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What Is the Blue Book Value of My Car?

Updated March 23, 2017

Before you even think about putting your car up for sale, you've got to find out its value. Kelley Blue Book is a vehicle valuation service that allows you to find out just how much you might fetch for your used car.

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Kelley Blue Book is a book of car values that was developed in 1926 by a dealership owner named Les Kelley, who kept an extensive list of car prices for sellers and buyers. Kelley Blue Book values are now accepted as fair market value across the car industry.


Your blue book value is based on the make, model, age, mileage and condition of the car.

Private Party

The private party Blue Book value of a used car is what an individual will likely pay for it if you sell the car yourself. This estimate is accepted by most agencies and organisations as the "fair market value."


The trade-in value is what a dealer will likely pay for the car if you come in to buy a new vehicle in place of your old one. In most cases this value will be less than the private party value.


Many small claims courts will require that you get proof of the Kelley Blue Book value before you come in to file a claim regarding an automobile accident. You can only win up to the market value of the car in court.

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About the Author

Louise Balle has been writing Web articles since 2004, covering everything from business promotion to topics on beauty. Her work can be found on various websites. She has a small-business background and experience as a layout and graphics designer for Web and book projects.

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