Before you can sell your car, you first need to have an idea of what it's worth. While a car valuation may seem like a simple matter, the price of your vehicle will hinge on a variety of factors, and more importantly, how the assessor weighs the varying criteria.
The best and most accurate valuations typically come from those who have no commercial incentive to give incorrect or misleading data. These valuation companies rely on income from online advertising or through charging the customer for the valuation itself. Many of these companies also work with dealerships to provide data, and have a high incentive to provide up to date and accurate figures.
Online Car Valuation
In the past, most consumers and dealerships relied on Glass guides for all their valuation needs. However, much of this data was technically outdated by the time the guides went to print. That is not the case with online car valuations, which are updated in real time through the speed of the internet. Types of valuations include:
- Trade in price with a dealership
- Sale to dealership
- Price for a private sale
- Choice of free or premium valuation
Typically, the valuations will be less precise when utilising a free service as opposed to the paid one. At times free valuation will not take mileage into account, which is the most important factor in determining the wear and tear on a car, as the age of the car is far less accurate.
In general, free valuations are more ideal if your car and usage history is typical of most drivers. If your car has an unmodified exterior and interior and mileage indicative of normal use, then a free valuation will be more or less the same as a premium. However, the more unique your car is, the more likely it will be swayed by market forces, and thus a more detailed valuation is necessary.
Some services like AutoTrader will take into account damage and collision data from CAP. However, it does cost £3.95 for a valuation. You can use the service to check vehicle history on a car you want to buy, but you can also use the service to see how much certain types of damage will affect the value of your car. For example, there will be little point spending £300 to fix a dent if the dent amounts to only £100 less value, but it would be worthwhile if the dent decreased the value by £400.
The same logic can be applied to the purchase of a premium car valuation, especially if your car is heavily modified. Everything from the colour of the car to the stereo can affect the price, and any small upgrades will generally not be accounted for when using a free valuation. Paying a minor fee for a more accurate valuation could result in a much larger profit when you sell.