Life Motoring

Thursday 22 August 2019

How to get the best price for your car

A bit of elbow grease and research work wonders in the sale of your car, writes Geraldine Herbert

Cash call: Generally, don't replace tyres to get a sale
Cash call: Generally, don't replace tyres to get a sale

When the time comes to sell your car, it's only natural to want to get as much of your investment back as possible. There's plenty you can do to make the car more appealing and increase the resale value. Here are some top tips to get the best price for your vehicle.

Spring Clean

First impressions matter, so never underestimate the importance of a clean car. Give your car a thorough cleaning, inside and out. Depending on the value, it may be worth getting this done professionally. Make sure the interior is as spotless as the paintwork on the outside; a new set of car mats can help smarten up an older car. Clean the seats, vacuum the carpet and polish the dashboard. Make it look and feel like a well-cared-for car.

To repair or not

How much repair work you do on your car before selling it depends on whether you decide to trade it in at a dealership or sell it privately. While selling a car privately often means getting more money, it also is a lot more hassle than going to a dealer.

A dealership will determine the value of your car based on mileage, service history and condition.

Generally, if you are bringing your car to a dealership don't bother getting bodywork done, they prefer to see the small marks and do the work themselves rather than risk a bad paint job.

Don't waste cash

Don't get new tyres or get it serviced and don't waste money taxing it. While the price the dealership will offer you will reflect the amount of work they have to do, it is still always cheaper for them to do repair work than you, as they will do it for a fraction of the cost.

Kerb appeal

If selling privately, there are a few additional things you can do to improve your car's kerb appeal. Fix any paint chips or minor body damage, including any window-glass defects. Depending on the value of your car, you might also consider if a new set of tyres would be a cost-effective measure to help sell it. But do not replace them with budget tyres - you are better off leaving them as they are rather than wasting money on cheap ones. Ensure your car's headlights, brake lights and turn signals are all in working condition.

Service History

There are some things you can unfortunately do nothing about and the absence of a full service history is one of them. According to Niall Devine of a proper service history is worth between €1,000 and €1,500 on the value of a typical €10,000 family car.

The Right Price

It is important to set a reasonable price for your car. Set it too high and you will turn buyers away; but if it is too low you may lose out on a good deal. Striking the balance when selling a car is the key, so leave room for negotiation with a potential buyer.


Ensure all the car's paperwork is to hand, including the service book, vehicle registration certificate along with all NCT certificates. Ideally you should also include any repair and maintenance documents.

Take your time

Don't make a hasty decision or be pushed into a sale you may regret. There are always more potential buyers, so walk away if you are not completely happy with the deal.

Sunday Independent

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