Whether you plan on selling your car or trading it at the dealership, it’s important to know how much it’s worth. You don’t want to undervalue it, and allow yourself to get ripped off, but neither do you want to overvalue it to the point where you can’t sell it to anyone. The question is, how can you determine a fair value for your car or truck?
Resources for Valuing Your Car
A good starting point is to do some online research, using vehicle cost estimators to give you the ballpark value of your vehicle. There are several sites that we would recommend, but Kelley Blue Book is probably the gold standard. Visit the site and input all the information you can about your vehicle—make, model, year, etc.
Note that offering complete and accurate information is essential for getting a truly realistic estimate. Knowing the exact mileage of your vehicle is critical, for example. You may also be asked about the condition your car is in—how well it has been maintained. Answer these questions honestly, even if it hurts a little. Honest answers are essential for getting an accurate feel for your vehicle’s value.
The site you use will provide you with a basic range of values, and the value of your car should fall somewhere within it. Note that a site like Kelley Blue Book will give you both the sale value (if you sell the car yourself) and the trade value (if you trade it to the dealership); the latter is usually going to be less, as the dealership has to maintain tight price margins if they want to make a buck.
Different Factors Affect Value
Note that the price range you get is going to be an estimate, and nothing more: Vehicles are all going to be valued a little differently, and there are many factors that can impact how much your car or truck is worth.
Seasonality is one of them. A convertible is going to be in greater demand—and thus be valued a little bit higher—during the summer as opposed to winter. Geography can also make a difference. You’ll probably get more for your pickup truck in the rugged mountains of Colorado than you would in, say, Miami.
There are other factors that can influence the value of your automobile, too. After-market addictions you have made to it can sometimes cause its value to increase. Basic maintenance pays off, too—even when it comes to something as seemingly minor as the upholstery. Having an obviously clean and cared-for car or truck is going to make it more appealing to buyers, and thus a little bit more valuable.
Discover How Much Your Car is Worth
There are a number of ways to determine the basic value of your car, and it may be worth consulting a few different websites to try to find the consensus. Learn your car’s value before you try to trade or sell!