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Does a dirty car affect trade in value?

Preparing your car for resale

Are you planning to sell your car soon? The first step is to work out both where you want to advertise your car for sale and where you want to sell it.. If you’re planning to sell your car privately or want to trade it in as part of a part-exchange deal, preparing your car for resale is an important part of the process. However, if you’re considering selling your car with, not all of these checks are required.

How your car looks and ensuring everything is in working order will influence how much a potential buyer will be willing to pay when selling privately. When preparing your car for resale it is recommended that you clean your car, check the electrics and print the accompanying paperwork.

Although will buy any car in any condition, it is not essential for the vehicle to have no mechanical faults, but a better condition will result in a higher resale value. Let’s take a look at what to do when you sell your car and what the benefits are for preparing your car to be sold.

30 second car valuation

Step 1: Clean your car

hand cleaning car

Whether you have your car professionally valeted or you wash it yourself, a clean and shiny car can look more desirable than a car covered in dirt and filled with rubbish. Cleaning the car inside and out, as well as clearing out the glove box and the door bins may help to add a bit of value to the car during a private sale. But, why? Other than making the car more attractive, it means the buyer won’t have to then clean the car as soon as they have purchased it. If they can argue that they would need to pay to have it cleaned, then they may haggle for more money off the resale price.

Step 2: Check the car’s electrics and warning lights

car dashboard warning lights

PCP often involves a final lump sum payment called a ‘balloon payment’. This payment is also known as the Guaranteed Minimum Future Value (GMFV). The amount you pay per month is determined based on how much value your car is expected to lose during the term of the agreement. If the car that you buy is expected to depreciate at a slow rate, then the monthly payments will be lower than a car of the same value that is expected to depreciate quickly. This means that there are often good deals on popular makes like Mercedes, BMW and Audi. When you come to the end of your PCP deal, if you don’t want to purchase the car you can just hand it back and walk away.

With both PCH and PCP the lender could repossess the car without a court order. But for PCP, once you have paid at least a third of the total amount payable, they can’t repossess it without a court order.

Step 3: Check the paperwork

car paperwork checklist

Preparing your car to be sold doesn’t just include the car itself, but also includes the paperwork that goes with it. To sell a car you will need the logbook, V5 Certificate, spare keys, service history documentation and MOT certificates. Making sure you have these to hand and they are fully up to date is just as important as checking the car has no faults; you can’t sell your car without the appropriate legal documents and if they aren’t complete this could affect the value of your car.

Once you have completed these three steps, you are probably ready to sell your car. Enter your number plate into our car valuation tool to find out how much it could be worth.

How Do Dealerships Determine Trade In Value?

How do dealerships determine what your trade in value is? What can you do to increase your vehicle’s value before trading it in? CarBrain has some tips.

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how do dealerships calculate car value

When trading in your vehicle, it’s important to know its value in order to avoid getting low-balled by the dealership. It’s important to know that you’re more likely to get more money selling your car privately than trading it in. If you’d like to see how many bucks your car can bang for, check out our instant value calculator. That said, knowing how to maximize your trade-in potential is valuable information. Continue reading if you would like to know how to get the most out of trading in your car at a dealership.

How Do Dealerships Determine Trade-in Value?

Dealers will consider the demand for the make and model of your car, as well as the condition of your vehicle including mileage, and any repairs needed to determine your car’s trade-in value. Even washing your car can have an impact on the trade-in value, so make sure it looks and smells as clean as possible. Your skill at negotiating a price will also play a role at determining its final value. Dealerships usually make low offers expecting car sellers to negotiate up. Use our value calculator to see how much your vehicle is worth!

How To Get Your Vehicle Appraised

  • — Car sellers can go to this site and type in the VIN number (only for cars from 1980 or newer) to get an estimate of what their car’s “true value” is.
  • — This tool returns the estimated retail value of your car based on similar vehicles sold in recent months across the nation.
  • — This tool helps you get informed about your car’s worth when negotiating a price with potential buyers.

How Can You Maximize Your Trade-in Value

person cleaning car thoroughly

Fixing your car before you trade it in will have an impact on its final trade-in value. Getting some repair work done like replacing damaged windows, fixing minor engine issues, switching out worn tires, and ensuring your maintenance is up to date will go a long way.

Having receipts of repairs or upgrades made to your vehicle may also help you maximize its value when negotiating with a dealership. Furthermore, a clean and detailed car is worth more than a dirty and poorly presented one.

Additionally, in order to maximize your car’s resale value you should avoid smoking in your vehicle, putting stickers on it, and using aftermarket parts.

How Much Money Do You Lose When You Trade In A Car?

Depending on when you decide to trade-in your car, you will lose at least 10% of the money you initially spent. If your vehicle is damaged at the time of trade-in, expect to lose a lot more.

To put things into perspective new vehicles depreciate about 10% the moment they are driven off the lot. Another 20% by the end of the first year, and about 10% more of its value every year after that.

If you bought a new car, it is best to wait at least 3 years before you consider trading it in. After the third year mark, depreciation slows down and you’ll be able to get a better value for your vehicle.

How to Determine Trade In Values for Cars in Ireland?

