Car ownership used to be a long-term commitment, but in recent years we’ve got more used to changing our cars regularly – and last year it was reported that we keep our mattresses and even mobile phones for longer than our cars!
This is thanks to a range of finance options for car buying, including PCP and leasing. Some of these options mean that you hand the car back when you’re done with it, but you can also take ownership of the car and then sell it on yourself. If you do this, you’ll want to get the best value you can for it, so it makes sense to take care of your car, even if you don’t plan on keeping it for long. It’s also worth bearing in mind that if you do lease a car, you’ll be expected to hand it back in a good condition or pay for any excessive wear and tear!
So staying on top of cleaning, waxing and polishing will almost certainly pay off when the time comes to sell or trade.
In this guide, we offer eight practical tips to help you retain your car’s resale value.
1. Wash, Polish, Wax, Repeat
Few drivers can safely say they keep on top of cleaning and waxing their car, especially through the tough winter months when the last thing anyone wants is to venture out with a bucket.
The reality is that keeping your car’s paintwork in good condition will help its resale value. Over time, paintwork can fade and discolour if it’s not properly maintained and cared for. The effects of paint discolouration can be almost impossible to reverse, so it’s important to wash, polish and wax regularly to retain your car’s showroom sparkle.
We’d recommend washing your car regularly (using the two-bucket wash method), to limit the corrosion caused by dirt and grime. For difficult-to-remove stains and blemishes, use high-quality car polish to gently buff away the marks. You should aim to wax your car at least twice a year, once before autumn and again at the start of spring, with a good quality hard wax.
2. Keep Those Wheels Shining
There’s something satisfying about a shiny set of alloy wheels, and potential buyers will think so too. When wheels look like they’ve been cared for, it will not only make the car look great, but will say a lot about how it’s been driven, and how often it’s been washed and maintained.
Wheels take a lot of day-to-day punishment, and can quickly get coated in a layer of harmful road deposits and brake dust. This can lead to corrosion, rust and pitting, as well as staining. Whenever possible, rinse your wheels then use Ultracare Alloy Cleaner to get rid of dirt, then finish with Simoniz Complete Wheel Protector to give the wheels a layer of protection from stains and corrosion.
3. Protect and Restore Exterior Plastic Trim
If your car has any exterior plastic trim, you might have noticed that its colour has begun to fade from black to dull grey. Plastic is vulnerable to heat, moisture and sunlight, and oxidisation can quickly make trim panels look faded and ugly.
To restore your exterior plastic, start by using Simoniz Jet Black Trim Restorer, which reduces the appearance of scuffs and scratches while restoring a shiny black finish. Use this whenever you notice your trim looking faded or worn. It’s also a good idea to top up the protection and shine with Back to Black Bumper & Trim spray, which is easy to apply and offers a long-lasting gloss finish, so your car always looks its showroom best.
4. Clean the Lights
Headlights can become scratched and scuffed, giving them a hazy appearance. This makes them look dull and dingy but also means that the lights won’t shine as brightly.
Most drivers include the lights in the overall car cleaning regime, but they should be treated differently. There is a range of products out there which are specifically made for restoring car headlights and taillights. If they just need a good clean, we’d recommend our foaming Mixra cleaner.
If your car’s lights look dim even after a thorough cleaning, this could highlight a failing battery or alternator, which you should get fixed before advertising your car for sale.
5. Make the Interior Sparkle
Car interiors put up with a lot of wear and tear over their lifetime, and scratches, scrapes, stains and bad odours can have a big impact on your car’s resale value. Taking care of your interior is as important as washing and waxing the exterior, and should become a part of your regular cleaning regime.
Start by vacuuming the interior carpets and seats, using the crevice tool to remove dirt and dust from hard-to-reach areas. If the car mats look a little tired, consider replacing them before selling, as small details like this can help to improve its potential value.
Treat the upholstery or leather with an appropriate fabric cleaner, which will help to lift stains and odour. Using a dedicated glass cleaner, clean all interior glass surfaces, before using dashboard wipes to restore the look and finish of interior plastics.
To finish up, use an air con cleaner and add an air freshener to make the interior smell doubly inviting to buyers.
A big tip to maintain value as well is to not smoke in your car – tobacco smells can be hard to shift and can knock hundreds off what buyers are willing to pay.
6. Fix Small Issues and Invest in a Service
Ignoring small mechanical issues might not be a big deal to you, but they could bring your care as an owner into question, and leave a bad taste in the mouth of the person who takes the car off your hands.
Dealing with mechanical problems as and when they occur will save you the headache of a larger repair down the line, and will help to extend the life of components under the bonnet, improving the resale value. It’s also a good idea to invest in a full service before you plan to sell the car, showing that you’re a careful owner who is invested in the maintenance of the vehicle.
Remember – the price of fixing small issues will often be much less than the impact that mechanical faults will have on the car’s resale value, so you’re saving yourself money in the long-term.
7. Get the Documents in Order
Service receipts, MOT certificates, logbooks and other maintenance documents can often end up getting lost in the bottom of a drawer somewhere, but these can prove useful in retaining your car’s value.
Potential buyers want to see that your car has been properly maintained and cared for, as well as its history of ownership. If you can provide evidence of servicing, MOT and oil changes, your car will be worth more when selling it on, particularly in a private sale. Keep an organised file with all documents relating to your car, to avoid any awkward questions about its most recent service or filter change when buyers are trying to haggle.
8. Repair Small Dents and Scratches
You might not think dents and scratches on the exterior are worth repairing, especially if your car is old and you aren’t expecting much for it anyway. However, impairments such as these can lead to big a drop in value, and may put off buyers altogether. They can also lead to rust and corrosion, which garages and savvy buyers can spot, leading to lower offers.
If you’re confident enough to carry out the repair on your own, our range of professional paint maintenance tools can help you get a smooth and even finish. Alternatively, have a qualified panel beater fix the scratch or dent.
With a complete range of car care products, Simoniz can help keep your car looking its showroom best, improving its resale value when it’s time to sell-on or trade-in. For more information, visit the Simoniz homepage.