What Is Best Way to Find the Value of My Car
Buy a car, drive a car, and then . . . what next? If you’re starting to feel the need for a new car whether it’s a bigger car or just a newer one, you have a decision to make. What do you do with the old car?
That question leads to an even bigger one – what is your current car worth? What’s the value of your car?
If you can find out how much your car is worth, you’ll be able to decide what you should do. You could try to sell your car if the value is high enough, or scrap it if the car isn’t worth much anymore.
So what’s the best way to find the value of your car? The good news is that there’s a number of methods you can use to find the value of your car; we’ve covered the big ones here, so you have a starting point for your decision-making process.
Market value: the price you could get for your car
When we talk about the value of your used car, we’re talking about the market value. Simply put, it’s how much money you could get for your car on the open market. Of course, the exact value will vary, and even a comparatively high estimated value may not result in a sale.
Market values are still the best place to start with your used car, because they give you a baseline; the money that you could possibly get. If that amount isn’t very high, then it may not be worth the hassle of trying to sell your car. On the other hand, if your used car value is quite high, then selling your used car might pay for at least part of the price of a new one.
What factors influence the value of your used car?
In the pre-Internet days, finding the value of your car required taking it into a shop or dealer, and letting a professional look your car over and give you an estimated price.
These days, you can use a number of online services to get an accurate idea of the value of your car, but all of those online services will rely on roughly the same factors that the old in-person method did.
Number plate factors
Private number plates can attract a high price for the ones at the more unique end of the scale, so if you have a private number plate you might want to transfer it over to your new car, otherwise you’ll need to consider how it factors into the value of the car.
If your number plate is damaged it may not seem like a big deal, but little things like that can impact the overall value of your car so make sure to replace your plate before getting it valued.
And if you’re selling privately you could even go the extra mile and add a temporary show plate, with some kind of for sale, or pricing messaging on it. Or just something silly as an ice-breaker when people come to look around your car. Just remember they are not road legal so remove them prior to driving!
Factors used to determine your used car value:
Peeling paint? Ripped fabric on the interior? Chips, dings, and dents on the bodywork? The overall condition of your car is one of the biggest factors in determining value. Visible damage will obviously lower your vehicle’s value, but even minor issues – like torn leather interiors – play an important role.
Occasionally, you’ll find older vehicles with unusually low mileage, and it’s no surprise that these vehicles often fetch a better price on the secondary market. Lower mileage means less wear-and-tear on every aspect of the vehicle, from engine to interior, and less likelihood of any damage.
Low mileage also means that any new owner can assume that he or she will get a lot of life in their new vehicle.
Some accidents don’t leave any visible damage, but can still negatively impact the value of your vehicle. For that reason, car value calculators use VIN and registration numbers to see a vehicle’s title and accident history. Car titles vary; clean titles are best, while salvaged titles might indicate extensive damage and repairs. Cars with clean titles and no accident history command a higher price.
Similar vehicles on the market
Most online value calculators will take into consideration recent sales of similar cars. The value of your particular make and model will obviously vary based on condition, but using other sales gives a base comparison.
Best places to find the market value
There’s no more need to take your car in to get it evaluated, at least not initially. There are a number of websites that will give you an initial valuation with a few basic pieces of information about your car.
If you like the information you get, and decide to sell your car online, you may need to present it somewhere for an inspection to verify the information you’ve provided. Otherwise, you should be able to do everything online.
You’ll find car value calculators offered on two kinds of websites; industry sites like HPI, and third-party sellers. You will receive different figures from each, because each one fits a slightly different purpose.
Industry sites perform research to determine the value of your car on the private market. In some cases, like parkers.co.uk, that means that actual people are visiting actual dealers and sellers on a monthly basis, harvesting the most up-to-date information on how much different vehicles fetch on the market.
HPIvaluations also falls into this category, with their estimates also backed by researchers who rely on information from dealers and sellers around the country. Your car value estimate is free, of course; you’ll simply need to enter the vehicle registration and some short additional questions.
There are other sites, like confused.com, which rely on CAP and HPI data for their own car value calculators. The results should be broadly similar, although there’s no independent team of researchers gathering info.
Third-party sellers are a slightly different matter. These calculators are found on websites that offer to sell your car for you, or to buy it directly from you and then resell it themselves. Webuyanycar, wewantanycar, Motorway, and a host of other sites don’t give you an estimated value of your car on the open market; they make you an offer and let you decide whether it’s enough for you.
