It’s a lucky man who makes a profit on a car, but there’s no reason why you can’t improve your motor’s value with a little TLC.
Whether you’re looking for ways to get as much as possible as a part-exchange, or just want to put a little shine on your pride and joy, there’s plenty you can do to boost its kerb appeal. Follow our simple tips to spruce up your second hand motor.
Make easy fixes
Nothing says ‘unloved’ like a cracked tail-light, a smashed wing mirror and a number plate that’s half hanging off. Head to a motoring retailer and sort out these basics in just a few minutes. Illuminated dashboard warning lights should be remedied too – your local Inchcape Mercedes-Benz outlet can diagnose any problems if the cause isn’t obvious.
Minor paintwork scuffs and scrapes can be buffed out and restore the appearance of the bodywork. But cloudy headlights are trickier to fix (it’s usually a sign of degrading plastic), so may be best remedied by investing in a replacement unit. If the damage is minor, a paste made of vinegar and baking soda, rigorously rubbed in with a clean cloth, can provide a short-term improvement.
Give it a deep clean
A comprehensive clean includes a wax and polish as well as a good dowse with a hose.
And a deep clean doesn’t stop at the door – you’ll be very well served by investing in a powerful cordless vacuum cleaner so you can remove dust and crumbs from every nook and cranny of the cabin. A stiff-bristled brush is great at agitating dirt from coarse carpets like the boot lining and floor mats.
If possible, leave all the windows and boot open for a good few hours. It’ll give the interior a good airing and gives the chance for any lingering odours to escape. Remove any stains from the upholstery, roof lining and carpets using a good spot cleaner, and even remove dried-on mud from the pedals with a wet sponge. (Make sure you put down some newspaper to catch any drips.)
Remove scuffs and marks from the dashboard and seatbacks with a packet of cheap wet wipes, but avoid polishes or sprays that will introduce an unnatural shine or chemical smell. Get rid of any empty bottles or coffee cups, and bin all those receipts and parking stickers that are cluttering up the centre console too.
The whole process could take several hours, but will add potentially hundreds to your car’s valuation.
Get a full service
As well as making your car look great, think about ways to make it just as appealing on the road. A full service can improve the car’s performance, as well as making it smoother and quieter to drive. You may also want to run a fuel treatment through to clean any smoke and soot from the exhaust system.
Apply fresh rubber
Not only will a new set of tyres make your car safer,but bright black rubber can really restore that showroom-fresh look. If there’s still plenty of life left in the old ones, pick up a can of tyre blackener to give them that just-new impact.
Lastly, avoid the mods
Personalising your motor can be tempting, but tastes are extremely personal and after-market additions can ultimate reduce its value. If there’s something your motor is missing that you simply must have, ask a mainline dealership to fit an official product.