How to check the value of cars to buy or sell: smart guide

How to check the value of cars

We outline how to check the value of cars, so you understand the realistic market price when buying or selling a vehicle yourself.

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It can be tricky to understand the value of cars, especially when you’re trying to get one off your hands. The value of a vehicle is something that you need to understand in order to get the best deal when you sell it, or when you a buying, but it’s difficult to do because in how to check the value of cars, there are a lot of different factors that contribute to a car’s value. 

How to check the value of cars for buying or selling

We’re going to explore some of the ways for how to check a car’s value, so that you can get a good estimate of your vehicle’s worth in order to sell it for the right amount. Alternatively, the information below should help you keep a clear eye out for cars that you can buy, ensuring that you aren’t paying too much or that you can snag the best deals when you come by them. Let’s get started:

Understanding the value of cars

The value of your car is going to depend on a number of things. First, the make and model of the vehicle is the primary contributor to its value. 

Beyond condition, features, or anything else, the type of car that you have will determine a good deal of its worth. That said, there hundreds of other factors that could increase or decrease a vehicle’s value.  Let’s take a look at things that contribute to value. 

1. Damages

A car with significant damages is naturally going to be worth a lot less. This is even true if the damages have been repaired and the car is supplemented with aftermarket parts that repaired to issues. 

Even if the car is still in great shape after the repairs, it probably won’t be with as much considering that it has experienced damages in the past and it’s not exactly as it was right off of the lot. 

The only time damages can lead to an increase in the car’s value is if the repairs allow you to upgrade different features of the vehicle that could add to its value. 

2. Aftermarket Features

Naturally, any expensive changes to the vehicle could increase its value, although there isn’t a one-to-one relationship between investing in parts and getting your money out of it. 

Cars are typically not great investments in this way, unless you buy the thing, improve it, and let it sit in a garage for thirty years while it accrues some value. Even then, though, sitting isn’t great for a vehicle and you might experience some rust and degradation. 

That said, you can try and boost the value of your car right before selling it with some aftermarket additions that might sweeten the pot a little bit. 

3. Vehicle History

Another part of the equation for you as you try to identify a vehicle’s worth is to look at the VIN number and see what the car has gone through in the past. 

A VIN number can put you in touch with a lot of information about the vehicle that you weren’t aware of before. In fact, you might not know a lot about your vehicle if the previous owner wasn’t totally forthright in the sale. 

Things like damages, repairs, use in crime, and more can all be seen in a VIN check. If your car has a particularly long history of damages and repairs, it’s probably going to be worth a little bit less than it otherwise would be. 

4. General Condition of Exterior and Interior

Finally, it’s key to note in how to check the value of a car, that just because a car doesn’t have significant damages doesn’t mean it’s in amazing shape. An older car might be in rough shape but still runs relatively well. 

The slow erosion of leather on the interior, the pain along the wheel well, and the decline of literally any other part of the vehicle could be a cause for concern when it comes to value. 

Generally, the newer the car looks and is maintained, the more valuable it will be. Nobody wants to hop into a freshly-bought vehicle and find that there were cigarette butts put out in the seats and the steering wheel is ratty and difficult to use. 

The nice thing about this from the buyer’s point of view, though, is that there are typically things you can do to repair the interior of a car and make it worth a little more. This is kind of akin to buying a shoddy house and repairing it to accumulate a little more value. 

You might be able to find a really great deal or two on vehicles that otherwise run really well, but could just use a little tender loving care when it comes to the cosmetic things like seats and paint jobs. 

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Using Car Sites

The most common way that people get a read on the value of their car or a car that they’re planning to buy, though, is through the help of websites that catalog vehicle worth based on different factors. 

This is a simple way to get a general idea of the value of your car so that you can put it on the market at prices that are on par with what most people would expect to pay. You simply enter in different details about your car that play a part in its worth and the website will produce an approximate value for you. 

Most people on either end of the buyer/seller spectrum are using these sites to see car value, so a lot of times these sites begin to become the determiners of value. Even if you think you have a pretty good idea of the value of your car or a car you’re buying, it’s a smart final move in how to check the value of cars to run its details through a site like Kelly Blue Book to see what the market price is.