Getting a new car is an exciting experience, regardless if it’s a brand new one or used. But before you let your emotions get the better of you, you should know that the buying process isn’t easy, especially if you’re looking to go the second-hand route. The same can be said if you already have a car that you want to get rid of in order to give way to the one you’ll be buying. You can’t determine the value of a car you’re buying (or selling) based solely on your opinion or even on the opinion of someone you trust. In short, the value of your car should be determined objectively. You don’t want to buy or sell a car more than it’s worth. You also don’t want to price it too low, particularly when you’re selling it because you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone willing to buy it.
So, how do you figure out how much your car is worth? This guide should help you get a more accurate picture of what to expect which provides you with some leverage when it comes to negotiations.
● Check dealerships
Before you begin calculating your car’s worth, you should get a general idea of how much similar cars are worth. You can visit local dealers or websites to get a fair estimation of a car’s private sale value, a dealer’s price, and the car’s trade-in value based on its make and model. Aside from getting your car’s value, visiting dealerships (whether local or online) can provide you with some insight on the current demand for your type of vehicle. Newer vehicles typically get a higher price. If it’s in demand, then you might get an even better value. Of course, if the supply is already high (there are several similar vehicles already being sold), then the value of your car will go down.
● Define your car’s condition
After you learn the value of a car with the same make and model as yours, the next step you need to take is to take a good look at the condition of your vehicle. Inspect the exterior of the car. Are there any chips, scratches, or other obvious body wear? Are the tires properly inflated? Do they feature uneven wear patterns?
Pro tip: your custom wheels can potentially increase the resale value of your car, especially if the stock wheels have worn out.
Pop the trunk and check if there are signs of leaks or problems with the lock. Once you’re done with the exterior of your car, check the interior. Inspect the doors, if they open and close properly. The same goes for the windows. Check the seats, the steering wheel, the A/C, and the transmission. Check if all the parts inside your car are in good shape.
Pro tip: make sure that you have your maintenance records on hand. A vehicle that undergoes regular maintenance sells for more money.
Once you’ve done a thorough inspection, rate your car’s condition based on the following – excellent, good, average, and poor. Your car is considered in excellent shape if it has an engine that runs well, all the tires match with visible tread, and there are no visible flaws on the exterior of the car. A car is considered in good condition if the paint has minimal scratches and dings, no major mechanical problems, and the tires are in good shape.
A car is considered in average condition if it requires a few small fixes such as faded exterior paint, scratches and dings, and a lack of maintenance records. Some may feature an interior that has a worn, faded appearance. Cars in this condition will require a bit of investment to fix.
One that is in poor condition requires more than just a little bit of money to fix. It requires a lot of reconditioning like dents, rusting parts, tires in need of replacement, and several mechanical problems. Cars in this condition will likely fail state and local inspection.
Aside from a physical inspection, you need to check the mileage as it can affect the value of your car. A lot of people associate a car’s true age based on how many kilometers it has traveled and a good vin check would be a must to verify information. The more kilometers on the odometer, the less valuable the vehicle.
Where you are selling your car also has an impact on the value of your car. Mid-priced family sedans can be found everywhere which means you have more competition. Specialized vehicles can be sold for higher prices depending on the location. For example, a sports car or convertible would be more popular in a location with a warmer climate or along the coast. A four-wheel drive SUV tends to do better in areas that get lots of snow such as the Northeast.
● Options and Add-ons
Generally, options or extra features tend to be a hit or miss as every buyer is different. But there are some extra features that can help boost the value of your car such as all-wheel drive or panoramic sunroof. The lack of some features, on the other hand, can also affect the value of a car. For example, if a vehicle does not have power windows and door locks, its value will be lower. This is because most cars these days have these features.