Originally Posted by Clean_Image
You know... us valeters really hate to hear this kind of thing!
There arent many 3 year old cars that are beyond help
I know this is going to sound like sales patter, but if you get your wheels cleaned up, have the paintwork buffed (to remove all the scratches that automated car washes give you), have the dents removed and touch in the stone chips - you may find that you can increase the resale value of your car by as much as £2000.
If it was my own car and I was thinking of selling privately then I'd do exactly that. Trading in against another car, it doesn't make quite so much sense. Dealers aren't that bothered about minor damage: They can sort it for themselves at minimal cost when their own workshop is quiet, so it doesn't usually hurt the trade-in price that badly. As it stands, mine's a contract hire car, so it's not worth sorting anything that I think will slip by the guy who comes to take it away. Based on past experience, apart from the cracked fog light, I don't think there's anything bad enough for him to actually flag it up on the paperwork.
Once the honeymoon period is over (about the first six months or so) my car is just a donkey. I wouldn't drive it with huge chunks of trim hanging off it or a dirty great scuff along the bumper, but I can live with the odd minor scratch and dent here and there. If I bother getting the back door repaired, sod's law says someone will rag a shopping trolley along it again the following week, and when you do 25,000+ (mostly motorway) miles a year, keeping on top of stone chips is a non-starter. As for the wheels, I could spend an hour on them, and they'd be filthy again within another hour of driving.
Yep, tarting the car up for private sale makes perfect sense. Fixing every little dent and scratch as and when it happens doesn't, unless you really can't stand to see your pride and joy sporting an injury. The exception is when the top coat of paint has been broken (even the laquer on metallics) as the other layers are porous, and you could be inviting rust.