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Preparing your car for sale


Selling your car can be frustrating and time-consuming. The aim is to get the best possible price in the shortest time. Find out how to make the most of your car and make a sale.

Note: the following information is intended primarily for use in NSW and the ACT.

Clean your car

Looks aren't everything but they do help! Consider getting your car professionally detailed. After all, you're competing with dealers who have their cars looking great all the time. A good-looking car is perceived to be well cared for, too.

Clean under the bonnet

A buyer will look under the bonnet during their inspection A dirty engine can indicate a poorly maintained car but keep in mind that too clean an engine might also be cause for suspicion. 

What to fix/replace

If anything is broken try to fix or replace it before showing the car to prospective buyers or dealers. Otherwise the selling or trade-in price will be affected.

What not to fix/replace

Deciding what's not worth fixing can be difficult but the age and the price of your car are a good guide. Generally avoid major repairs or repairs that might make a buyer suspicious.

What's your car worth?

Now it's looking as good as possible it's time to gauge a realistic asking price, given the age, mileage and condition of your car.

  • Use the value your car tool (provided by Glasses) to get a realistic price
  • Check newspaper classifieds
  • Get a trade-in value (several if you're trading in and not selling privately)
  • Set a price - whether you're selling privately, trading in or selling at auction. Leave room to negotiate. Maybe add 5 - 10 per cent depending on age, saleability, condition etc.  

Prepare for the phone calls

It's a good idea to write all the details down and leave them near the phone. This way you've got all the details ready and if someone else takes the call they have them too. Your list should include:

  • number of kilometres
  • how many owners
  • accident record
  • whether the price is negotiable
  • has it been garaged
  • interior colour
  • additional extras - cruise control, power windows, CD, mobile attachments
  • any dents, scratches
  • remaining registration
  • reason for selling.

For more information call NRMA Motoring Advice on 13 11 22.

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