How to figure out how much your car is worth?

Last updated on November 25th, 2021 at 09:51 am by Bill Tsouvalas

If you’re thinking about upgrading your car, you are wondering how much you’ll get for it if you sold it or traded it in. Cars are constantly depreciating; according to Choice magazine, Aussie cars depreciate 14% each year for the first three years. It’s also common knowledge that a car loses 20% of its value after you drive it off the new car lot! So how can you find out what your car is worth?

Car valuation checklist

Using available market information

In the internet age, if there’s a market for it there’s a website for it – and cars being one of Australia’s obsessions and necessities, sites such as Redbook can provide you with rough estimates of your cars current market value. This free estimate is based on your make, model, and year of manufacture.

However, Redbook and sites like it assume a lot about your car and average out all the bits and pieces that can influence a car’s final sale or trade-in value. If you need to sell your car right away, waiting for a private buyer can “cost” you in terms of your time and how long it sits on the market. A trade-in will earn you less than a private sale, but you gain more in terms of convenience. Regional buyers may not value a hatchback as much as they do a 4×4, so this can also influence the market value.

You may want to look at your insurance premium as they offer valuations based on the “market value,” though this may be the absolute low end of the market, as insurers don’t wish to pay more than necessary if you claim.

What factors into valuations

The age of your car will be the biggest point of how well it’s valued – older cars mean less value. Vintage or rare cars are the opposite, due to their exotic nature. Makes and models can hold value better than others, especially if they are popular. Best sellers such as the Toyota Corolla or Holden Commodore can fetch decent prices despite their age. How much your car has done on the odometer will also influence sale prices; more mileage means more wear and tear, which could mean higher maintenance costs.

Other factors such as standard vs non-standard colours (standard colours sell faster); non-standard features such as GPS or lane departure warning (for example) can increase value for some; whether the car is in good condition and has all of its logbook services helps keep its value.

Aftermarket additions such as chrome rims, spoilers, NOS kits…these might be valuable to some petrolhead devotees, but may hurt your valuation when trading in. Dealers have a hard time selling non-standard “enthusiast” vehicles.

Get an independent valuation

Insurers and mechanics can offer independent valuation services to give you a better understanding of your car’s worth and reassure buyers of roadworthiness and getting a good deal. Ask your insurance company or local mechanic if they offer such a service.

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