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4 Small Things That Instantly Devalue Your Car When Selling

Buying a car is fun, but selling one is far from enjoyable. For one, you’ll seldom make a profit – unless you fixed up an old banger! So, it’s already annoying without having to deal with hagglers trying to sneak the price down even lower. 

The sad reality of selling a car is that your vehicle can lose its value in so many ways. Obvious things – like how many miles you’ve driven – spring to mind. Stuff like that is unavoidable, and there’s not much you can do about it. 

At the same time, there are some smaller things that instantly devalue your car yet are completely avoidable. You’ll find a list of them below, explaining why they decrease the value of your sale and what you can do to prevent them. 

No proof of purchase

Having proof of purchase shows that you actually bought this car. It’s proof that the vehicle belongs to you and hasn’t been stolen. Buyers will often refuse to purchase vehicles that don’t have proof of purchase because it’s kind of dodgy and risky. If they still want to buy your car, they’ll likely ask for a much lower price. You’ll have to agree as nobody will buy your vehicle for the asking price without this important document. 

If you don’t have it, try to contact the previous seller to get a copy. This would be much easier if you bought your car from a dealership

No service manual

Don’t underestimate the power of vehicle service manuals. These manuals detail everything you need to know about servicing your car. They explain how to make common repairs, how to change oil levels, and so on. If you try to sell a car without a service manual, there’s a big chance no buyer will be keen to buy it for the asking price. 

Why? Because they don’t know how to service the car. It’s particularly problematic if the manual can’t be found online too. Keep this manual safe as it will help your car retain some value. If you have lost yours, find one online to either buy or print out and hand to the next owner. A car with a service manual will be more valuable than one without. 

Dirt & mess

Is your car dirty and/or messy? 

If you answered yes, you’d struggle to sell it for a lot of money. Dirty and messy cars are not attractive in the slightest. Nobody wants to buy a dirty car; why would they? One of the best things about buying a car is the new feeling you have when driving it. When you get inside, you don’t want to feel like someone else has been driving the car for years. 

It’s such a small thing, yet it makes a bigger difference than the other two points combined. Ensure you spend time working on your car before you sell. Give it the deepest clean of its life – you want it to look and smell as close to new as possible. What do you think will generate more money from a sale: a dirty car or one that’s gleaming inside and out?


Dents of all sizes will decrease the value of your car. Why? Because it looks like your car is damaged. You might’ve dented the door when opening it against a bollard or accidentally falling when carrying shopping. The dent may be superficial and be absolutely nothing to worry about. 

Will the buyer know this? You can tell them that it’s okay, but they’ll see a dent and assume your car is damaged. It’s unsightly, but they also worry about safety and reliability. There’s no way of proving the dent isn’t a problem, so you’re stuck haggling with someone who doesn’t want to pay top dollar for a dented vehicle. After all, would you?

Dents are really easy to get rid of. You can have a professional do it, or you can attempt it yourself at home. If the dent truly is small and superficial it can be gone in seconds. Now, you have a nicer-looking car that doesn’t look like it’s been in the wars. 

Look at how small and insignificant these four things are. They’re probably the last things you worry about when valuing your car. Sure, people care about things like the miles on the clock, the age of your car, and the service history. But it’s the small things that can really make a difference. Take care of them and you can sell your car for more money. 


Edel Alon
Edel Alon
Edel-Ryan Alon is a starving musician, failed artist, connoisseur of fine foods, aspiring entrepreneur, husband, father of two, geek by day, cook by night, and an all around great guy.


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