If you want to know what your used car is worth, check out the Kelly Blue Book ,or NADAguides.com, these guides will help you determine its fair market value. The Black Book, Blue Book and NADA an industry guide to used car values, as well as new. I’ve heard the Blue book is more realistic in its’ prices. But do your homework and know what your vehicle is worth and what you will take for it.
Used car books like the Kelly Blue Book or Black Book include pricing usually for the last ten years. If your used car is more than ten years old, a used car value might be a bit more difficult in determining. Most dealers won’t give much for high mileage vehicles , damaged vehicles or vehicles older then 10 years UNLESS they are collectors items, antique or classic vehicles. However if your vehicle is a a special edition, or has a special interest market you might be able to sell the vehicle privately outright for more then a trade in. I know in my area of Florida , late model ( 1987-1993) 5 liter Mustang’s in excellent shape and NON modified command a premium. Be it GT or LX, coupe, hatchback or convertible they bring in a good amount of private interest. Where as taking say maybe a 1993 LX 5 litter V8 Coupe to a car lot for a trade in might bring about 1500 -2000 dollars, more or less.
A wise car dealer once said he could price a car high, so that it might sit for two years on his lot before someone paid that price.Or he could lower the price and sell it within two months, two weeks, or two hours! It all depends on how long you can or want to wait.
If you go into the dealer and seem desperate they will reel you in hook,line and sinker. Know what your car is worth, know what you owe on it and what your willing to take for it in trade. Cars do depreciate in value so don’t be shocked that your once expensive vehicle is now worth less then half of what you paid for it! Many vehicles depreciate as soon as they drive off the lot. Some makes and models seem to retain their values better then others, Corvettes, any high end auto Ferrari,Maserati, etc. Almost any Harley Davidson motorcycle. Some vehicles are apt to decline quickly, almost any Japanese Sport Bike ( Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki) seem to decline rather quickly as well as Ford, Chevrolet and Chrysler/Dodge baseline models. I.E. Ford Focus, Ford Escort,Chevy Aveo, Dodge Neon, Plymouth Breeze. When you buy try to visualize how long you would like to keep the car ( hopefully as long as it is reliable and serves your purpose). The average yearly mileage on a vehicle is 10 to 12,000 miles, in todays’ day and age that is an outdated number and way behind the times. Some vehicles engines don’t “break in” until AFTER 50-60 thousand miles! And when you buy a car , the AVERAGE lifespan of a vehicle under normal wear and tear, and average conditions is approximately 10 years. Drive train, engine, transmission, rear axle is also approximately 10 years. So educate yourself…