How Do I Find the Actual Value of My Car?

The cost of buying a car is very expensive these days. However, on the flip side of that, your used car might be worth more than you think. Do you plan on selling your car or trading it in for another one? Perhaps you’re just curious to know how much it depreciated (or possibly appreciated) since you bought it. Here’s how you can find the actual value of your car.

How to check the value of your car

Front angle view of white 2017 Toyota Camry, highlighting how to find the actual value of your car
2017 Toyota Camry | Toyota

Now is a good time to sell your car. With high inflation, the average price of a used car is currently over $30,000, which is a record high. Fortunately, determining the value of your car is easier than ever. The best way to find a car’s value is a free online estimator tool, as detailed by NextAdvisor. After inputting some basic information about your car, you’ll get an instant value estimate. 

Popular sites that have online value estimator tools for cars include:

  • Kelley Blue Book (KBB)
  • Edmunds
  • National Automobile Dealer’s Association (NADA)
  • TrueCar
  • Autotrader
  • Consumer Reports
  • Parkers
  • CarsDirect
  • CarGurus

One of the leading sites with an estimator tool for cars is Kelley Blue Book. To determine your car’s value, KBB uses details like the years, make, model, mileage, and color. KBB also provides an instant cash offer, as well as a listing of new and used car prices and car cars for sale at dealerships close to where you live. 

One of the biggest competitors of KBB is Edmunds, which uses more detailed criteria to determine the value of a car. This includes things like cosmetic damage and whether or not a car was in an accident. Like KBB, Edmunds offers a list of prices for cars, as well as cars for sale near you. Additionally, Edmunds “publishes comprehensive vehicle reviews and long-term road test results.”

What information do I need about my car to determine its value?

Front angle view of black 2015 Ford F-150, highlighting how to find the actual value of your car
2015 Ford F-150 | Ford

To determine the value of your car on an online estimator site, you’ll need to provide some information about it. This includes:

  • Make, model, and year
  • Color, interior, and trim
  • Features
  • Mileage
  • Vehicle condition

Also, as noted earlier, some sites like Edmunds ask for even more detailed information, including if your car was in an accident. The more detailed information that you can provide, the more accurate the value estimate will be. Also, it’s important to be honest with inputting the details, especially for describing the condition of your vehicle.

What are the different types of car values?

Before you use an online car value estimator tool, it’s good to understand the different types of car values. This includes:

  • Private resale value: the amount of money that you can get for your car if you sell it directly to another person
  • Dealer resale value: the amount of money that a dealership will pay for your car
  • Trade-in value: the amount of money that a dealership will give for your car when trading it in for another car, which is typically lower than the dealer resale value
  • Certified pre-owned (CPO) value: Typically higher than the trade-in or dealer resale value, the certified pre-owned value is for when you sell your car to a dealership, and then they sell it as a certified pre-owned vehicle. A CPO vehicle usually includes a detailed inspection from a certified technician, as well as limited warranty coverage.

In addition to using a car value estimator tool, it’s a good idea to compare the appraisal to the prices of similar cars in your area. Along with the aforementioned Kelley Blue Book and Edmunds, sites that you can check for car prices near where you live include Craigslist, Autotrader, Facebook Marketplace, and eBay Motors. 

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