If you feel that now is the right time to move on from your current car and put it on the market, it’s essential to understand how much your vehicle is worth. An accurate valuation can help you list the car for a fair price, ensuring that you get offers and bids for the car and sell it quickly.
Many things can affect the value of your car, plus there are various ways to determine how much your vehicle is worth. Here’s a look at how to find out the value of your car accurately and more details about what influences its worth.
How to value a car?
Nowadays, getting a valuation for your car is super easy, as you can generate a quote online in seconds. This is because countless car valuation tools exist that search your car’s information against a database to determine a price.
To get an online valuation, all you need to do is input your car’s registration plate and up-to-date mileage. This will generate a generic valuation based on the assumption that the vehicle is in good condition.
You can input more information on most valuation tools to help you get an accurate valuation based on your car’s specific condition and history. Our tool uses AI technology to search the current used-car market and analyse it using sophisticated algorithms to offer you an online valuation that is one of the most accurate in the UK based on real-life data.
Another way to value your car is to see what other sellers are listing similar models and makes for, as this can give you a good range of what people are paying for the car and lets you know how competitive the market is.
If you want to get a valuation the old-fashioned way, you can also take your car to a local dealership. Just be aware that the valuation offered may be lower than the value of the vehicle, as they may be looking to buy the car from your for cheap so that they can sell it in the future.
What makes a car valuable?
Various factors can make a car more valuable than another vehicle of the same make and model. If you’re looking to get the most out of your car, try to make sure it matches the following criteria, as it can potentially help you get up to an extra grand for your car.
Condition of the car
If your car is in good condition and has minimal exterior damage and no issues or faults with any of the internal parts, then naturally, the car’s value will be much higher. This is because a vehicle in good condition is less likely to give the new owner any issues, making it more reliable.
The best way to keep a car in good condition is to get it serviced at least once a year – although many manufacturers recommend it twice yearly. Keep a receipt of each service, as this history serves as excellent proof that the car has been well looked after and well-loved, which can help boost value.
Cleanliness of the car
A simple thing such as keeping your car clear of clutter and dirt can make it stand out when trying to sell it, improving the price you can get for it. Having your car cleaned, polished, and waxed can make the exterior look like new, attracting more buyers and allowing you to charge a greater price.
It may seem like a bit of effort, but spending the time to give your car a deep clean, such as vacuuming the interior and wiping down the upholstery, can help bump the car’s value.
Mileage of the car
The fewer miles that a car has driven, the better its value. This is because fewer miles means that the vehicle has undergone less strain and thus wear and tear, meaning that the internal parts are more likely to be in good condition.
The average mileage for a car is around 11,000 to 12,000 miles per year, so if you’re driving less than this, you can expect a better price than average. That said, you may raise suspicion if your mileage is severely lower than it should be according to its age, as this may imply that the mileage clock has been tampered with.
Colour of the car
Specific colours are far more valuable than others, so it’s worth considering your car’s paint job when trying to sell it. As a general rule, neutral, standard colours sell better, as they appeal to a broader audience when compared to cars that have colours that are more of an acquired taste.
Shades such as black, grey, white, and red sell the best as they suit all types of buyers. Depending on the car, you may get better value with a striking colour, although it takes more time to sell the vehicle.
If you’re keen to get the best price for your car, try to throw in some extras while also thinking about the finer details to help you get a good value while also making your car more attractive to a larger audience of buyers. For example, including small things like a flat tyre repair kit, spare wheel, car jack, and other items like this can help you add an extra £100 or so to the car’s value, as it means that the buyer doesn’t have to spend extra to get this stuff once they purchase it.
You can also go the extra mile by replacing worn interior features, such as floor mats, and you can also increase value by fitting new tyres into the car. It’s extra costs, but it will make your car easier to sell at a better price.
What can decrease the value of my car?
Although it’s good that you can do a few things to increase the amount you can get for your car, be aware that other things can also cause the car to lose value and make it less likely to be sold. Here are some things that could be negatively affecting the value of your current vehicle:
If you’ve made changes to your car, such as adding a new body kit, putting on a spoiler, or making some other unofficial changes, then you may be hurting the value of your can, even if you think that the modifications are making your car look or perform better.
This is because modifications can limit the number of potential people interested in your car, as most buyers want something that hasn’t been changed much. This is because modifications can increase the likelihood of issues and mechanical faults, especially if the manufacturer didn’t do the conversion.
To maintain value, keep the car as close to its original design as possible. There are a few expectations to this, such as adding parking sensors, which can help improve the car’s value, as it improves the safety and functionality of the vehicle.
Suppose you have been involved in an accident and sustained any damage from it, including minor cosmetic blemishes. In that case, that history will, unfortunately, affect the car’s value. This is because it makes the car appeal less reliable, as there’s a greater chance that something could have been damaged and inadequately repaired.
Furthermore, if your vehicle has been written off in the past, the value will be drastically reduced if you can sell it at all, even if it’s been repaired by a mechanic.
Although low mileage can increase the value of your car, the opposite is also true and driving more than the yearly average can force your value to plummet, as it suggests that the vehicle is more likely to suffer from wear and tear issues.
Try to limit your mileage if possible. Although this may be impossible for some, such as those who use the car for work or long distances, you can mitigate the drop in value by having a complete service history. Still, even with that, you won’t be able to get as much compared to cars with lower mileage.
The interior of your car is critical and can do a lot to influence the value of your car. It will decrease your car’s worth if it’s not looked after well. Things such as stains from food can slightly lower the value of your car, although the biggest offenders include travelling with a pet without the right protection and smoking in the car.
Your pet can leave odours and smells in the interior, which can make the car a lot harder to sell if it still smells, not to mention that smoking in your vehicle can decolour the interior furniture and also create a smell that can be hard to remove. Do what you can to keep your car constantly clean to get the best value for it.
