Car Valuations

Whether you are looking to buy a vehicle or to sell yours on the open market, there are a number of factors which need to be considered. The age of the vehicle, the recipient (individual versus dealer), the make and model and its scarcity are some of the most common concerns. However, the most important variable is determining its market value (also known as the resale value). This is actually a bit more difficult than it first appears. To take the guesswork out of the equation, let us now take a look at the factors you need to take into account in order to determine a reliable figure.

Official Sources

Before we get into any intricacies, we first need to point out that official reports tend to form the backbone of vehicle prices. There is perhaps none more important than a periodical known as Kelly Blue Book. This resource is regularly updated and tracks various metrics such as consumer sales and auctions in order to determine the price of any car. Two other sources are the National Automotive Dealer's Association (NADA in the United States) and Edmunds (America as well as the United Kingdom and Europe). In other words, the majority of how your vehicle is priced will depend upon the quotations provided by these three massive organisations.


Mileage is another important metric. It should only stand to reason that higher mileages are associated with depreciation and wear and tear. In fact, it has been shown that the value of a car can drop as much as 40 per cent if it has over 100,000 miles on its odometer. This brings us to our next point.


The main issue with condition is that it tends to be much more subjective in nature. Keep in mind that condition and mileage may not always correlate with one another. For example, you could own a 1967 Chevrolet with more than 150,000 miles and yet, it is considered to be in pristine condition. Many buyers would still be willing to pay a top price for this car. On the other hand, a relatively new vehicle with less than 30,000 miles may be in poor shape. Even with this low mileage, you should never expect to receive large proposals. The condition of a vehicle can be broken down into two categories. The first revolves around issues such as:

  • Exterior damage (scratches, faded paint, a cracked windscreen, etcetera).
  • Interior conditions (seats, dashboard, functional controls and climate controls)
  • The undercarriage (tires, shocks, brakes and any visible rust).

So, it is a good idea to give your car a “once-over” and correct any issues before you decide to place it on the market. The other option would be to advertise it as-is and take a cut in regards to the profit that you will walk away with.


A third category which is often overlooked revolves around the options that are included. While these can sometimes be looked at from a hit-or-miss perspective, there are some amenities which tend to fare better than others. These include diesel engines, a moon roof, anti-lock brakes and all-wheel drive. As all of these alternatives make the driving experience more pleasant, they will normally be factored into the pricing of the vehicle in question. There can also be some instances when an automatic transmission is considered to be a bonus. However, this is generally not the case with custom vehicles or sports cars. Manual transmissions tend to enhance the overall driving experience in such cases.

Having said this, we should finally point out that personalised cars can drive down the value. After-market options should be removed if at all possible, for the average buyer is normally not certain of the quality surrounding this work. So, they could offer a lower price as opposed to if these additions were never performed. Keep this in mind before “tricking out” any vehicle; you could be hurt in the long run.

These are some of the main factors which will influence the ultimate value of your car. Performing the adequate amount of research will enable you to enjoy an edge during the sales process.