Estimating The Value Of Your Car  

What’s your car worth?

The short answer is: It’s worth whatever you can get for it.

The Kelley Blue Book value is a nice guideline for what you can expect to get off of your pre-owned car, but it’s only one factor that goes into determining your car’s value. Here are some other things one kind out while taking a defensive driving course to consider when pricing your car:

Your Car’s Condition

We’re not just talking about the condition of the engine, but the condition of the body. Does it look pretty? Does it take good photos? If it looks like a piece of junk, buyers will be less confident in the purchase, even if the engine is in perfect condition. If the car looks junky, some basic cosmetic repairs can go a long way towards bringing the price up.

Where You’re Selling

If folks are broke in your neck of the woods, then you need to set realistic expectations for what your neighbors are willing to pay. Your best bet here is to make sure that your car is listed somewhere where people with money will be reading the ads. If the average rent in your neighborhood is $400 a month, then a $2,000 car is going to look a lot more expensive to your neighbors than it will in a neighboring city, where rent is closer to $1,000 a month.

Your Negotiating Skills

If it’s easy to talk you down on your asking price, then you’re going to get talked down. If you don’t want to spend the next month studying the art of the deal, here’s a simple trick for negotiating: If you’re not going to get what you want, just walk away. As long as your asking price is reasonable, another buyer will come along sooner or later. Don’t let yourself feel cornered or desperate to unload the car.


If you look in the local ads and see cars of a similar make and model, in similar condition, going for $1300-$1600, then that’s a safe range in which to sell your car. You might get a little more if you can offer a better deal like a cash=back guarantee or if you’re willing to deliver the car yourself.


The saving grace for many a car-seller is patience. Maybe you can’t get very much for your car right now, but if you’re willing to wait for the right buyer, if you’re willing to wait for the market to improve your chances of getting your full value for the sale? As long as you don’t need to sell the car right this instant, you can ultimately set a price much closer to what you want.

It can be a frustrating when you’re not getting every penny you feel you’re owed out of a sale. But you have to be realistic about what your car is worth. There are about a bazillion used cars out there, it’s a buyer’s market. Unless you’re selling something that’s rare or something that’s in impeccably good condition, your buyer is probably not coming to you because what you’re selling is so amazing, but because it’s a decent car at a decent price, and “decent price” is something that will be determined by the local market and by the buyer themselves. The Blue Book actually has relatively little say in what a car is worth. Maybe your 1998 Ford Taurus is valued at $5,000, but if your neighbor’s selling an identical car for half that, then your car is worth half that.

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