If you’re looking to purchase a new vehicle or trade in your existing car for an upgrade, we recommend consulting some useful resources that will help you determine the right value of your car. There are several guides that specialize in automobile trends and prices, the most trustworthy of which are Kelley Blue Book, NADA (National Automobile Dealers Association) Guides, and the Black Book. Each of the three aforementioned guides offer unique value listings, so it is best to cross-reference all three, and any others you may come across, to guarantee you receive an appropriate price whether you are buying or selling.
These three guides specialize in distinct niches of automobile retail. NADA Guide provides vehicular information to a majority of financial institutions, including car dealerships, credit unions, banks, leasing companies, and insurance providers, noting trends in wholesale prices. Because of this fact, NADA Guide is primarily used by dealerships as a resource, so consulting this guide for trade-ins is highly recommended. Kelley Blue Book, on the other hand, was developed by Les Kelley, a used car dealer, and caters more toward local trends and private sellers. Finally, the Black Book was developed by three business men who enjoyed attending car auctions. They wanted an all-inclusive system for determining the proper value for these used cars. Luckily for you, all of these guidebooks have websites to help you determine the value of your vehicle easily and conveniently. You can visit them at the following websites:
www.nadaguides.com For NADA Blue Book / NADA Guide
www.kbb.com For Kelley Blue Book
www.blackbookusa.com For Black Book
This article aims to assist you in navigating these sites by walking you through the process of searching, locating, and pricing your vehicle. Once you follow these steps, regardless of whether you are buying or selling, you will feel confident in your knowledge to ask for the fairest price.
First things first – regardless of which website you choose to start with, the first thing they are going to ask is the make, model, and year of the vehicle you are interested in.
Secondly, you will need to type in your zip code in order to assess the vehicle values in your particular home town. Prices vary state-to-state and model-to-model depending on where you live. By searching by location you will be able to better accurately assess the fair value.
Next, ask yourself which value your purchase or sale requires. There are three to choose from:
- Private Property Value – used by private sellers selling personal vehicles
- Trade-in Value – the value used by dealerships when you trade your vehicle in for one of theirs, either used or new; this value is typically less expensive than private property
- Retail Value – the suggested wholesale price for new vehicles
Now you will need to enter the particulars of your vehicle, such as its mileage, the condition of its engine, and any extra details it possesses. In regards to the engine, you may need to consult your owner’s manual to answer the questions related to the transmission and motor size. When you list the extra details, be sure to note luxury items like a sun roof, automatic windows, and modified tires and stereo equipment. Check NADA car value on their website or refer to Kelley Blue Book for more information.
Finally, you have to assess the condition of the vehicle. On a scale of Excellent, Good, Fair, or Poor, which is it? You will want to be as objective as possible. Consult Kelley Blue Book or NADA Guide for better price estimates and see which fits best in your budget
You now have the value of your vehicle or the vehicle you wish to purchase. Take this knowledge to auctions, dealerships, or classified websites, and shop with confidence.