When determining the value of a used car, several factors need to be taken into consideration. An online service that can greatly assist you in making this determination is Kelley Blue Book (www.KBB.com).
Once a used car buyer arrives at kbb.com you will be asked of for the year, make, model and mileage on the vehicle you are thinking about purchasing or selling. After entering your zip code (the geographic location that the used car is purchased from plays a large part in determining its value) chose your cars category (ex. sedan, coupe, minivan, truck, etc.) and trim. You will then be asked to fill in all other detailed information regarding the features contained on the car you are selling or the one you wish to buy.
The next question it will ask is whether you are planning to trade it into a dealer, or sell it to a private party. This is a very important question because prices can really vary between a transaction between two private parties and one that involves a used car dealership.
Finally, determining the condition that your used car is in greatly affects its final value. How well has the vehicle been taken care of? Are there rust spots, dents, or missing pieces hurting the appearance? Or are there mechanical function such as the power windows or locks that no longer work? More importantly does the transmission shift smoothly or are there any fluid leaks. Every aspect of the car needs to be taken into consideration. Once this is done one of five categories need to be chosen for a condition rating.
Only 3% of used car are deemed to be in “Excellent” condition. “Excellent” is very close to a new car level as all service records need to be available and the vehicle cannot have any history of paint touch ups or body work. From there KBB moves down to “Really Good” condition (23% of used cars), “Good” condition (54% of used cars), “Fair” condition (18% of used cars), and finally “Poor” condition (2% of used cars) which Kelley Blue Book will not give a value on.
Once the condition is selected Kelley Blue Book gives you their estimated value. This by no means should be an end number, but a very good starting point for negotiations with whomever you are doing business.
In addition to Kelley Blue Book you should do further research on not only the specific history of a certain vehicle using Carfax.com and/or Autocheck.com, but on the overall history of a specific make and model using services such as carcomplaints.com or consumer reports. These services will let you know about certain problems that a make/model has been known for.
There are many online services that will give you tools to help you gain an advantage in your used car negotiations. Do your due diligence so you can make the most informed decision.