How Can You Determine the Value of Your Car?


Quick Answer

Kelley Blue Book and NADA Guides have emerged as the top resources allowing consumers to check a vehicle's value quickly and easily, and in many cases, for free. Year, make, model, mileage and condition all go into determining a car's value, which varies from one geographical area to the next.

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How Can You Determine the Value of Your Car?
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Full Answer

While several online sources offer used car value estimators online, these two stand above the rest as they offer the most comprehensive information and are most-often used in both used-car dealer and private party sales.

Kelley Blue Book serves as the primary resource that consumers use when selling used cars between private parties. A car's "Blue Book Value" covers two price ranges: one is for dealer sales, while the other covers transactions between individuals. Each price range covers a spectrum of estimated values based on a model year's mileage and condition. A car only holds the value that a buyer is willing to pay for it, but Blue Book Value represents a good target for negotiations.

For trade-in values and prices on used cars offered for sale at dealerships, NADA Guides has gradually earned a position as the most trusted resource that makes its information available to the general public. The online and paper publication covers a broader range of model years than found at Kelley, generally providing more-exact pricing.

For rare, classic and modified cars, these sources may not give a value at all or may give price ranges that do not represent the parts and labor that went into modifying or accessorizing a vehicle. In these cases, sellers may want to check with online classifieds, such as Craigslist, or on enthusiast Web forums specific to a make and model.

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