Your Used Car's Value

A free information guide to selling a used car for what it's worth online! Find car selling tips and special offers.
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How to Determine Your Car's Value when Selling

The first issue you need to address is what price you put on your used car. A great place to do this - even create a report for a potential buyer - is at Consumer Guide.

To begin calculating a price, research the wholesale value of the car — that is the price dealers are paying for the car. Pricing guides published by the National Automobile Dealers Association’s Official Used Car Guide will tell you the wholesale price of your car. Other good price guides include the Kelley Blue Book and Edmund’s Price Guide. These books are sold at newsstands and bookstores and are available in the reference section of most libraries.

Find out how much vehicles similar to yours are being priced at retail. Check out similar models in the classified ads of your local newspaper. (You can find the automotive classifieds for more than 100 newspapers online here on cars.com.) Other resources include local publications that specialize in private-sale vehicles, such as Auto, Auto Mart, Auto Trader. Check out how high local dealers are pricing equivalent vehicles.

Prices vary broadly from region to region, from season to season, etc. To determine a good price range, try to find few of the same model cars in local classified. Compare their price.

If you have a special-interest or collectible car, check Cars of Particular Interest (CPI) Value Guide or Hemmings Motor News — which are available at most large newsstands — or the classifieds in motoring magazines. You also can consult members of a local car club or a professional auto insurance appraiser.

Once you know the wholesale, trade-in and private sale values, you can come up with a price that should be lower than the dealer’s suggested retail price but higher than the price a dealer would pay for a trade-in or the wholesale auction price.

The hardest thing for people is their emotional attachment to their cars. Many people think his or her car is the nicest one there is, which it may be. There is still a limit to how much the car is worth.

Also, the value of your car has nothing to do with the loan payoff [the amount still owed to the bank]. Many people feel that they should get whatever is equal to their loan payoff for their car. The two are unrelated. If you are upside-down [owe more than the car is worth] as they call it, don't worry. Most people who have a loan payoff are.

 

 

Checking the VIN number on a car before selling it can let you and the buyer know that it is not a salvaged vehicle, or in commons terms, a lemon. A Vehicle Identification Number encodes specific information about a vehicle, including country of manufacture, manufacturer, model, body style and even engine and other information. To be safe, check your car history to confirm it has a clean bill of health before selling.