Get accurate and reliable data on trade in values for cars

Like everyone else, motorists like to get value for money and when it comes to trade in values for cars there are many different factors that can impact on the vehicle’s value. So before you trade in the car you have been driving for the last few years for a shiny new model it’s worth considering how you can maximise the trade in value of the car so as to get the most bang for your buck.

It’s fair to say that many motorists are sometimes disappointed with the part-exchange value offered for their cars and while it can be frustrating to get a lower valuation than you expect there are actions you can take to mitigate against unsatisfactory trade-in valuations. The most obvious of course is to take your business elsewhere but generally speaking dealerships will not be in a position to give you the values you see for the a similar vehicle being sold privately, as they have to think of their own margins, and further they will have to go to the trouble of preparing the vehicle for sale and ultimately selling it themselves. The motorist and the dealer need to meet halfway here and expectations should be aligned with one party recognising that they may not get the value they would get if they sold privately, while the other should do everything possible to offer a fair price that is as close to market value as possible. One of the most common reasons for the breakdown of a possible sales transaction at a dealership is when there is a big disparity in trade in value between the two parties involved so it’s fair to say that trade in values can certainly be a bone of contention

How to Prepare You Car for Trade In

To avoid any delays or issues with securing the trade in value for your car it’s always best to be prepared so that you can get the keys for the new vehicle as soon as possible. To that end it is recommended that you have all the paperwork nicely organised in a single folder (and the service record should certainly be included here). While the dealership will valet the trade in before any sale, it is worth ensuring that the vehicle is relatively clean and tidy. You don’t want to give a reason for the value to be lowered any further due to the vehicle being unnecessarily dirty or messy.

Finally it’s worth having a chat with your local dealer about the state of the market and what kind of vehicles are sought after at that specific moment in time. The automotive market can be quite turbulent and your dealer should be able to inform you on what kind of cars people are looking for and when they will be looking for then. This will enable you to make a decision on what time might be best to trade in the vehicle, as just like with the housing market, extracting the maximum value can be a simple matter of timing. You are not obligated to trade the vehicle in there and then, and like with anything if you are unhappy with the vehicle valuation you can shop around.

Factors that Affect trade in values for cars

Mileage: Obviously the less kilometres on the odometer the better.

Age: It’s a simple economical truth that newer cars carry more value, even the difference in value between a 151 and 152 plate may be significant although they might have been purchased mere weeks apart.

Spec: We all like our luxuries so higher-spec models will earn more in a trade-in.

Maintenance: Does the car have a full service history? Does it drive well? Any visible marks or scratches? All these will be considered when calculating the value.

Engine: Diesel of Petrol? In recent times buyers are turning away from older diesel vehicles and a new breed of buyer is more conscious of green issues so hybrids and electrics will add value.

Tax and NCT: This is very simple, if the car has a valid NCT and tax certificate then the buyer doesn’t have to pay for those and the vehicle’s value will increase accordingly.

Previous Owners: Less owners implies that the vehicle has been sold less and therefore has perhaps had less mechanical issues and has served its owners well. This perceived sense of reliability can add value to the vehicle while conversely a large number of previous owners may raise alarm bells and affect the value.

If you are interested in purchasing a used vehicle and want detailed information on mileage history, tax and NCT history, previous owners and much more then always get a Cartell car history check.

How to Determine the Market Value of Your Car

A Cartell car history check includes our custom-built and exclusive CPG (Cartell Price Guide) and will provide a valuation for the car you are interested in based on a variety of different criteria. works with leadings car sales companies like, Autotrader and and reviews the cars being posted for sale and the data associated with these vehicles. Armed with this data we can then cross-reference the valuations for each make and model against a whole range of other data points so that we can make an accurate assessment of what the vehicles in the Irish used car market are worth.

Cartell CPG – Bringing Accurate Car Valuations to Ireland

CPG doesn’t simply take an advertised figure for a used car and assign that value to it, rather we go deeper to assess why vehicles are valued at certain prices and what makes one make and model more valuable than other. By in-depth research and investigation of a comprehensive pool of data Cartell and CPG have revolutionized the process for a more accurate car valuation service in Ireland.

Cartell CPG Car Valuation - Assisting In Delivering Accurate Trade In Values for Cars in Ireland

Because Cartell has access to the widest database of information on cars in Ireland our CPG is able to accurately assess the true value of a used car against a range of criteria that the used car market regards as critical when determining the real-world value of a specific vehicle. These criteria include:

  • Original Value
  • Specification
  • Number of previous owners
  • Mileage
  • Tax and NCT history

CPG information is available to review after purchasing a Cartell car history check so if you want to get a good idea of the market value before trade-in then get a Cartell car history check now and the full report including the CPG data will be available instantly in your browser while a copy will also be sent to your email that you can print off if needed.

The CPG provides a current valuation as well as a one and three year future valuation for a given registration. It also displays sample adverts currently for sale, and is linked to, and Autotrader for real time comparisons. Only has permission to use these adverts for your benefit.

While trade in values for cars won’t normally equate with the price you will get when selling privately it is recommended that motorists have a good idea (backed by solid data) of what their vehicle is worth. Get Ireland’s most trusted and accurate valuation on any car or vehicle used by automotive professionals as well as the insurance industry and financial institutions across Ireland – Cartell’s CPG.

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