Articles relating to

Selling or Part Exchanging Your Car

Understanding used car valuation appraisals

Understanding how vehicle used car valuation appraisals work will ensure you get the most accurate price for your current car/vehicle, whether you decide to trade-in or sell your car privately or to the trade.

The starting valuation price is based on your vehicles

  • Date and year of registration
  • Make
  • Model
  • Version
  • Options
  • Mileage
  • Previous owners.

Your vehicles service and maintenance history should be described as accurately as possible for example

  • Main dealer service history, (Part or Full) (Last serviced) ( Next service due miles or date)
  • Part dealer service history part independent, (Part or Full) (Last serviced) (Next service due miles or date)
  • Independent service history (Part or Full) (Next service due miles or date)
  • No service history
  • Known mechanical faults

The vehicle appraisal is usually summed up by the vehicles overall condition, in most cases it will not be unblemished and the overall condition would have minor blemishes and faults that could be described as fair wear and tear, which can be misinterpreted and can often lead to disagreement by both parties entering into either a vehicle sale or purchase agreement.

We set out to generalize what is acceptable and what is unacceptable as follows and as recommended by the BVRLA in relation to the interpretation of used vehicle fair wear and tear.


Guide to interpretation of vehicle fair wear and tear.


Windscreen and windows acceptable

  • Surface chips with no spreading cracks
  • Professionally repaired minor chips.

Windscreen and windows unacceptable

  • Scratches and cracks in glass
  • Stone chips with signs of cracking
  • Windscreen scratches caused by faulty wiper blades

Paintwork acceptable

  • Stone chips on forward-facing panels, which are consistent with the age and mileage of the vehicle
  • Scratches that can be polished out
  • Small areas of chipping, including door edge chipping, provided that the base coat has not been penetrated and there is no corrosion
  • Light scratches and abrasions up to 25mm long are acceptable, as long as they have not penetrated the base coat

Paintwork unacceptable

  • Excessive chips that affect the vehicle's appearance
  • Scratches affecting the vehicle’s appearance
  • Previous body repairs with poor colour match, ripples, preparation marks, visible over spray, masking lines or excessive dirt in paint
  • Dents on high-profile panels such as bonnets and wheel arches
  • Underbody damage that affects the vehicle’s structure or warranty
  • Unprofessional repairs
  • Damage caused by contamination such as bird lime
  • Scratches longer than 25mm

Door Mirrors acceptable

  • Small marks not through to base coat or primer

Door Mirrors unacceptable

  • Missing, cracked, badly scuffed, damaged or not working correctly

Lamps/Lenses acceptable

  • Small areas of surface chipping

Lamps/Lenses unacceptable

  • Broken, damaged or holed lenses with minor chips affecting the vehicle’s appearance or the lamp’s performance

Wheels and wheel trims acceptable

  • Light scratches limited to less than 50% of the wheel rim
  • Corrosion not caused by wheel rim damage
  • Light scuffs on the rim edge of wheel trims
  • Minor scuffing to the outside edge of alloy wheels and trims

Wheels and wheel trims unacceptable

  • Scoring and other damage to the wheel surface
  • Bad scuffs and dents to alloy wheels or wheel covers
  • Damage to the main body of the wheel
  • Cracked or split wheel trims

Interior inside the car acceptable

  • Normal wear and tear to carpets, trim, upholstery and seat cover/trim
  • Repairs of a high and acceptable standard
  • Vinyl or hard plastic repairs of a high an acceptable

Interior inside the car unacceptable

  • Unclean and stained upholstery, including boot linings burns, tears or damage
  • Smoking, pet animal odours or damage to trim from cigarette smoke or pet animals of any kind
  • Damage caused by removing phone kits
  • Burns or cuts to trim, seat covers, headlining and floor coverings, stains or permanent discolouration
  • Removal of original/retro fitted items, for example DVD screens, all original in-car entertainment equipment must be intact and operate correctly
  • Optional extras fitted by the manufacturer or dealer should be returned with the car unless otherwise agreed  


Bumpers and trims acceptable

  • Light scuffing to non-painted parts including the rear bumper from loading/unloading
  • Minor damage/distortions up to 25mm with no paintwork damage
  • Bumpers and trims Unacceptable
  • Scratches, cuts, gouges, poor smart repairs, distortion that affects the vehicle’s appearance

Boot Unacceptable

Missing spare wheel, jack and other tools, if originally supplied

Not stowed properly and not in

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All Vehicle Contracts Limited are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, our FCA Reference Number is 690140.
All Vehicle Contracts Limited are a credit broker not a lender.
Vehicle images shown are for illustration and guidance purposes only. All offers are subject to change at any time and are subject to finance approval and vehicle availability.