Before attempting to sell your car, you’ll want to be be armed with at least some idea of its market value. It’s important to be aware that car values can vary depending on the method used to sell them on. For example, selling to a dealer without part exchanging it against another one will likely attract a lower price than selling it privately would.
You may have heard of this term and others like it – such as the ‘book value of a car’ or ‘book price.’ They relate to the guides people and companies working in the retail motor trade use to find the value of a car. Guides such as Glass’s Guide and CAP are not usually available to those outside the trade, but it’s possible to get an online valuation from both. There are also guides available in news agents such as Parker’s, which can give a general idea – they also have an online valuer facility.
It’s important to remember that trade guides and others are just that – a guide to your car’s current value, not an exact vehicle value despite Glass’s guide being nicknamed the ‘trade bible.’ In these guides there is the basic ‘trade’ and ‘retail’ value with the latter being higher. Generally speaking, the trade value is what an individual or company would pay you for your car – the retail value is the price they would sell it for to a retail customer from a forecourt. It’s also a broadly similar value to price the car would sell for in a private sale.
Obviously, condition and mileage makes a big difference. The book value bases current vehicle values on an ‘average ‘ yearly mileage – often 10 to 12,000 – and guides show how to adjust for mileage whether up or down. Condition is a bit vague, but ‘commensurate with age and mileage’ is the usual catchall term used.
Equipment, Colour and Location
Equipment – a car loaded with optional equipment won’t necessarily be worth more than one with less, but the omission of certain items might affect the value. For example, a larger car without automatic transmission might be worth less that a manual car, simply because buyers of such cars are likely expecting an automatic. There again, it’s likely to be less of a consideration on a smaller car.
Colour – can make a difference, although it’s more likely to affect the value if it’s a shade that would not have wide appeal. For example, silver on a larger car is usually a safe bet in that it would not put too many people off so it’s resale chances are better than if it were in, say, a garish purple.
Location – car values can vary depending on whereabouts in the country it is being sold. That’s one reason why trade guides should not be considered as gospel. It’s also why you also should not treat dealer or private sale prices as exact guides (see below) if you’re checking values online nationwide.
Dealer and Private Sale Prices
Checking values online with dealers’ used car stock and used car websites such as Auto Trader will help you find the value of your car. It should be possible to find cars of the same, or very similar, specification as yours, and see what the current values are. Be aware that a dealer’s price will be taking into account a margin for taking in a possible part exchange, perhaps providing a warranty and other benefits to the used car buyer.
Be aware also that a dealer would not likely offer you that kind of price for your car. They might if you’re part exchanging yours with them against another one (assuming they haven’t already heavily discounted the new car), but are unlikely to if buying it ‘for cash.’
So saying to them ‘please value my car’ will likely result in various different prices being given by the valuer depending on whether you’re looking just to sell it to them, part exchange it, whether they have already discounted the replacement car, what model of car you’re thinking of buying – and whether it’s new or used.
A car like yours being sold privately would possibly be priced taking into account likely reductions made during haggling negotiations with the buyer. There’s also the costs involved in selling a car such as advertising fees, preparing it for sale such as valeting, new tyres, and perhaps a service and giving it a new MOT. In other words, be aware that the selling price you see from dealers selling the car to the public off their forecourt or a private seller incorporates their initial expense.
There are online dealers who will provide a valuation of your car and buy it. By visiting their website and completing an online form, you’ll get a no-obligation value of your car in minutes. This is very useful as this is an actual amount your car would make (subject to a physical inspection).
Ebay sells many cars. A search based on your car’s specification may well yield examples similar to yours – and you’ll also get a good idea of popularity in that you can see the bidding record for certain cars.
So when dealing with the ‘value my car’ question, it’s clear that many factors influence the market value of your car. The important thing is to do your homework – a task made much easier with online options.
This is a general guideline as how cars get their value, if you want to know exactly how we value our cars read more here.
You can always use our free online car valuation tool that will give you an approximation of the value of your car – CLICK HERE