Vehicle Pricing Sources

Before you decide to sell your old car or truck, you'll need to determine its worth. This will help you get fair value for your vehicle and attract potential buyers with a reasonable listing.

To obtain an accurate price for your used vehicle, you'll need to do a little research first. Pricing information is most commonly found through:

  • Online resources.
  • Dealer sources.
  • Banks.
  • Other auto guides.

Online Resources

Determining a vehicle's worth can be accomplished easily by using a pricing guide from a reputable online source.

A few sites you'll want to take a look at as you determine your vehicle's fair market value include:

  • Autotrader
    • Uses data from internal listings.
    • Compares your vehicle to other similar make and models in your area by using:
      • Average asking prices from private sellers and dealers in your area.
      • Number of sellers with similar vehicles in your area.
  • Edmunds
    • Uses data from their own inventory of used cars for price comparisons.
    • Offers these services for sellers to help determine accurate pricing:
      • Vehicle appraiser
        • Uses data from final sale prices of dealers and private parties that have sold similar vehicles from around the country.
      • Market value calculator
        • Uses average sale prices in your area.
  • Kelley Blue Book
    • Uses surveys from nationwide vehicle sales to calculate market value.
    • Provides data for:
      • Retail value.
      • Trade-in value.
      • Private party pricing.
    • Known as an industry leader for accurate new and used vehicle pricing.
  • National Auto Dealers Association (NADA) Guides
    • Known for wide variety of pricing guides for vehicles such as:
      • Used cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs.
      • Classic cars and trucks.
      • Collectibles and exotic cars.
      • Boats.
      • Motorcycles.
      • RVs.
      • ATVs, watercraft, and snowmobiles.
    • Offers hard copy editions in addition to online data.

Dealer Sources

While a private seller may only be looking for vehicle value estimates every few years, dealers are always researching data in order to price vehicles accurately. Information dealers commonly search for include:

  • Pricing of similar vehicles at other local dealers.
  • Trade-in values.
  • Loan values.

The following resources are commonly used by dealers to get further data concerning a vehicle's value:

  • Black Book.
    • Requires a subscription service.
    • Has online and print resources.
    • Tracks trade-in values for a wide range of used cars and trucks.
  • DriverSide.
    • Similar to Black Book.
    • Estimates include:
      • Basic pricing comparison information.
      • Car depreciation values over time.
      • Calculations for the best time to sell specific vehicles.
      • Alert services that notify owners when vehicle value drops.

Bank Estimates

Banks can be another excellent resource to use for vehicle pricing. Individual banks use a variety of sources to appraise a vehicle's value. Estimates provided by local banks will help determine:

  • Loan values.
    • A loan rate can be a good indicator of the current market for your vehicle.
  • Wholesale values.
    • This is the price that dealers pay for cars.
    • Quotes for wholesale cars are usually given based on vehicle condition, such as:
      • Rough.
      • Average.
      • Clean.
      • Extra clean.
  • Residual values.
    • This is how much a vehicle depreciates.
    • Often used to determine vehicle worth at the end of a lease.
    • Automotive Lease Guide is one source for determining residual value and can be used to calculate your vehicle's worth.

Other Auto Guides Available

If you're looking for additional resources than those mentioned above, there are plenty of other options available. Two good sources that require a subscription but provide an unbiased quote with no connections to dealers are:

  • Consumer Reports.
    • Provides a wide variety of information for used and new vehicles, including vehicle pricing.
  • VMR Auto Guide.
    • Independent resource with no affiliation to other organizations.
    • Uses price points gathered from multiple sources to provide well-rounded data.
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