Before buying a new car, you will likely need to sell your old one. You can easily increase its value by keeping maintenance up to date and sprucing it up with a few clever tricks just before you sell it. Adam Ford, second-hand car expert and TV presenter, lists five tips that will give you the competitive edge and help you earn the most cash from your sale.
1. Get all your paperwork into order.
"Check that your service book is up to date, see if you can get hold of detailed service records and keep all receipts of recent work you've had done on the car (e.g. on the clutch or brakes). Have your licence and registration documents handy. Remember, if your car has been financed, the bank holds your registration document until the balance on the car has been settled. This process could take up to two weeks and you might lose a potential buyer if your paperwork isn't ready."
2. Do all essential maintenance.
"The very best way to add value to your car is to care for it every day. Don't ignore those lights on your dash and don't wait a year to have something repaired. Forge a good relationship with a reputable service centre and ask them to work out a payment plan of some sort, so you can do a few things every few months."
3. Restoring the car's exterior
"By spending about R1000 with a panel beater specialising in minor dents you could add thousands to your selling price. If you have a colour-coded bumper, you don't need a new bumper - the experts will know how to erase minor scratches. Ultimately, the best way to avoid having a banged-up look is to care for your car in the first place and have repairs done as they happen. Then it will be a case of 'you'll reap what you sow' - you'll get back what you've put in."
4. Car interior restoration and fixes
"It could be worthwhile to replace tactile items such as steering wheels or gear levers. An autotrimmer can re-cover those for you, dye seats or fix leather cracks."
5. Make sure your car is spotless
"Have your car professionally cleaned by the experts - this will give it extra curb appeal. Not only shampooing and waxing the interior but also having the engine cleaned. If you're a smoker, buy sachets of fabric softener to mask the smell. By spending a few hundred rands on a good clean you could seriously increase your selling price."
Adam Ford presents Buyer's Guide on motoring-only channel, Ignition (DSTV channel 189, and presents the Motoring Show on Mix 93.8 FM. He also owns A&K Motors in Sandton - a service and repair centre for second-hand cars.
Visit our car advice page for more useful tips.