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What's My Vehicle Worth? How to Accurately Value Your Trade

Factors to Consider When Determining the Value of Your Car

Trading in your car is a huge decision. Since you can only sell or trade in your car once, you want to make sure that you’re getting the absolute best deal on the car that you can. In order to do that, you’ll need to accurately determine its value. It’s important to keep in mind that value is a relative term. Some of your car’s worth will be determined by black and white factual information, while the rest is going to be determined by external factors, such as the current market.

The following breaks down what factors to consider when establishing the value of your used vehicle. This won’t get you to the exact penny, but it should get you within a fairly accurate range.

Year, Make, Model, and Mileage

value your trade in for a used car

These four pieces of information will effectively narrow down your car’s value to a range that should be pretty accurate, however, you can count on some fluctuations as you provide more information about the car. The mileage especially can impact your car’s value since it equates to use. For instance, a new car with over 100,000 miles on it is not going to be considered new anymore.

Zip Code

It can be easy to forget about how a zip code can affect the value of a vehicle. Why would a Honda Civic be worth any more or less in a Kansas City zip code compared to another city such as Austin or Portland? The truth is that your zip code won’t drastically change the value of the car, but it does factor in. For instance, a 4x4 truck may be more valuable in a place like Denver compared to a city like Los Angeles due to trucks being in higher demand for snow driving purposes.


Cars are sold in tiers, starting with a base model, and then ramping up to a luxury or special edition. Obviously, the more luxurious the car is, the more features and benefits it’s going to have. The more features and benefits your vehicle has, the more it’s going to be valued on the open market. For instance, a Mercedes C250 sedan (the base) won’t be nearly as valuable as a C 63 AMG edition, even if they’re the same year, mileage, and condition.

Equipment and Luxury Upgrades

Does your vehicle have Bluetooth? Does it have a custom high-end sound system that’s well beyond the factory standard? Are the wheels/rims customized? Have you upgraded anything under the hood? These are all questions you should be asking yourself when determining the value of your car.

If you put in any of your own money for customized upgrades or otherwise improving the car with new features, then you’ve effectively added value to it. Make sure to factor these in.


The condition of the car breaks down into two categories: cosmetic and mechanical.

Cosmetic condition refers to anything regarding the look of the car. Is the paint in good condition or are there scratches? Are there any dents in the body? Are the windows and lenses free of any chips or cracks? Any flaw in the car is going to decrease the value to some degree. How much is determined on how much money that flaw costs to fix. For instance, a simple scratch in the paint won’t hurt you too much, but a big dent in the driver’s side door will.

The other part of the condition is mechanical, which refers to anything that the car needs to drive. That’s going to include the engine, brakes, alternator, transmission, and everything else under the hood and between the tires. Again, the value of the car will decrease depending on the amount of mechanical fixes you need and whether or not it’s been involved in any accidents. If you’re not sure what your mechanical issues are, you may consider getting an inspection done.

Find Out What Your Vehicle’s Worth at Auto Bank

If you think your vehicle would make a good trade-in and want us to help determine the value, get in touch with the team at Auto Bank. We have a very simple form you can fill out online that will quickly give you a preliminary estimate. Once we have this info, we will get back to your right away with a range of how much your vehicle is worth. Of course, you’ll need to come down and see us in person for a final appraisal, but this is a great jumping off point.

We can also help you choose your new or used vehicle, and have years of experience with working with all types of people at different credit levels. Auto Bank is a buy here pay here dealership, meaning you can leave the showroom floor with your car immediately after making a payment. We don’t care about your credit rating just as long as we know you can make your monthly car payment. We make car buying easy for anyone.

Contact us today at one of our two convenient locations.