Changing your car | the options available to you
So you are about to change your car? It might be that you are buying a new car, renewing a lease contract, buying a bigger vehicle due to growing offspring or just plain changing cars. You are usually left with a choice of what to do with your old car.
Granted in some situations that choice is made for you like in the case of leasing (generally the lease company want their car back) or if you part exchange your car as part of the finance on your new car.
Having said that you are still left with the choice of the state you hand your old car over in. This will mean different things to different people, for example, hand over an unwashed, badly (cosmetically) maintained car as part exchange and you can expect your car salesman to not be at his most generous when it comes time to talk trade-in value.
Likewise with your lease car, did you ever read the contract in its entirety? If yes, good for you because I never did, and what I learned is that there is a cost for each and every fault on your returned car but if you hand over a clean, maintained, well cared for car, the final inspection is likely to be cursory at best with tires and brakes (stuff you will be charged for anyway!) getting most of the inspection.
Private sale? The good news is that most cars out there are showed in a really bad state so if you do your homework and 'stage' your car (yes, it's just like trying to sell a house) then you have the advantage on most other private sellers. In addition, show a car with a clean and dressed engine, exhaust, wheels etc (basically anything that is deemed 'dirty' by Joe Public) and you have likely imparted trustworthiness on to your potential buyer. Why? Because when you pop the hood and your buyer sees an engine that is spotless, it matters not how many long kilometres are on the clock, all he thinks is clean engine = no problems mechanically. It also removes the possibility of price negotiation based in appearance. Check out the picture below, which would you prefer?
Recently (it must be spring in Paris) a lot of my clients have been asking for the 'Preparation before Sale' package that I offer, some opt for the whole package with engine cleaned, photos for publicity etc whilst some just opt for a more simple option and pick the areas important to them. Whatever you opt for make sure you make a wholehearted effort to present (or return) your car in its best state. Financially it is in YOUR interest to do it, so if it's time to change cars, do it yourself or call a pro, but get your car looking great, it will give you the advantage in the showroom, on the sales lot or in the driveway.
For now, keep clean, drive safe,