Prep Your Car To Sell

There are some retail phrases that are just as relevant selling your car privately or to the trade as retail to the public. Terms such as “Showroom Condition” or “Polishing Money Into The Car” can add serious money to the final sale price.

audi in showroom condition

Getting A Better Price For Your Car

So prep-ping your car before it goes to market will make more money, in fact so many motor dealers profit is based on how well they prep a car before presenting it on their forecourt.

Lets Get Started With A Good Wash

For many vehicles, this is as good as it gets from one owner to the next. A 3 monthly trip to the local car wash, or the odd wet sponge during the summer months. But when it comes to making a car look more special than the next, this is just the first stage, the objective is to remove grime and heavy dirt.

Make sure all of the outside paintwork has been washed, with a car shampoo, not a domestic soap like washing up liquid, as this has salt and can harm the paintwork. Use a soapy sponge and start on the roof, so the water can run down the side of the vehicle, then work across the windows and wheels. Open all the doors and wash within the inner doors. Both where the feet touch at the bottom of the door and then inside the inner door where it hinges with the main chassis.

Ensure all the soap has been washed away, either with copious supply from several buckets of fresh water, or a hosepipe or even pressure washer. Depending on the weather, you can use soft dry cloths to dry the car, or just let the sun do it, as there is more to come.

Brighten Up That Paintwork

In time a car’s paintwork can become dull or faded and in some cases is not noticeable until parked against another vehicle with newer paintwork. So the next step is to use a colour restorer on the paint to brighten it back up. Paint restorer is typically a liquid with light abrasive properties within. The biggest brand on the market is called “T Cut”, so all colour restorers are often refereed to as just that.

To apply, use a soft cloth then rub in to the paintwork using circular motions, you will see remnants of old paintwork within the cloth. Then use a dry soft cloth to wipe away the excess liquid. The trick is how well the liquid is applied, but only do small areas at once, as once the restorer dries, it is harder to use.

Do all outside paintwork areas, the bonnet, doors and rear hatch, if done properly this can really make a difference to how your car looks. However, the difference between what the trade will do and the public, is that the trade continue with this process, on the inner doors, inside boot hatches and underneath the bonnet and front valance.

Having gleaming paintwork can lose its value, if when the doors or bonnet is opened, we then see older faded paintwork.

Can You See Through The Glass

It is estimated that up to a third of a vehicle consists of glass, from windscreens to door glass, to lights and mirrors. If a potential driver, can’t see through the windscreen or mirrors, it would reflect on their desire to purchase the car.

Use a decent soft cloth to apply and then fully dry with a dry cloth. If streaks are left, they will become more apparent when driving in the dark and will reflect oncoming headlights and street lights. Remember to clean all inside glass too, including any vanity mirrors and rear view mirror.

Clean Windscreen

Staying On The Inside

Carpets can get dirty over time, especially from dirty or wet shoes. Using a stiff hand brush can bring out that grime that has sunk deep in the pile. Then use a powerful vacuum cleaner to pick up the excess dirt and dust. If the carpet is really bad a dry carpet cleaner may be used. Don’t forget to clean any carpets in the boot or hatchback area.

Sometimes adding a set of car mats can make a big difference to how the internal carpets look, even cleap ones from a local discount store.

Cloth seats can be cleaned using a dry spray or foam spray, that when dry is vacum cleaned. A light brush can clear away any loose dirt. Sometimes a second clean can help remove stubborn stains or marks. Leather seats can be refreshed using leather wipes or restoring cream.

Silicone or internal plastic spray can be used on the dashboard, steering wheel, gear knob amd centre consoles. Don’t forget any internal trim within the doors, the door trim itself including the inside of the storage areas. Again do not forget any internal trim in the rear hatchback area.

Use leather wipes for leather consoles.

Finishing Off The Exterior

The colour restorer will have hopefully helped remove and light scratches to the paintwork, but where there are scratches are too deep then a touch up paint stick may be required. These sticks are normally bought from a good car assessor y shop or from dealer and will match the colour code of your car. Apply the paint using the small brush that comes with the stick. Add small amounts first, then build up. If need be, let it dry for a few days and then use colour restorer to cut the colour into the overall finish.

Now the exterior paint has been restored and looks shiny, it is worth protecting this from the weather by adding a wax or car polish. Wipe the polish on using a soft cloth and they wipe off in circular motion until the excess has been removed. The polish will add depth to the paint work and if done well, you cars paintwork should now be near showroom condition.

Wheels are an important part of the cars sex appeal especially if alloy. So use an alloy wheel cleaner to spray on, then use cloths to remove excess, then water and clean. Be careful when using his type of product, sometimes it can damage your paintwork, so ensure only the wheels are cleaned.

Tyres can be cleaned using tyre cleaner, or often those in the trade pint the tyres on the outside of the wheel. It can look a bit over the top when first painted, but after a day or so, the gloss on the paint dies down and looks more natural

The exterior plastic trim, not can be cleaned using trim cleaner, or sometimes referred to a “Back to Black”. Just spray on and wipe off, look through all the areas, where this can be used, but don’t use on any plastic lights a good clean with soapy water will suffice.

A Lot Of Hard Work

No one is saying this is easy work, but in mist cases should make your car more desirable to buy even when selling to the trade. If once you have finished you are unsure whether you want to part with it, now seeing it in a different light, than you can be sure it will look good in front of a potential buyer.