Third-party sellers offer easy-to-use sites and a quick solution to your old car problem. Just a bit of data entry and a quick scan through some options and you can have an actual offer on your car in a matter of minutes. No hassle of Facebook or Gumtree ads, no worries about getting stuck haggling with someone over price; these sites do all the legwork for you.
But because they serve as middlemen, the valuation you receive from Webuyanycar and others will be less than the value of your car sold privately. You’ll almost always get more from your car if you do the work yourself.
Top car valuation sites
Grouped by industry-related and third-party sellers, here’s a quick list of some of the best places to get a valuation for your car.
A great place to start your search, HPI provides not just one estimate of the value of your car, but four! HPI gives you the original sticker price of your car, letting you see just how much your car has depreciated. You can also see the price you would expect to pay for your car from a dealer. Finally, you’ll get the private sale estimate for your car, and the estimated trade-in value.
What you get from HPI is an incredibly detailed estimate that will let you know whether it’s worth it to try to sell your car on your own, or if you should use a third-party site. HPI also works as a great comparison for any third-party estimates you receive – you can compare the dealer’s offer against what HPI thinks they will charge for your car, and decide if it is fair.
Another research-based site. Parkers has been providing valuations since 1972, so they’ve got a fair amount of experience. They provide two estimates – the private sale value, and the price for your car at a dealer.
The Parkers site also provides some helpful resources for selling your car, as well as an index of used car prices by manufacturer – useful if you’d like to see which vehicles typically sell and hold their value.
Confused.com pulls data from HPI, so you’re not getting their own unique research. You do get a huge range of extra features on the confused.com site, from insurance offers to price indexes for fuel and insurance, all designed to provide better information for when you decide to buy a car.
Reviews – those are What Car’s bread-and-butter. They review new and used cars, but they also team up with HPI to provide a car value calculator. They’ll also let you search for new and used car deals, so you get a great idea of what your car is worth and what’s happening with the market currently.
Third-party sellers and dealers
These sites also fall into two categories; sites that aim to buy your car directly (to be sold on to an auction house or at a dealer) and sites that connect you to potential buyers. In both cases, the website will take a part of the sale price or offer a lower price so they can profit when they sell your car on.
Slick, fast, and easy; We Buy Any Car promises to buy your car in under an hour. There’s no extra legwork, although you will have to take your car into a designated site to verify the estimated value.
While the process is painless and quick, you probably won’t get top dollar for your car; you’d have to be willing to sell it yourself. But if you want to get your old car out of the way as quickly as possible, you can have the whole process completed quickly.
A smaller but very close cousin to We Buy Any Car, this site offers roughly the same process. Enter your car’s info, receive an estimate, agree to the offer, present your car to be inspected and handed over. The entire process is designed to be over quickly.
A quick-sale site, with a twist – Buy My Car specializes in high-value cars. If your used car is a bit pricier than your average used car, Buy My Car provides a concierge service; personalized estimates and the promise that once an offer is agreed, they will come to you – no need to drive to a dealer location that may be miles away.
AutoTrader.com is an Ebay for cars – you can browse thousands of listings of cars all over the country, and list your own car directly on the site. AutoTrader charges a fee of course, but on the whole it’s a great blend between selling your car privately and selling it on to a third-party dealer.
Regit offers an interesting twist – you can create a digital garage of cars, and keep track of their value, important documents, and more directly on the website. The valuation that Regit provides is pulled from other third-party sites like We Buy Any Car.
RAC lets you list your car on the site and receive offers from private buyers and dealers alike. The versatility is a useful feature, and RAC of course provides an estimated value to make an informed decision. There’s also a host of additional information available on the site, including best sellers in new and used cars.
What to do with your used car
Once you’ve found the value of your used car, you’ll have to decide what to do next. If you want the easiest experience possible and aren’t too worried about squeezing every bit of value out of your used car, then third-party sites like RAC and We Buy Any Car are good options that provide a pain-free way to sell your car.
If you want to get the most out of your car, try selling it yourself on the private market, or use a site like AutoTrader. Whichever route you choose, we recommend using more than one site to get an estimated value for your used car. You’ll probably notice a range of offers, which will give you a better idea of what to look for and help you get the most out of your used car.