Sparesbox Blog

The Ultimate Guide to getting your Car Ready for Sale!

By James Andrew

Mon Apr 18 2016

Selling a car can be a daunting process. Offering up your car to the critical eyes of potential buyers as they try to pick any faults in the hope of finding bargaining chips can be a pretty stressful experience, especially if you aren’t particularly car savvy.

Taking a few simple steps to ensure your car is presented in the best light will maximise the odds of finding a buyer quickly and getting a price you’re happy with.


1. Service The Car

This may seem like an obvious one but if your car is almost due for a service, get it done! Even if you still have 2,000km until your next scheduled service, we recommend having your trusted mechanic service the car and give it the final once over.

If the car is due to be serviced upon purchase, this presents the potential buyer with additional costs that they will need to spend in the near future, prompting them to either ask for a lower price or walk away. If your vehicle is due for a major service and it is too expensive to be feasible, be aware that buyers will likely pick up on this and you may be asked to accept a lower price.

Handy tip: Ask the mechanic to check the handbrake adjustment, as this is one of the first things your buyer will touch on their test drive and a tight handbrake makes a big difference to the overall feel of the car. Be sure to keep the list of any faults your mechanic may find as this will give you an indication of what faults your buyer should be aware of upon purchase.


2. Detail the vehicle.

A surprisingly overlooked factor. Detail the car inside and out. We don’t mean give it a wash and put some tyre shine on. Give the car a polish and wax! This can be tricky so ensure to do it properly otherwise it may look worse than when you started, and we don’t want that. Vacuum the interior and try to remove any stains. If your car has a leather interior it is worthwhile purchasing some leather conditioner and applying it over a few days to keep the leather supple. Dry leather can crack and by treating your car’s leather it will lift the look of the interior and give your car tan edge over the competition. Spend the extra time and get the windscreen crystal clear. It is worth giving the engine bay a dust off and making sure everything looks generally tidy. Avoid using products like ‘Armour All’ as this product leaves a film that attracts dirt and leaves a sheen on everything, for those who might not know this gives the impression the car has been “tarted up”. A product like Mothers Back-to-Black works well for returning hoses and rubber components to a like-new black finish without looking like you’ve touched it.


PS: Don’t have the boot full of junk, as they will probably want to check the spare tyre.

3. Attention to Detail

Make sure the tyre pressures are correct, that the lights work, the fluids are topped up and wiper blades are in good condition.
Remember: it’s the details that matter! If you’ve had your vehicle serviced your mechanic should have checked these things, if the tyre pressures are low or uneven it may effect the way the car feels to the buyer. Similarly, if the wipers are old or the car has a blown globe a buyer may take it as indicative of the care the car has received in your ownership. A potential buyer will almost always check the vehicles fluids so make sure you top up the coolant, oil and brake fluid to the correct levels. Don’t forget the windscreen washer bottle! We recommend a bit always mixing in a bit of screenwash not dishwashing liquid.

4. Take Decent Photographs!

Possibly the single worst thing you can do for your cars advertisement is to take poor pictures for the ad. Pictures on the side of the road are a big no-no, not only does it imply the car is kept on the side of the road, but its doesn’t do the car any favours in terms of showing it off. The same applies for pictures right after you have washed the car. Of course, you should wash the car before you take pictures of it, but don’t do so when it is still surrounded by water with the bucket and hose in the background. We’ve seen some ads where the owners have photographed the car while it is still wet. We appreciate an artistic photo of a nice car as much as anybody but save it for Facebook! It’s hard to judge the condition of paintwork when a car is wet and if your car is a significant distance from your potential buyer they may put it in the “too hard” basket.


5. Be Friendly

Probably the most important point of all. If you approach a potential buyer in a welcoming manner, you’re likely to have a pleasant and hassle free transaction. Be open with the information you give and have the Registration Papers and service history on hand should the buyer wish to see it.


If you have any questions drop us a line! And good luck selling!