10 tips for increasing the value of your car

With less buyers in the current economic climate,
it's even more important to make your car stand out!

DannyDanny Argent 31/01/09

When people ask, "how much is my car worth?", they are seldom thinking that they could actually increase their car's value. But there are several ways to invest in your car that will give you an immediate return. According to British Car Auctions, the cost of damage typically decreases the value of a car by three times the cost of repair, this is how used car dealers make their money. Not all of the professional tips on this page will cost you anything, but for those that do, you should at least double your money.

The best way to go about this is to find out the value of your car in good condition, and in it's current condition. You can then find out what the car's potential is and work to a budget.

  1. Wheel Refurbishing - Tatty, scuffed alloy wheels can really let a car down and can decrease the value by a massive amount. The funny thing is that you don't really notice them, you may not even look at them because your eyes are drawn straight to the body. As well as scuffs and scratches, your wheels have probably gone dull and stained. But if you refurbish the wheels, suddenly the car gets a massive lift. [more]Alloy Wheel Refurbishment
    Jaguar XK8 before restoration Jaguar XK8 after restoration
    This XK8 just wouldn't sell and received an offer of only £10,500. But after spending
    £1,200 on preparation it sold for £14,400. [read the testimony here]
  2. Replace old number plates - This is another item you probably haven't noticed! As they are standard on all cars, people tend not to look at them... but are they tatty and stained? The devil is in the detail, and so putting new plates on your car will make it look that much newer. You still won't notice them but they will make a difference, and the best thing is, this is cheap to do.
    Just to be clear, we aren't suggesting putting on a personalised number, or using fancy letter styles -- in fact, custom plates have to go! Just replace your existing plates with new ones.
  3. Remove odours - If there is a slight odour in your car, you may be so used to it that you don't even notice. There may be a damp smell from the time you left the window open, or a slight smell of 'wet dog' which may be enough to put off a prospective buyer. The best thing to do is to ask a friend, preferably a woman, to have a sniff and see if the situation requires attention. [more]Car Odour Removal
  4. Scuffs on Bumpers - Lots of cars have these as they are so easy to get! They can be relatively cheap to fix with Smart Repair, and you don't have to have the whole bumper repainted! [more]Bumper Scuff Repair
  5. Stone Chips - Lots of stone chips on the front of your car can make it look old! They may not leap out at you as a major problem, but they add age to a car and could devalue it by hundreds of pounds. If you are willing to do it yourself, touching in the stone chips will cost you no more than the price of a small tin of paint and a decent brush. Small Scratches can be repaired in much the same way.[more]Stone Chips
  6. Shampoo the seats - Obviously, nobody wants to sit on dirty seats! So if your seats have a few stains, have your car professionally valeted and the interior shampooed. But even if their are no stains or marks, if your seats and carpet have never been shampooed, that will give them a lift in terms of looks, and also help to remove any stale odours. [more]Interior Valeting
  7. Give the car a polish - After a car is a few years old, the paintwork can become dull and oxidized. Giving the car a polish so that it becomes bright and glossy will make it look newer and more attractive to potential buyers. If your car has light scratches, these can often be polished out or at least reduced, so you may want to consider having a professional machine polish your car. [more]Exterior Valeting
  8. Paintless dent removal - Unfortunately, one of the drawbacks of having your car polished is that all of a sudden, all those small dents and dings can become more obvious!
    While dents will harm the value of your car, you can have them removed without the need to have panels repainted. [more]Small Dent Removal
  9. Remove after-market accessories - Many of us like to individualize our cars with custom accessories, but unfortunately, very few of these enhance the value of a car, most seriously de-value it! The biggest one is custom wheels, so if you have the originals, put them back on, if you haven't try to source them second hand and refurbish them.
    Also remove tinted light covers, no-smoking signs, car mats that don't fit the car, beaded seat covers or lumbar support cushions. Basically anything that doesn't look like it belongs with the car... or anything personal such as child seats - remove them when showing the car to a prospective buyer. The exception to the rule would be aftermarket boot liner trays and car mats that actually fit properly and look like they belong. Although we recommend rubber mats for use in winter, they do nothing to enhance the appearance of the car.
  10. Good photos and good descriptions in your advert - What the car manufactures have realized is that people don't buy cars, they buy the lifestyle! This is why so few car adverts on TV tell you anything about the car, instead they show exotic locations and beautiful people.
    You can use the same trick when displaying your car. When you photograph your car, take it to a nice location in good weather. Likewise, put relevant information into the description of your car so that you list the selling points. There are more tips about this on our Car Seller's Guide.
We took a look at 3 Series BMWs on AutoTrader and found the following photos:-
Do Some of these cars appeal more than others? Don't get overlooked because of poor photos.

If you want to get more money for your car, we can help with our Pre-Sales Preparation service. We suggest you find the value of your car using Glass's Guide, or research the value yourself so that you know how much you want to spend, then our expert can advice you of how to make the most of your money. [more]Sales Preparation

This page was last updated on Wed, 25 September, 2013
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