Preparing a Slot Car for sale

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Selling a slot car can be easy. Simply type "sold as seen" and include some pics. But I have a lot of slot cars, some quite exclusive and I want people to desire and believe in the cars I sell. So the only way to do that is via Feedback and that means folk writing nice things about the car they have received. So what process do I go through to make a Used Car as good as it can be for the Buyer. Over the years I have collected some tools and gadgets because I love them but none are necessary - small screwdriver and household bits and bobs will do just as well.
Chassis and body separated. Keep screws somewhere safe
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Chassis and body separated. Keep screws somewhere safe

Is It Running Well?

The car may run but is it running well? That is to say will it provide the power and performance the Buyer is expecting. Never be afraid to dismantle a slot car. It's usually a case of unscrewing 4 screws underneath and carefully easing the body away from the chassis.
A clean engine is a happy engine
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A clean engine is a happy engine

Get Stuck In

Most cars will feature an engine, two wires running to the braids, a cog connecting to the chassis where it will mesh with another cog to drive the wheels. Simples. Give everything a thorough clean, a smidge of oil, check the leads are fitting snugly into the guide blade and run it. What you want to hear is a smooth power curve and no pulsing. I am fortunate enough to have a rolling road/test bed but clearly one could use the track just as readily (I'm a sucker for gadgets). It should be easy to see if a wire has become detached from the engine - it's a relatively simple soldering job to fix.
All is for nought without clean braids
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All is for nought without clean braids

Braids

The braids are the key contact with the rails/slot of the track. The cleaner and fuller the contact the better. So either clean the braids (I use a braid conditioner or a touch of lighter fuel on a cotton wool bud) or replace them. I keep a metre of copper braid in my toolkit (cheap as chips from slot car suppliers). Once the braids are cleaned/fitted flare out the ends a little to maximise contact with the slot.
A final running check.
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A final running check.

One Last Check

Check the car again and all should be well. Good, sweet running engine, no burning smells and good contact between braids and road. I leave the engine running on low revs for a couple of minutes just to make sure all is well. Then, if I feel it is necessary, a quick lap of the track to ensure the guide blade turns both ways and the car sits well.
Posh tyre truer
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Posh tyre truer

True Tyres

Good tyres are vital to a smooth running car. I regularly condition mine with conditioner from Pendle Slot Racing. If the car bounces a bit while running or you sense a vibration the chances are that your tyres are not true. Many cars leave the factory with flashing on the tyres or if the car is well used maybe they've degraded a little or picked up tiny specs of grit. I don't glue my tyres to the wheels as Buyers may want to change tyres. So I true both the wheels and tyres. I have  a Hudy Tyre Truer that does the job nicely but here's a useful tip that is as effective and very quick.
Track direction right to left
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Track direction right to left

Economy Tyre Truing

Place the guide blade in the slot with the car facing the wrong way to it's natural polarity with the rear tyres over some light grain sandpaper. Keep the power quite low and place the rear tyres gently on the sandpaper holding the car all the while. This action will shave off any flashing, bumps or grit and true the tyre. In this pic I am using the slot on my track with the car facing the "wrong" way. Do NOT press the car down. This is a most gentle, caressing process.
Save old parts
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Save old parts

Bodywork

A clean car is always more attractive than one that looks like you've just dug it up. A wet wipe, small brush and cotton wool bud are the only tools you need...I occasionally use a toothpick wrapped in a wet wipe to get into those tricky nooks and crannies Check for missing bits such as mirrors, aerials, wings, wipers etc. I regularly take a sweep around my layout to check for discarded parts and keep them in trays so that, from time to time, I can re-unite them with their owners. Also never throw away old cars as they are a great source of spare parts!

Good to go
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Good to go

Pre-delivery Check

Finally sit the car somewhere straight and flat with a slot for the guide. Don't leave the car sitting on it's back wheels as you can't judge if it's level. Now just give it the once over. Is it sitting right? Do the wheels run free without scraping arches, are spokes, spindles, hubs back in? Check light lenses and then a final polish. Don't use a wet wipe for this as it will smear once dry....a soft dry cloth will do the uncluttered bits and then a cotton wool bud for the tricky spots.
A picture tells a thousand words
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A picture tells a thousand words

And Finally...

Take the most flattering pictures you can. A picture does so much more than words can ever do. Don't hide blemishes as this will backfire and the Buyer will be in touch pronto and could lead to negative Feedback. Show the car from all angles in an environment that gives the Buyer something to enjoy and suits the car's natural habitat....ideally a track, pit garage, on top of it's box, a clean flat surface. Show the underneath and explain any changes you have made with pics if possible. The pic below shows my work table which is right next to the first left hand corner of my circuit. Many of my sales pics are taken on that corner (marked by white oil drums) and the straight just after.
Cotton wool buds, tooth-pics, screwdrivers and coffee
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Cotton wool buds, tooth-pics, screwdrivers and coffee
A groovy pic, a serviced and clean car
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A groovy pic, a serviced and clean car

Creating Value

"Used slot car for sale" doesn't convey much excitement does it. Additional phrases like fully serviced, runs very well, new braids, in excellent condition will all add value and all it it takes is 5 to 10 enjoyable minutes sorting out easy stuff.  If there is a problem you can't fix then tell the Buyer as early as possible. I have always found people to be very reasonable when they are informed.
Study the car carefully and be sure to share info about blemishes - however small
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Study the car carefully and be sure to share info about blemishes - however small
Link to an eBay page Remove
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Link to an eBay page
Study the car carefully and be sure to share info about blemishes - however small
Link to an eBay page Remove
Add up to 1 more photo
Link to an eBay page
Study the car carefully and be sure to share info about blemishes - however small
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