Car Worth FAQs
The time you decide to sell your car can affect how much you can get from it. The used car market is constantly in flux, and quotes can change based on many factors, including the time of year you’re selling a car.
There’s no definitive time of year that is best to sell your car, and each type of car will excel in different months and periods. The trick is to try and sell your car when it’s most likely in high demand.
For example, a sports car or a convertible car will likely be more valuable during the summer and see greater demand, as this is the time of year when new owners can enjoy the unique functionality of the car. Alternatively, you’ll find that larger, more reliable vehicles such as SUVs become more valuable at the end of summer when families are preparing for the upcoming school routine and the harsher winter conditions.
February and March are also good months to sell to dealerships, as this is when they’ll be looking to restock their lots, meaning that they may be more willing to offer a greater price.
Selling cars online is a great and convenient option, allowing you to sell a car quickly with little hassle. That said, this option may only suit some, depending on your specific priorities.
Although selling online can help you generate cash for the car quickly, the prices you’re offered won’t be as much compared to selling the car privately. If you’re looking for the best price possible for your vehicle and are comfortable being patient to find the best buyer, there may be better choices than selling online.
That said, if you want to get rid of the car quickly, and want to avoid dealing with many negotiations, then selling online, especially to a car buying service, can be a great option.
Car depreciation is a term used to describe how the values of cars drop over time. Cars are well known for losing their value quickly, and if you’re looking to sell your car, you need to be aware of the general rate of deprecation to ensure that you list your vehicle or sale for a fair price that lines up with the rest of the market.
When buying a new car, you should expect the vehicle’s value to drop as much as 10% the second you drive away from the dealership. After this, the car will lose a further 20% at the end of the first year of ownership, meaning it is worth 30% less than what you bought it for.
By the third year of ownership, the car will lose around 60% of its value, meaning that a car that costs £40,000 brand new will only be worth £16,000 after three years if you try to sell it.
Thankfully, used cars depreciate at a slower rate, depending on how old they are, and will level out to lose around 15% of its value each year.
You should be able to sell a car you’re still paying finance on, but only on a few select sale methods. If you’re selling to a dealership or a car buying service online, they’ll be able to pay off the remainder of your debt and then give you the excess amount based on the car’s value.
For example, if you’re due to pay £3,000 in car finance and sell the car for £5,000, you’ll only get £2,000 directly, as the rest of the car’s value is used to pay off the debt on your behalf.
You can only sell a car with outstanding finance if the car’s value is worth more than the debt you owe.
Yes, you should be able to sell a car on someone else’s behalf with the right documentation and permission. Usually, you’ll need written consent to confirm that you can sell the car, and you will likely need something to demonstrate a connection to the car owner. You will also need the owner’s bank details to pay the money into their account.
Typically, you can sell a car for a friend, family member, or business partner. Many buyers will also allow you to sell a vehicle on behalf of a recently passed relative; however, the process is slightly different.
How you choose to sell a car can affect the total amount you can get from the car, so you should think carefully about how you want to part with your vehicle.
You’ll typically get the best price if you sell directly to a buyer looking to own and use the car; however, the problem is that this process can take a lot of time and effort.
You’ll still get a reasonable price from a dealership, although they may offer slightly lower bids as they want to profit from the car when they sell it later.
Car buying websites will typically offer the lowest amount, as they, too, are looking to get a profit when they sell the car at a later date. That said, this method of selling a car is still attractive thanks to its speed of service and convenience.
You can sell a car that has been written off. However, it does depend on the category it received when it was written off. When a vehicle is damaged and written off, it’s put in a category based on the severity of the damage as well as the parts that were impacted.
You can only sell Cat N and Cat S, as the other two categories mean that the car needs to be destroyed and scrapped, as it’s not considered safe for UK roads, even if they’ve been repaired. That said, Cat N and Cat S cars can only be sold if a registered mechanic has fixed them.
If you are selling a car that has been written off, the value of your vehicle will be much lower than the average for the model, as it will be considered less reliable and more expensive to insure.
Most online valuation tools do an excellent job of helping you know the general ballpark you can expect for your car, although there are more accurate ways to get a specific valuation.
This is because many online valuation tools use assumptions to generate a quote. A lot of tools will assume that your vehicle is in excellent condition when fetching your valuation, and it will be unlikely that your used car meets the expectations.
This can lead to many online valuation tools offering you values that are too high. That said, many valuation tools allow you to input more specific details of your car’s condition and history, which can be helpful in building a more accurate online valuation.
Our valuation tool uses AI to generate a valuation and uses real-time market data to determine how much you can expect for your car. Being the first valuation tool to use AI, our valuations are one of the most accurate on the market.
When you part-exchange your vehicle, you’re essentially using the value of your current car to get money off the amount you have to pay for a new one. Part exchanging is convenient, as it merges two separate and potentially time-consuming transactions into one, making it easier.
That said, you do pay the price for this convenience, as many dealerships offer a lower part-exchange price when compared to if you sold the car privately, so it’s only a good option if you need to get a replacement car quickly.
If you’re not looking to sell your car immediately but know you will in the future and what to do what you can to keep your vehicle valuable, there are a few things that you can try to do.
The first and most obvious is to try to keep your mileage low. Not only does this limit the risk of wear and tear damage to parts, but a car with lower mileage than the average for its age is much more desirable and is something people will pay more for.
In addition, try to make only a few modifications to the car, as these can actually make the car harder to sell, as most people want a generic, factory-set car. You should also stick with the original paintwork, especially if it has a neutral colour scheme.
Finally, another great thing you can do is ensure that you get your car serviced regularly. A consistent and regur service history can help you maintain the value of your vehicle, as it will show potential owners that it’s in good condition and has a clear history.