To determine a realistic value for your automobile, visit websites such as Edmunds.com or Kelley Blue Book (kbb.com), where you can enter relevant information about your car and learn the approximate value. These sites can estimate the value for both a private party sale and a trade-in at a dealership.
Start with basic information such as the year, make, model and mileage on your car. Enter the information about the body style and engine in your car. Answer such questions as the type of transmission, braking features, comfort features, safety features, wheels, exterior, entertainment features and steering. Indicate the color as well.
Indicate, to the best of your ability, the condition of the car. On the Kelley Blue Book website, for example, you have the choice of Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair and Poor, and there is a short quiz to help you make the right choice. After you have entered all of the information, the website tells you a range of values for trade-in value and private party sales. Private party sale value is higher, because a dealer is trying to make a profit from the resale of the vehicle. However, you also have the chance to negotiate a better deal on the car you're buying with the trade-in.