How much is my car worth?

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There comes a time to part with our cars. Sometimes it’s a painful to part with a beloved car, and other times it’s a sigh of relief. Still more, there’s a point in life where you want the most car for your limited amount of funds. Here’s a short list of sites that help appraise a vehicle’s worth. It’s important to note that what a car is appraised for, and what it actually sells for are sometimes two totally different numbers. For starters, let’s look at how to appraise a vehicle. After that we’ll take a look at what the vehicle is actually selling for.

 Kelley Blue Book

 The pros:

Most of us have heard about Kelly Blue Book (KBB). When selling a car, saying “The car is valued at ‘some value’ on Kelly Blue Book.”, usually holds weight when negotiating. KBB’s website is easy to navigate as well. They also provide ‘specs’ on the vehicle being appraised (MPG, Drivetrain, HP, etc.), which makes KBB a one-stop shop when writing an ad for your vehicle.

 The cons:

There isn’t a breakdown of what the additional features on a vehicle’s cost. This may be helpful when negotiating a price with a heckler. For example, “Well, the traction control added another $100 to the vehicle’s appraisal, plus it’s an important safety feature.”. Be careful though, as this argument works both ways.


 The pros:

Edmunds does a good job breaking out what the additional features cost, even down to the color. Edmunds is probably second best when quoting a do-it-yourself online appraisal to a potential buyer or seller.

 The cons:

Edmunds only displays the vehicle’s current condition that you’ve set on a previous screen. This can be difficult when you’re trying to ball-park with an older vehicle. KBB provides multiple values on one-screen, allowing a more complete picture.

Nada Guides

 The pros:

NADA Guides provides Cost to Own estimates, specifications, and safety specifications (similar to KBB) for certain vehicles. The specification list is a better snapshot (on one page) than KBB (which spans across multiple tabs).

The cons:

The site is somewhat tedious to navigate through when trying to select a vehicle, but overall not terrible. The cost break-down includes some itemized features or vehicle upgrades, but not a comprehensive list. When negotiating price, most people probably haven’t heard of NADA Guides, so it’s best to back-up the price with KBB or Edmunds.



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