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How a Dealership Values your Car before Buying it

How a Dealership Values your Car before Buying it

Used car values are partly subjective and partly down to market forces. Getting an accurate value for any car is down to research and looking dispassionately at the car you have. But how to dealerships do it?


If you’re selling your car to a dealership, you want a fair price. That's why we're going to establish how a dealership values your car before in preparation of buying it.


Valuing your used car


How a dealership values your car car is down to the process they use. In our case, we try to take as much subjectivity out of it as possible to provide fair, repeatable valuations. To do that, we make several checks, including:


  • Current market prices for the make and model
  • Current condition of the car
  • Trim level and any extras
  • Mileage
  • Service history and paperwork


Current market prices for the make and model


The current market price for a given make or model of vehicle has a huge influence over a valuation. As you can imagine, we need to pay fairly for your car so you sell to us but we also need to have an eye on what a customer would pay for it.


We then need to balance the two.


We will check our own records for current values. We will also check those sources we often recommend to you, Carfax, Kelley Blue Book, Auto Trader, eBay, Craigslist and Kijiji.


From there, we can come up with a fair market price for a car like yours.


Current condition of the car


Your car’s condition has an obvious influence over how much it’s worth. The better the condition, the less work we would need to do to prepare it for resale.


Often, we would need to fully recondition the car, valet it inside and out and make minor repairs to dings and scratches.


That’s as well as performing full mechanical checks, a full service and preparation for sale.


All that costs time and money, which is reflected in the offer. The less work we have to do, the more we can afford to pay for your car.


Trim level and any extras


Some vehicle trim levels are more popular than others. Typically, the more luxurious a car is, the more it’s worth. There is also a strong market for sportier trims, Ford’s ST, BMW’s M Sport trims, Mercedes AMG trims and so on.


There is a market for base trim cars, as lots of people want a no frills approach. But higher trims tend to sell better, so are worth more.


This is reflected in the offer we can make. The more sellable a car is, the more we can afford to pay.




Most modern cars could drive half a million miles without breaking a sweat as long as they were serviced and looked after properly. However, most of us still remember when 100,000 miles was a long way.


Anything over that will reduce the car’s value as it will be harder to sell. It may also need more work to bring it up to standard and will certainly need soft parts replaced if they haven’t been recently.


That all feeds into the value.


Service history and paperwork


Finally, there’s service history. A minor impact on a car’s value but an impact nonetheless.


The more service history a car has and the more provenance it has, the more someone will be willing to pay for it. Which will be reflected in the value.


If you’re selling your car to a dealership, that’s how we come up with a value. We hope it helps you understand how it all works!


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Categories: Car Selling