Car value check – what is my car worth?

A brief guide to car valuations and the factors that affect the value of your vehicle.

Published: 21st May 2020

Whether you’re buying a car or thinking of selling your current car, knowing what it is actually worth is invaluable in helping you to negotiate the best price.

A quick Google search gives a number of websites offering free valuations – Auto Trader, Confused, Parkers and What Car? just to name a few.

Why do I need a valuation?

If you’re buying a car a valuation tells you whether the seller is asking a fair price and whether there is any room for negotiation. This will vary depending upon whether you’re buying from a garage, auction or a private seller and most online valuations take this into account – dealers tend to charge a premium, although you do get more protection as a consumer.

When selling a car, a valuation can help you to decide whether to sell or part exchange the car through a garage or sell privately. Knowing what your car is worth in either scenario will help you to sell it faster and avoid the potential buyer trying to negotiate a price which is too low.

Different values from different sites?

Each company can use a different source for its valuation – the main ones in the UK are Glass’s Guide, Parkers and CAP HPI – so you might find that you get different figures.

What can affect the value of my car?

The main factors which will determine how much your car is worth are age and mileage – generally speaking the older a car and/or the more miles on the clock, the less it will be worth. An exception is where a car is a rare model or regarded as a classic. These can increase in value and will require a more specialist valuation than the tools online.

Other factors which can affect a vehicle’s value can be found below:

Options/Modifications
Options/Modifications

Factory fitted options, like reversing cameras and upgraded multimedia or sat nav systems can make a car more desirable and fetch a higher price.

Aftermarket modifications can actually reduce a car’s value – not everyone will want a bigger exhaust, or an engine retune and these things can make a car more difficult or more expensive to insure.

Colour
Colour

White black and grey cars are generally more popular – grey cars made up one fifth of all car registrations in 2018! – and hold their value better.

Bright colours like green, yellow and orange are less popular with used car buyers although some smaller cars suit brighter colours and make them more desirable – think city cars, like the VW Up in blue or the Citroen C1 in purple. This means less or no impact on value. Anything bigger than a city car tends to have a better residual value if it is in a more sober colour, especially if coupled with metallic paint.

Condition
Condition

A used car in excellent showroom condition will always fetch the most when you’re trying to sell it. However, minor wear and tear (a small scratch to a bumper or barely noticeable stain on a seat) doesn’t tend to have too much of an impact on the car’s value and is par for the course on a second hand vehicle.

More significant damage can reduce the value so you might want to consider repairing any dents or scratches that are more noticeable.

MOT Test
Service history/MOT

A car with a full service history and up to date MOT (and the paperwork to back it up) will appeal much more to a buyer, as it gives peace of mind that something won’t immediately go wrong. If there are gaps in servicing or an expired MOT the price will be affected, as it won’t look as reliable.

You might also find that, for example, a BMW service by a BMW garage holds it value better than if it had been serviced by a non-branded garage.

Time of year
Time of year

Car values are not always linear and something as simple as time of year can cause fluctuations. For example, selling a convertible in the height of summer will generally mean it fetches more than selling in the middle of December, and the opposite is often true for a four wheel drive vehicle.

Other things which can affect a car’s value are the number of previous owners (the more owners the less it’s worth) and if there are any parts which don’t work as they should as these can be used to bargain down the price.

Published: 21st May 2020
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