How to Estimate Used Car Value

Updated February 21, 2017

In order to accurately estimate the value of your used car, you will need to consider a variety of factors, as well as your local market, in order to determine what your car is worth. Used cars vary in price, depending on the age, condition, mileage, make and model.

Determine the approximate value and reputation of your make and model of car. For example, across the board, Ferraris are worth more than Kias. The higher quality the car, the more it is worth in the long term. Used Hondas and Toyotas have better resale values because these vehicles are known for reliably lasting well over 200,000 miles. Vehicles that were cheaply made to begin with, or have a reputation for breaking down, are worth a lot less than a similar car with a stellar reputation.

Determine the age of the car. Cars depreciate in value from the moment they leave the dealer's lot. The older the car is, the less it is worth. The exception to this are classic, professionally refurbished cars. These should be taken to an appraiser or collector to determine value, as it will depend on how many models were originally made, how many still exist and additional factors.

Determine the condition of the car, including maintenance, accident history and repairs that are needed. A used car in good or like-new condition with a dealer-certified maintenance record will be worth significantly more than an identical used car that needs a new transmission and has had three oil changes in 10 years. If the car has been in an accident, has body damage or is otherwise ugly it will affect the estimate.

Consider the mileage. The lower the original mileage, the more the car is worth. Lower mileage translates into less wear and tear on the car over its lifetime. A car with less than 100,000 miles can be expected to last a lot longer than the same car with 250,000 miles.

Comparison shop for vehicles similar to yours in your area and see what they're selling for. This will be a solid indicator of the approximate value of your car. If you see cars of the same model in better shape than your own selling for £1,300, and cars in worse shape than yours selling for £650, you can assume that your car is worth approximately £975. Also, you can consult the Edmunds, NADA or Kelley Blue Book websites. Kelley Blue Book values are commonly used by car dealers and other industry professionals to estimate approximate values of cars.

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About the Author

Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.