What’s My Car Worth? Try This Car Value Calculator.

Use our car value calculator to discover your car's true worth. Unleash your vehicle's full potential and drive your way to a profitable sale.
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A valid VIN or License plate is required to list your car on PrivateAuto. Learn more

What Determines the Value of My Car?

Factors influencing your vehicle’s worth include its original market value, age, mileage, condition, and more. Here’s a more exhaustive list of valuation factors for used cars.

1. Private party vs dealer: you can usually sell your car for more money when you bypass the middleman and sell directly to the end user.
2. Age: older vehicles tend to have lower values due to depreciation. For example, a 2015 vehicle is probably worth less than its 2020 counterpart.
3. Mileage: cars with lower mileage typically have higher values, as they have less wear and tear. A vehicle with 30,000 miles is likely to be worth more than the same model with 100,000 miles.
4. Condition: a well-maintained car with no dents, scratches, or mechanical issues will be worth more, all other factors being equal, than one with visible damage or sketchy car maintenance history.
5. Make and model: the popularity and reputation of a car's make and model can impact its value. For example, a Ford Bronco will tend, on average, to have a higher resale value relative to its purchase price than a Cadillac Escalade.
6. Market demand: the current demand for your specific car in the market can influence its value. A convertible might be worth more in the summer, while an all-wheel drive SUV could be more desirable in the winter months if you live in the northern half of the US.
7. Vehicle history: accident history, number of previous owners, and service records can significantly affect a car's value. A vehicle with a clean history will be more valuable than one with a questionable past.
8. Features and options: upgrades such as leather seats, a sunroof, advanced safety systems, or optional equipment can increase the value of your car.
9. Warranty coverage: a car that is still under warranty should sell for more money than a comparable car that isn't.

Where Can I Sell My Car for the Most Money?

If you’re selling your car, follow these tips to get the most money out of the deal.

Avoid Dealerships

If you’re looking to sell your used car for top dollar, steer clear of brokers (dealers) and go directly to the end user. Dealing directly with a private party eliminates middleman expenses.

Brokers and Dealers

Here are some of the brokers who will be eager to buy your car or have you trade it in. In the majority of cases, they’ll be offering considerably less than you can get selling it yourself.

Local dealerships

Dealers Take Value Away From Seller and Buyer Alike

Dealers need to make a living, and they do so by buying your car (or allowing you to trade it in) for as little as possible and then selling it for as much as possible.

Retail Value vs Trade-In Value

Retail value is the price a dealer expects to sell a car for, while trade-in value is the price a dealer is willing to offer you when trading in your car for another one. Trade-in values are lower than retail values because dealers need to make money to cover their overhead costs, profit margins, and potential reconditioning expenses.

Sell to the End Buyer

Selling your car directly to a private buyer allows you to take full control of the sales process. You can set your own price and negotiate terms directly. This usually enables you to demand a much higher sale price than a dealership's trade-in value.

Use a Transactional Marketplace

Most so-called car “marketplaces” are not transactional in nature. They are merely meetingplaces. They allow a buyer and seller to find one another—a valuable service, to be sure—after which they must navigate the transaction themselves, cobbling it together on other platforms and with other tools.

Common Meetingplaces for Car Transactions

Here are some of the “meetingplaces” that people use:

Auction sites such as Bring A Trailer and eBay Motors
Classifieds, from major sites like Craigslist to local sites such as KSL Cars.

Introducing the First Transactional Marketplace for Vehicles

PrivateAuto is the world’s first transactional marketplace for vehicle owners to buy and sell used cars. Not only do we provide a meetingplace (browse our used cars for sale to see how, on the surface, we’re similar to other sites), but under the hood we give you all the tools you need to do the deal from start to finish.

Avoid scammers and fakes through buyer verification
Keep your info private by communicating and scheduling through our app
Cut down on paperwork hassle with built-in e-signing of the bill of sale
Receive your money quickly and securely with our integrated banking solution

Dealer-Like Convenience Selling Your Car Yourself

We admit that dealerships offer more convenience than selling your car yourself. Or at least they used to. PrivateAuto offers you dealer-like convenience while allowing you to sell your car directly to a private party.

