Knowing used car values is essential in both buying and selling. By knowing exactly how much a car is worth, you can recognize a fair price or one that’s outrageously high or low.
The value of a used vehicle is determined by numerous factors, including:
* Make and model: Those that sold for more as new cars are more likely to hold a greater value as used cars. Reliability and average lifespan also factor into the equation. Some makes, such as BMW, depreciate at a lower rate than Fords, for example.
* Year: Generally, the older the car, the lower the value. This makes sense as each year the car endures additional wear and tear from regular driving. Although, even if the condition remains the same, it is still another year older, making it less appealing to buyers.
* Mileage: A higher number on the odometer usually results in a lower price, as more driving means more wear and tear.
* The extras: Options such as power steering, blind spot detection and GPS systems increase value. Anything that is not standard, as long as it is in working condition, will add extra value to a used car.
* Location: Different types of cars are worth more in certain areas than in others. In a rural setting, for example, trucks will hold more value than small cars. Vice versa in the city, where small vehicles are more desirable.
* Condition: Obviously, a car that’s in excellent shape has a higher value than one that’s a bit worse for the wear.
The Kelley Blue Book (kbb.com) is considered by many to be the gold standard in determining used car values. It uses all of the above factors to calculate the Retail Value (what you’d expect to pay at a dealership), the Private Party Value (a fair price for a private seller) and the Trade-in value (what you’d anticipate receiving toward the purchase of another car at a dealer).
Finding the value of a used car on kbb.com is simple and quick. In addition to their website, Kelley Blue Book offers free mobile apps and sells printed guides.
The National Auto Dealers Association also allows you to calculate used car values, using a similar process as Kelley Blue Book. They, too, sell printed guides and offer mobile apps. They also offer information about topics such as safety ratings and vehicle history reports, though not all of it is offered free of charge.
Determining Used Car Values – Summary
Ultimately, used vehicle values are what buyers are willing to pay for them. That’s why checking out classified ads and local dealerships can also help you determine how much your car is worth where you live.
Although it’s unlikely that you’ll find a car just like yours in the same condition, finding out what similar vehicles are going for can provide insight into how much your ride, or the one you want to buy, is worth.
Used car values aren’t just numbers, they’re tools to help you get a fair price no matter which side of the car-buying equation you’re on. Don’t buy or sell until you know what your car is worth!