It’s getting to that time – you’re thinking that your current car isn’t cutting it any more, and you want to make a change or even just get rid of one of the household motors.
Getting the best money for a car is all about being prepared. In this article we’ll look at the most common questions about car valuation, including how to value your car easily online, and what factors contribute to a car’s value.
The short answer to that last one is that the car’s age, mileage, condition, history and specification are all important to consider, as well as some other factors. Read on below to find out everything you need to know about valuing your car so you can get a good price when you sell or trade in.
Why value my car?
If you don’t know how much your car is worth, you are more likely to be taken advantage of by someone who does have all the information. You don’t want to be put in a position where you are trading in a car you don’t know the value of, because any clever dealer is going to maximise their profit by giving you as little as they can get away with.
Plus, you can sell your car privately to get more money than you would with a trade-in. This might let you get into a better new model than you could otherwise, and all because you simply improved your knowledge of the situation.
How do you value a car online?
There are many free online car valuation services that let you put a value on pretty much any car. For instance, Parkers ‘Value My Car’ tool is one good, free option. You need to know some basic details about the car in order to get an accurate result. The number plate is the most important, then you’ll want the make, model and age of the car plus the mileage. Other details like condition and MOT history can give you an even more accurate picture.
All you need to do is give the details and you’ll get an approximate value very quickly
What about if my car is a top-spec model?
Yes, specification matters when it comes to value. A higher-spec car that cost more when new will be worth a bit more when second-hand but it’s not proportional – and some optional extras that cost thousands when new make no difference to values at all. As time goes on, optional extras start to matter less in the car’s value, too.
Roughly, optional extras are worth about 50-60% of what they cost when new in the first year and that drops to about 25% after five years. After ten yours they’re barely a factor at all.
This means it’s important to think about which options you add when buying a new car, as some are worth more than others when selling on. Metallic paint and air-con are often good bets to make a car easier to sell, but things like sat-nav and sunroofs aren’t often worth it in terms of resale value.
Some valuation services will tell you the value with options included and others won’t, or it may be a paid service.
What other factors affect my car’s value?
The main factors in your car’s value are what car it is, how old it is and what the mileage is. Mileage is a big one – buyers are wary of high-mileage (100,000+) cars and don’t pay nearly as much as for low-mileage examples.
It’s all to do with wear and tear, as high mileage cars will need more replacement parts and maintenance. Other factors include MOT history – if it’s failed in the past then it may fail again, which buyers clearly don’t want – and service history. If you’ve missed vital services, the value will drop.
Damage is another big factor – even a low mileage car will look neglected if it’s covered in parking scrapes and dents. Bodywork damage costs a lot to repair, even small scratches, so buyers tend to steer clear of bashed up motors.
What about Cat S or Cat N?
Category S and Category N cars will be worth about 10 to 30% less than clean equivalents. This is because the Cat S and Cat N markers show that the car has been crashed or damaged, which could mean additional future problems even if they’ve been repaired.