Don’t settle for your car’s trade-in value. Get more—and enjoy more convenience and security—when you sell it with PrivateAuto.

In-app messaging keeps your personal info protected
Buyer verification weeds out scammers
Buyer verified funds eliminates window shoppers
In-app scheduler allows you to set the meetup at the time and place of your choosing
In app e-signing of the bill of sale protects you
Instant and free funds transfer with PrivateAuto Pay eliminates the need for an escrow service

Experience the magic yourself. Create a listing in a few easy steps!

Can I Get My Car’s Value From the VIN?

You can get your car’s value from its vehicle identification number, or VIN, by entering the VIN into our car valuation calculator. Similar to other car value calculators on sites such as Edmunds and Kelley Blue Book, our car value calculator will tell you approximately what your car is worth.
If you want a more precise estimate of what your vehicle is worth, a professional used car inspection may be a good idea.

Wondering where to find your VIN? It’s usually on your dashboard, viewable from outside your car looking down through the windshield.

Are Used Car Values Dropping?

In 2023, used car values are down a bit from last year’s all-time high. However, we hardly think used car prices are falling off a cliff. On the contrary, market conditions seem to be making a bit of a comeback.

Regardless of whether vehicle values go up or down, PrivateAuto will always be the best place to buy or sell a used vehicle because we facilitate end-to-end transactions. From secure messaging to free instant payments, we give you dealer-like services in the palm of your hand to get the deal done.

Do I Need a Bill of Sale to Sell My Car?

Some states require a bill of sale in a private-party vehicle transaction, while others don’t. Whether required or not, it’s a good idea to always complete a bill of sale. It protects you, and it protects the buyer.

It establishes the date of the sale, which is essential for tax and registration purposes.
It outlines the vehicle's specifics, such as make, model, year, and VIN.
It includes essential information about the buyer and the seller, such as names, addresses, and contact details. This information comes in handy in the event of a dispute or if the vehicle's history needs to be traced.

Good news: PrivateAuto includes a state-specific official bill of sale in our easy transaction workflow. You don’t even need to think about it. At the appropriate phase of the transaction, you and the buyer will be prompted to electronically sign the document inside your PrivateAuto app. It will be securely stored in your PrivateAuto account for reference.

Get started selling your used car today!

How Do I Transfer My Car’s Title When I Sell It?

The certificate of title establishes vehicle ownership, and transferring it correctly is crucial. Different states may have slightly different procedures for transferring a car title, but here are the main things you’ll need to do.

1. Locate your title. If you can’t find it, apply for a duplicate from your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or equivalent vehicle registry agency.
2. With the buyer, fill out the required sections on the title, including the buyer's name and address and the vehicle’s purchase price and mileage. If there is an auto loan involved, there are lienholder areas to fill in.
3. Sign and date: Both you and the buyer should sign and date the title. Some states require notarization, while others don’t.

You’re done with your part. As the vehicle’s new owner, the buyer will need to finish the title transfer with the DMV (or equivalent organization).

What Should I Do With My License Plates After Selling My Car?

48 states mandate that the seller remove the license plates from the car before transferring ownership to the buyer. The buyer will need to apply for new license plates. Check with your local DMV for instructions on how to dispose of your license plates; some states allow you to transfer them to another vehicle, while other states want you to dispose of them.

In California and Minnesota, license plates remain with the car and transfer to the new owner.

Used Car FAQ

What are black books?

The Black Book is an industry valuation tool that dealers use to assess wholesale vehicle prices. It is similar to the Kelley Blue Book but with a dealer focus.

What is blue book value?

Is Kelley Blue Book or Nada more accurate?

Can I let my insurance policy lapse if I’m selling my car?

How do I find the present value of my car?

What is the best time of year to buy a car?

What is the market value of my car?

How is my car's trade-in value determined based on its age and condition?