Black Book calculates trade-in value for used vehicles by considering the date of the appraisal, the condition of the vehicle and prevailing market conditions. The categories Black Book uses to rank a used vehicle are extra clean, clean, average and rough.
The Black Book official website provides information directly to dealerships and financial sources, not to owners looking to trade. Since 1955, Black Book has published a guidebook for consumers to quickly find the latest wholesale prices direct from auto auctions. Used vehicle prices displayed in Black Book are updated within 10 days of an auction. Black Book's cars value guide contains over 14,000 vehicles, dating from 1946 to 2007.
Sites such as NewCars.com provide an embedded Black Book application for car buyers to get an instant appraisal of a used vehicle by providing the year, make, model, series, color, mileage and applicable ZIP code into the respective areas on the online form. After submitting the information, the application generates a price range that values the used vehicle. The appraisal can then be printed out and taken to the dealership, suggests NewCars.com.
The estimate provided by any embedded Black Book application should not be considered an offer to purchase or accept any used vehicle. The appraisal is based solely on the information that individuals input into the application. The accuracy of the information provided, and may be adjusted if the vehicle condition is not as represented, according to NewCars.com.