Selling your car can be a tricky one and understanding its’ value even more. There are many factors to take into consideration, but what are the most costly factors and how do they affect the value?

Short answer

A car is only worth for what it sells, and although we may use previous sales data of vehicle similar to yours to gather a rough estimate, if a buyer only wants to offer a set amount, you the seller are the one deciding the price, therefore deciding the value of your vehicle. Many Main Dealers will record as much data as possible when selling to unstand the market value for each specific car. To find out how much you could get for your car, why not get a free online valuation from Local Car Buyer? Simply Click Here & Sell My Car, in just a few minutes see how much Local Car Buyer could offer you for your car (T&Cs apply)

But what about a private sale, how can an individual understand what to take in consideration when selling? Factors include:

  • Mechanical Condition
  • Exterior Condition
  • Interior Condition
  • Mileage
  • Previous Owners
  • Service History
  • MOT
  • Specification
  • Saleability
  • Vehicle Colour
  • Number of Keys

Mechanical Condition

An easy way to check mechanical condition will be to conduct a test drive, during a test drive there are many factors to check, some easier than others, does the vehicle pull to one side, are there any knocking noises when driving over bumps, how’s the braking? Smooth? By finding these conditions, the value of the car will be lessened by the price of the replacement part plus the labour cost.

Exterior Condition

The exterior condition of a vehicle not only will affect the value but will also affect the saleability. When approaching a car, the first observation will be that of the exterior. This could include scuffed wheels (with an average price of £60 per wheel for restoration, with a suggestion of both wheel on the same side to be painted), other factors would be dings, dents, and paintwork. Paintwork is complicated, for example, a mere scratch on a door does not mean that the scatch can be touched in but rather the whole door shall be painted, with the average price of a door/panel starting from £100. Then we have trims and badges, trims and badges can start from £100

Interior Condition

We see a lot of vehicles with a vast mixture of interior condition, some notable conditions are; a scratched dash ( this can not be repaired and will reflect in the final sale price), torn floor fabrics, very hard to repair, torn seat (with a reupholstered price starting at £75 a section). If the car is in need of a professional interior valet including shampooing seats, this could cost up to £50. Dogs


Mileage plays a factor in the retail price of the vehicle, the higher the mileage the less value will be given to that vehicle.

Previous Owners

The number of previous owners will also affect the resale price of the vehicle, due to reduced desirability of the vehicle, meaning the rate of which the vehicle would sell vastly reduced, and in order to combat this rate, a cheaper price for the car would be suggested.

Service History

This can be a deciding factor when selling a vehicle with a high amount of Previous owners, with little to no service history the vehicle desirability is lessened, however, a vehicle with a high amount of previous owners, in theory is likely to have been serviced more than thought, for as in general most buyers will likely service a used-car when bought, therefor a vehicle that is 5 years old and has 5 previous owners could have been serviced 5 times, but for certainty service books are ideal for maintaining a vehicles value.


A vehicle with a short MOT will highly affect the ability of a vehicle to be sold and the value. First, we must take in to consideration the price of a test, starting from £50, then there is the unknown fear factor of what could be failed, brake discs, brake pads, and 2 tyres, the cost of this would start from £300. We would recommend getting a new MOT, to help sell your car, and so that the buyer knows they are getting great value for money.


When buying a vehicle there are different model variants, a vehicle with greater specs will hold its’ value for longer and will be greater as a long term investment.


Saleability is the ability for a vehicle to be sold, all factor listed form part of salability, other factors can include, engine size, fuel consumption, fuel type, engine transmission type ( automatic or manual), insurance group, tax bracket, whether a vehicle can enter Ultra Low Emission Zone, and although these factors may tick all boxes for one it may not for others, meaning the vehicle could be hard to sell unless it was offered for the right price.

Vehicle Colour

The colour of a vehicle can majorly affect the re-sale price of a vehicle, by affecting the saleability of a vehicle, be prepared to get less for certain coloured cars.

Number Of Keys

With cars having more and more advanced intelligent started systems, the price of a new key continues to increase, with smart keys starting from £149 and even a 2010 basic remote key could cost you £80. Try not to lose keys, although it happens, hence the reason for having multiple keys and the reason a buyer would want 2 keys, a vehicle with one key will be reflected in the price.


To understand how much your car is worth, a full vehicle appraisal will have to be undertaken, this may seem daunting, but to a dealer, this is an everyday scenario, from an appraisal a true value of you car can be given. If you would like an estimation CLICK HERE for 3 sperate valuations relating to different vehicle conditions for greater clarity how a vehicle condition could affect the price.

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