Sell your used car at a good price

If you own a car, sooner or later you might want to sell it, probably so that you can buy a new one. Naturally, you'll want to get the best price possible.

You might think that this takes no special effort - just check the vehicle’s general condition and fix any obvious problems so that it functions well. Then it can be sold at a reasonable price.

Unfortunately, however, this is a misperception. Every motor vehicle needs careful maintenance throughout its lifespan. The engine and other key parts deteriorate within five to seven years. If you want to sell at a good price, you will actually need to revamp your car.

Fix any large dents and repaint them (though you can ignore small ones). Regarding the engine, you should change key parts such as the spark plugs, air filter, auto belt, refrigerant, brake fluid, motor oil and gear oil. Put in new distilled water and clutch fluid. If the radiator fluid is rusty, then clean the radiator.

● These repairs are important because they will ensure that you can start the engine smoothly when the buyer comes to look. If the motor stumbles because of a bad battery or clogged spark plug, the buyer will be little pleased. You want to be able to lift the hood with confidence and show that the engine is squeaky clean, free from drops of oil. When you start up the engine and accelerate, it should work easily and quietly. Then the buyer will feel comfortable and won’t try to bargain down the price too much.

● Beyond maintaining major parts, you should thoroughly wash the vehicle both inside and out. Tears in the seat covering should be fixed. Put in new floor mats. Fix the parts that can be fixed and replace those that are beyond repair. When all this is done, the buyer will see that your car is in good condition and is worth considering. If it’s in bad shape and needs a lot of work, it doesn’t matter how low the price is. The buyer will have second thoughts. Certain parts are especially important to check and repair. Some can be made as good as new at a low price. This will help you increase the sales price or at least prevent it from being bargained down.

● Power windows need to be properly connected with the controls, especially at the front of the car. This is what the buyer will notice as he or she sits in the driver’s seat and tries out different functions, including the dashboard, turn signals, lights and radio.

● Car seats may or may not need repairs depending on what type they are. Genuine leather seats are not likely to need much fixing. If they are made of cloth or synthetic leather, however, the buyer will easily be able to tell whether the car has been well maintained. These materials will readily show dust, stains and cracks. They tend to retain odors. Such conditions will lead the buyer to ask for a price reduction.

● Doors are important. Make sure that the hinges and locks function well. Don't forget the hood (or bonnet) of the luggage compartment.

● ·The underbody is another area needing attention. Check if there is any oil stain on the ground at your parking space. The buyer will do the same. If oil has leaked, you should get professional help at a service center.

● Tires must be in good condition. If the tread is worn, you can simply install tires that are used but still in good shape. Remember that related items like the spare tire and lug wrench must be kept in the trunk.

Your objective is to sell the car at an optimal price. If something needs to be fixed, you should research it carefully to avoid paying more for repairs than they are worth. Prevention is the best medicine. Take good care of your car by keeping the engine and passenger compartment clean from the first day you own it. When it is time to sell, you won’t have much to do, and it will fetch a good price.