What’s the Best Way to Determine the Value of Your Used Car?

Buying a new or used car is exciting. However, a driver may need to dispose of their old vehicle. They may trade it in or sell it privately. 

Either way, the owner should have an idea of the value of the vehicle before taking this step. They will need to know the trade-in or private party price, depending on which option they plan to use. The following guide explains how to find this information. 

Choose a Source

Choose a source to find this value. Many dealerships, which may include glenwood springs dealerships, turn to Kelley Blue Book to obtain the value of vehicles. However, other sources are available, and a driver may wish to consult them to get a better understanding of what the car may be valued at. 

Edmunds is a trusted resource for many, and some people turn to NADAGuides. AutoTrader, TrueCar, and Consumer Reports Car Value Estimator may also be consulted when determining this value. 

Value of Your Used Car

Examine the Exterior of the Vehicle

Have a friend walk around the vehicle and take it for a test drive as if they were going to buy the vehicle. Choose a friend that will be brutally honest, even if it may hurt the owner’s feelings. This will provide a better assessment of the vehicle and what it may be worth. 

They should do a thorough inspection of the vehicle’s exterior, looking for scratches, dents, and dings. Rust and misaligned panels are signs the car might have been in an accident. 

Have them bring a magnet and run it along the exterior of the vehicle. If the magnet does not stick to one or more parts of the exterior, it means body filler has been used. 

They should open and close the doors, hoods, and trunk to see if they operate easily. Ensure all lights are working and the tires are in good shape. Finally, check the suspension to see if the car sits level. Push down on each corner to see if the vehicle bounces multiple times. If it does, it has suspension issues. 

The Mechanical Workings of the Car

Next, open the hood and examine the mechanical components of the car. Look for cracked or mushy hoses and belts. Examine the drive belts to see if they are frayed or worn. 

Check the oil to ensure it is dark brown or black. Other colors serve as warning signs that there is something wrong with the car. Coolant should have a green or orange color, and transmission, power steering, and brake fluids should be in the acceptable range on the dipsticks. 

Climb under the vehicle to see if there is black and greasy residue on the tailpipe or if there are fluids present under the car. Look for kinks and dents in the fuel tank and floor pan, as they are signs the vehicle has been in an accident. 

Determine the Condition

Many owners will say their vehicle is in excellent shape. Kelley Blue Book reports only five percent of vehicles fall into this category. The vehicle must be in excellent shape in every way, and the owner must have all maintenance and service records. 

Other vehicle condition options used by Kelley Blue Book include very good, good, and fair. However, each valuation provider determines which categories it uses. Review the categories offered by the valuation provider to learn which one the vehicle belongs in. 

Using this information, determine the condition of the vehicle. Enter this into the appropriate section of the valuation provider’s website. The site will provide an estimate of the vehicle’s worth. This information can then be used to sell the vehicle to a private party or trade it in for a fair price. 

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