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How to Evaluate your Car's Condition before Selling

How to Evaluate your Car's Condition before Selling

Your car’s condition has a huge impact on its value. It can also heavily influence whether someone will buy it or not. The better the condition, the higher the value and the more likely you’ll get a sale.

 

But how do you accurately evaluate your car's condition?

 

Vehicle condition and value

 

If you look at any website that values cars, you’ll usually see 3 or 4 different values. You will likely see a value for ‘excellent’ condition, a slightly lower value for ‘very good’ a lower value for ‘good’ and another for ‘fair’ condition.

 

These are how cars are valued and is how you should value yours.

 

The problem when selling a car is that you’re trying to paint it in the best light possible while the buyer or appraiser is looking for faults.

 

Somehow you both have to meet in the middle.

 

View the car as a buyer

 

If you have had the car for any length of time, you’ll have a connection with it, which can cloud your judgement. It’s natural and it happens to everyone.

 

It’s your car. You have had it for years and have created many happy memories with it.

 

That ensures it takes on much more value than a buyer would see and helps you view the car through rose tinted glasses.

 

You need to evaluate your car's condition as dispassionately as possible.

 

Assess your car’s condition inside and out

 

Give the car a good clean inside and out and then inspect it in daylight. Look for damage to the bodywork and exterior trim, paint chips, dings, scratches, worn tires, worn rubber, scratched glass and other blemishes.

 

The same for the interior.

 

Make a note of everything you see so you don’t miss anything. The more you have noted down, the lower in that value selection your car will be.

 

For example, to a car to be graded as excellent, there should be minimal damage to bodywork, no large chips or scratches, the interior should have no stains or obvious wear and all perishable parts should be in good condition.

 

Cars rated ‘very good’ can have a couple of blemishes on the paintwork but still needs to be largely flawless. The same for the interior.

 

If you struggle viewing your car’s condition dispassionately, the Condition Quiz over at Kelley Blue Book could help.

 

You’ll see all the basic questions a buyer or appraiser would ask you, or themselves, and you can enter the questions accurately. There are four tabs that cover exterior, interior, mechanical and miscellaneous.

 

All aspects of a car a buyer would consider when viewing your car.

 

Other major car websites may have something similar and we recommend using one if you’re struggling coming up with a value.

 

Improving and selling

 

Once you have an idea of the car’s current condition and value, you can make an informed decision about whether to spent time improving it or not.

 

If you’re at the top end, it’s probably not worth preparing the car much aside from giving it another clean before you sell.

 

Lower values may benefit from basic improvements but try to select those that don’t cost much money but would make the most impact.

 

Then bring your car to one of our dealerships for a proper valuation. We buy quality used cars for cash and would love to buy yours!

 

For any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact us here!

 

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