How To Clean Your Car For Sale

First impressions count, especially when it comes to selling your car.

The paperwork could all be there, have all the right history and be the right spec someone is looking for..

But if your car is lacking the showroom shine it looks neglected and attracts a lower price.

Avoid haggling on price by using these easy and effective tips and get more money back in your pocket.

Step 1 – Under The Bonnet

Autoglym Vinyl & Rubber care applied to wet engineTo really impress potential buyers, clean the engine bay and under bonnet areas to show it’s been looked after (or at least make it look like it has!).

Use an effective engine cleaner and scrub all grubby areas with a quality cleaning brush stiff enough to dislodge stubborn grease.

Once clean and rinsed off, apply to the wet engine and allow to dry.

After an hour or so, the milky residue will turn to a clear and shiny finish and make all plastic and rubber components look like new.

Step 2 – The Shuts

Keep hold of your heavy duty cleaning gear and tackle the door and boot shuts next, another often neglected area.

Using Autoglym Engine & Machine Cleaner will make it easy to clean these areas as they often have lots of grease and dirt in the hinges.

Use a softer brush than the engine to avoid scratching the paintwork like a quality detailing brush .

Step 3 – The Wheels

cleaning wheels for saleClean and shiny wheels can really make or break a cars appearance so take the time to get these gleaming.

If you have time use our guide to detailing alloy wheels and get them looking like new!

Remove baked on brake dust with a powerful but safe cleaner like Autoglym Clean Wheels using their Hi-Tech Wheel Brush to remove stubborn brake dust.

If you can’t reach the inner parts of your wheels, try using a long reach wheel brush and make your wheels as clean as new!

Pro Tip: roll your wheels 180 degrees once you have cleaned them to expose hidden and unseen dirt and avoid missed bits.

Rinse and repeat if necessary then leave wet while you wash the bodywork.

Step 4 – The Wash

washing car for saleWith all the dirty areas are attended to, rinse all loose dirt and wash your vehicle using a lambswool wash mitt utilising the two bucket method.

A quality car shampoo will help shift stubborn dirt but don’t worry about using a wash & wax style shampoo.

As you will be polishing later a pure shampoo will save some money and do a better job.

Once all panels are clean, rinse off the remaining shampoo and use a microfibre drying towel to absorb the remaining water.

Step 5 – Interior Vacuum

An underestimated but essential part of a showroom condition interior is vacuuming.

An industrial vacuum cleaner would seem useful here but an impressive looking interior can be achieved with any vacuum.

An upholstery brush will easily lift out stubborn grit from carpets and seats making it a lot easier for less powerful vacuums to remove.

A detailing brush can be used to clean hard to reach areas while a crevice tool is great for between seats!

Brush and vacuum fabric floor mats but rubber floor mats can simply be washed with car shampoo and wiped dry.

Step 6 – Interior Cleaning

After all loose dirt is removed your interior should be looking a bit more inviting.

However there may (probably will) be stains and marks holding it back from looking like new.

A great product that can be used on all interior surfaces including leather, fabric, plastic and trim is Autoglym Interior Shampoo .

Trim and plastics can be cleaned by applying some interior shampoo to a microfibre towel and wiped clean.

Use an upholstery brush and enough interior shampoo to create a lather to remove stains from fabric or leather upholstery.

Soak up the dirty solution with a microfibre towel and wring out regularly to avoid re-soiling.

Step 7 – Dress To Impress

dressing plastic trimNow that your car is clean inside and out it’s time to restore a showroom finish.

Before polishing the paint take care of the smaller details; it avoids lengthy clean up later.

Treat all unpainted trim with trim dressing to turn grey plastic back to black and make it look new again.

Dress tyres with one of our recommended tyre dressings, this step alone will make the biggest impact to your car!

Step 8 – Polish

polishing car for saleScratches will be one of the first things buyers pick up on.

Deeper scratches can be removed using [[Amazon_Link_Text]] and an applicator pad.

To improve overall appearance an all use Autoglym Super Resin.

You can take the time to wax the paintwork but when selling your car you want maximum impact for minimum impact when selling your car.

Step 9 – Finishing Touches

cleaning car for saleTo complete the showroom look ensure the glass is spotless.

A spray glass cleaner is the cleanest and quickest option; use two towels to ensure a streak free finish.

Dirty and stained glass can benefit from car glass polish that will help remove water spots.

Ensure your brightwork is looking bright and if your exhaust is exposed polished the top with metal polish and wire wool to remove stubborn stains.

Check your car for any missed areas or streaks in the paintwork and take some pictures for the car sale website.

How to Keep Your Car Looking Sharp

You may find that after you’ve cleaned your car to perfection it doesn’t end up selling for a couple of weeks.

To keep a showroom shine on the car use a quick detailer to easily remove light dirt and boost the shine.

Quick detailers can be used on all surfaces including paint, wheels and glass so give everything a wipe down.

Do this as often as needed; spend 10 minutes each day and your car will look showroom ready everyday until it sells.

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