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How to estimate the value of a used car?


While estimating the cost of a used vehicle a number of essential factors always should be taken into account. But even though, car value calculated based on what actually car worth after applying depreciation rates, supply and demand are two major aspects which affect actual dollar amount the vehicle can be sold for. All suggested retail prices are pointless, if you simply unable to sell the auto sticking to some averages or recommended costs.
With all the simplicity of online purchases many might assume it doesn’t matter where the car located, but shipping the vehicle is not the same as delivering a 6 lbs package. Used car market not the same everywhere and often it doesn’t really make sense to purchase 15% cheaper car thousand miles away and spend all savings on shipping.
With all distinctions and particularity of a used car market there are still some basic criteria of estimating the cost of a secondhand car.

Car make and model

Oftentimes we pay for a brand, sometimes for luxury and prestige, in many cases for reliability and safety, but it is impossible that all similar in class vehicles have same price tag. Certain cars lose 40% - 45% of its value in the first five years, while others only 30% - 35%, but it doesn’t really mean that most affected by depreciation autos are poorly made or unreliable. If there is no buyer for a particular car make and model, the cost will go down and there might be a number of reasons why customers unwilling to pay top price for the specific vehicle.

How old is the car?

Age of a car will impact the value dramatically, but statement “the older car the cheaper it cost” is not always true. Well maintained in good mechanical condition 8 years old vehicle might have more value compare to 7 years old car with multiple problems.

How many miles does the car have?

Theoretically you have better chances to sell the car with 90,000 miles faster and more expensive compare to a vehicle with 150,000 miles, but in practice it all depends. If the car is over 10 years old the actual mileage won’t affect the cost significantly. Old vehicles are already lost most of its value because of age, not because they were driven too much.

Was the car involved in an accident?

If you are trying to sell a car with replaced rear bumper it normally won’t raise any issues or impact the price tremendously. Contradictory getting rid of a vehicle with a salvage title is not that easy, and you’d better be realistic about defining the amount someone is willing to pay for such car.

Overall vehicle condition

It is no questions that overtime car exterior and interior will lose their freshness but difference in price between 12 years old vehicle with normal wear and spotless shiny same age auto is minimal if any at all. But major scratches or dents might be an obstacle to get a top dollar for a car.

Mechanical problems

Always take into account that very low percent of drivers will be even interested in purchasing a car with any mechanical problems even for the very attractive price. You might get much better deal and sell the vehicle faster if all issues will be eliminated prior to test driving the car with a potential buyer.

What is additional equipment was installed on the vehicle?

Leather heated seats, navigation system or sunroof certainly will make a difference while defining the cost of a car, but mileage, age and mechanical condition of a vehicle are by far more important parameters of a used car cost determination.