How To Determine The Value Of Your Car

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How To Determine The Value Of My Car

How To Determine The Value Of Your Car

In the day-to-day running of your vehicle, the value of your car might not be important. But, when looking to sell, upgrade or Refinance Your Car, knowing how to determine the value of your car suddenly becomes important. So how do you find the value of your car? And is your car’s estimated value worth the same as it is to someone else?

One key thing to remember is that the value of your car to you isn’t necessarily the same as it is to someone else.

How To Determine The Value Of Your Car

Optimizing Your Car’s Value

You want to get the best value out of your car possible, and there are a few ways to do that. Here are a few tips you can use before estimating your car’s value.

Adjust The Value According To The Car’s Condition

A cars condition can range from fair to excellent, depending on everything from engine health to cosmetic problems. According to Kelley Blue Book, most used cars are sold in “good” condition, which means the car has some repairable cosmetic defects and is free of major costly mechanical problems.

You can get these things repairs and/or looked at at any local dealership and if your vehicle is still under warranty most mechanical problems can be fixed under that.

Get Live Examples

Look at the going prices for comparable vehicles. Dealer advertisements, craigslist listings, and other car buying sites such as Enterprise or can provide live examples to help you determine what your car is worth.

Again, you could also go straight to the source and get an offer from a car company, either in person at a dealership or online.

Examine Your Needs

What price do you want for the vehicle? If you’re looking to get the most for your vehicle or pay the least for your new car and you don’t mind putting in some work, opt for working directly with another person and skipping the dealership.

How quickly do you want to complete the transaction? If you want cash now, selling your car to a car company or a dealership will likely be the fastest option, though taking the time to sell it yourself could get you more money.

How much energy and time can you put into selling or buying? While you can earn or save money by skipping the dealership, you’ll likely have to put effort into the process. Selling directly to another person includes communicating with potential buyers, posting advertisements, going on test drives and completing paperwork at your local DMV.

How To Determine The Value Of Your Car

Online Pricing Guides And Estimators

There are a number of ways to gauge the average market value of your car. Typically, the easiest and quickest was is to use an online vehicle valuation calculator. Alternatively, you can look at local sales guides or go to a dealership.

There are several factors online pricing guides and estimators use to determine a car’s market value. This includes mileage, the condition of the exterior and interior, any mechanical issues, your ZIP code, and the year, make and model of the vehicle.

Here are some of the top sites to help you determine your vehicles value.

Kelley Blue Book

The KBB is an industry leading automotive research company. It provides valuations based on extensive market research regarding trends in the US marketplace. These valuations come from national data analysis, including car sale trends, economic conditions and developments within the industry all from diverse sources.

You can see the value of your car, put your vehicle up for sale, shop for new and used cars and compare new and used cars online. The KBB 5-point condition and quality distinction for cars will give you a good idea of how to determine the worth of your car in the marketplace based on its condition.

Although, these are estimated market values based on national information, so depending on where you live the actual market value might be slightly higher or lower.

National Auto Dealers Association

NADA represents over 16,000 franchised car dealerships and provides information on the automotive industry’s trends. It is a valuation guide based on exclusive dealership data and is issues only to dealers within itself. As an online car valuation tool, this website will not give you an immediate figure or value range, but instead focuses on the wholesale price.

Additionally, this website is helpful if you want to make a connection with a local dealership that can help you value your car, and/or make a sale.


Edmunds provides a resource for vehicle information. You can research new and used cars, compare vehicles, get your car value, and view dealer inventory listings. Edmunds provides car valuations based on actual sales and will provide you with specific location pricing.

It determines a TMV (typical market value) based on sales and trending information in your area for your particular vehicle. The TMV is great for a closer estimation of the potential market worth of your car in your area.

Edmunds car value appraisal tool enables you to see your car’s value and compare it with other car values from KBB.


It is a good idea to compare the value of your car using multiple tools to get a better sense of what it is worth. Essentially, there are no rules or magical formulas regarding to the use of online car valuation calculators.

Resources such as KBB, Edmunds and NADA are all valuable and trustworthy sources of information. The best method is a combination of valuation calculators, your judgement and a scan of local sales within your area.

Whilst the online valuation calculators are a great start and guide, remember, they are only guides.

How To Determine The Value Of Your Car

Picking The Type Of Value You Want

A car is only worth how much a person is willing to pay for it, however, there are a lot of people and a lot of cars. There are also different types of car valuations. These values usually differ from your insurance company’s determination of value and ACV.

Trade-In Value

This is the value of your car after trading it in to a dealer for another car. Trade-in value is calculated after the dealer assesses your vehicle’s condition and factors in what they think they can sell it for. It’s the lowest value here, as its much more convenient to essentially trade keys at a dealership than it is to sell a car directly to another person yourself.

Private Sale Value

This is the value you can expect to sell your car at directly to a private buyer. You can reasonably expect to get more money for your time and effort. You are also free from overheads and third party commission deductions, you have opportunities to negotiate, select your target market and wait for the right price. It does, however, require time and effort. Your vehicle will be sold in its current condition with the private party value and will have no warranty.

You can also use websites such as Carvana to help you quickly sell your vehicle.


Selling your vehicle via auction can also alter the value and worth of your vehicle. Auctions are a quick and trouble free selling, however there is no guarantee of sale and car values tend to be lower at an auction. Car values at auction are lower because they are a wholesale marketplace where fees are involved.

There are several types of auctions available for public car sales such as classic and more general public auctions. Selecting the right type of auction will ensure a better value for your car.


After taking your car’s value and condition into consideration, the timeline you have for a sale will also affect the value of your car. Remember, just because the time is right for you to sell, doesn’t mean there will be a large pool of buyers waiting. If you have the time to wait, scan through selling options, research local car sales, and screen potential buyers, you are more likely to achieve a higher market value, and price, for your car.

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