What is my car / truck / SUV worth

This is a great question and I get asked all the time, often followed by, “I have ran the numbers online so I know my car is worth X$’s as a tradein”

In today’s market that question is hard to answer.  As a dealer trying to be accurate on what you are paying for a used car, it is hard for us as well.  We have two guide books we use in the NW.  Kelley Blue book and NADA.  Most dealers in Portland and Seattle use Kelley.    But the dealer version is never the same as the online version.  Not really sure why, but as a dealer I get the pleasure of paying  several hundred dollars a year to subscribe to that service.  Online is free, if the numbers were the same, I doubt any of the dealers would be paying for it.

Three things that effect used car value the most

  • Condition
  • Mileage
  • Age

First on the list is condition.  A clean nice car, will always sell for more, as a small dealer I never buy anything that is not exceptionally nice.   Not worth the risk, and since I purchase about 80% of my vehicles specifically for my customers, I am even more fastidious.

Second is mileage.  To see how mileage effects a car, let me take a 2001 Honda Accord (LX sedan), should have average miles of around 120K.   With average miles, that car has a dealer wholesale guide value of $4,250.  If it is clean, right now that car would probably sell for around $3,800 to $4,500 (wholesale).  When I change the mileage to 60,000 it raises the guide value to $6,350.  If clean that car will probably bring $6,500 to $7,350 (again wholesale).  When you raise the miles to 180K.  It drops my dealer guide value to $3,200.  Clean that car would probably sell for $2,000 to $2,500 (wholesale).  Now these sales values are to dealers such as myself.  What we call wholesale.  So you would expect to see any of these marked up $1,500 to $3,000 or more.

Third and last is age, cars seem to have an interesting life span when it comes to value.  One or two years old, the value drops around 20% sometimes as much as 30 to 35.  From 3 to 5 years the reduction drops to 10% per year or less.  5 years older or more the reduction is even less.

A best buy hypothetical situation right now, could be a 2 year old car. They will often be a great deal, because they could have dropped 30% or more.  I have seen cars that new sold for around $20,000  selling a year later at my dealer sale for around $11,000.     That same car will probably not drop another $3,000 over the next 3 or 4 years.

As to value, if you use the links below, use “good” condition no matter how nice you think your vehicle is, you should be somewhat close. Just remember our local market has quirks, certain cars will sell for more while others for less, and the only way you can get that info is through someone like me, or keeping your eyes on the local selling prices of the vehicles you want to buy or sell..

Here are 3 online sites that you can use to help get an idea of the value of either your purchase or your tradein…  Remember the numbers you pull up, are not exact…only a guide to give you an idea..

Used auto value sites…that you can use.

Kelley Blue Book, NADA and Edmunds.

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