paints

Replace any individual wheel trims that are missing and ensure you have a matching set

Cleaning

First impressions count when selling a car and nothing impresses more than a spotless showroom shine. You can achieve this using any number of different products ranging from upholstery cleaner to tyre cleaner.

Begin by cutting through dust and grime with a strong solution like an advanced car wash product.

Use a Colour Restorer to restore paintwork to a gleaming full-bodied shine. Combine this with a Showroom Polish to give the car a quick-shine that returns the paintwork to showroom standard

Dazzle the potential buyer with the quality of your alloys by using one of the many cleaning products available

Return faded bumpers to their original colour with Exterior Trim Treatment

Interior Valeting

Bad smells won't sell your car. To make the most of your motor, it is vital to make sure that the interior is as spotless as the chrome on the outside.

Be sure to spruce up the seats with an upholstery cleaner

Stick down any loose pieces of carpet with tape and freshen them up with a heavy duty carpet cleaner

Get dusty dashboards back to their former glory with interior trim treatment available in gloss or matt

Get rid of unpleasant smells with odour neutralisers, available in a wide range of fragrances

MOT

If your car is unroadworthy, it's not worth buying, so a current MOT is essential. But before putting a car through an MOT, it is important to carry out a series of simple checks to help it to pass.

Check and replace any faulty bulbs, the most common cause of MOT failure.

Make sure that wing mirrors are not cracked and that the interior mirror is firmly attached.

Replace worn wiper blades

Ensure that number plates are legible and not cracked

A few pounds spent on car valeting products and a little bit of effort can make all the difference between a quick sale and a non-sale - and if that effort also increases the price of the car, you would be mad not to get your hands dirty!







* The on-screen valuation is computer generated and may be subject to change, we will always need to view a vehicle and assess it before giving a final offer price, the final offer is based on the vehicle condition, mileage, paperwork and also the current market prices.