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Car valuations online
Getting an accurate valuation for your car can be a tricky business. There are now a wide variety of ways to get a free online car valuation, with many UK websites promising to tell you the value of your car. But do tread with caution. The value of your car will vary on where you are valuing it and how in-demand your vehicle is at that moment in time. Your car’s age, mileage and condition are always the biggest factors influencing a car’s ongoing value, but there are other material things to be aware of too. Things like your car’s specifications, service history, emissions rating and its location will all play a part.
Fuel type is also a huge factor too. Diesel and petrol car valuations have fallen significantly in recent times as electric vehicles become more popular. This is because of tax incentives for new electric cars, with a push to meet the 2030 electric switchover date set by the UK government. There’s also the impact of low-emission zones in some cities affecting the running costs of older diesel and petrol models. Unsurprisingly, more people are now selling fossil fuel cars than are buying them new, and diesel and petrol car prices have fallen significantly because of this.
And what about seasonality? Even the time of year you are selling can cause variation in your valuation. Used convertible cars often go up in value during the summer months and down in the winter. Selling a convertible is therefore usually advisable in the summer.
How much is my car worth?
How much is your car actually worth? It’s a complex question to answer. First of all, most people tend to over-value their cars by looking at dealer retail prices of cars for sale on classified websites. This can lead to misunderstanding. Most cars ready to buy online from dealerships include things like warranties, finance options and returns policies. Retail prices are not the best thing to look at if you are looking to sell to a professional car buyer. It’s always best to research multiple car valuation websites online to get an accurate idea of what your car will be worth when you sell it.
Valuations will vary between car valuation tools on sites like Parkers and Regit, plus dealer websites, classified websites and instant online buyer sites too. Car values are simply not fixed, and much like other assets such as property, how much you sell your car for will depend on who is buying it. A car is worth only what an individual or company is willing to pay for it.
You can sometimes get more money selling privately than selling to a company. This is because you will be selling directly to someone that wants your exact vehicle to own themselves, with no middleman who needs to make a profit when they sell it on. It’s therefore important to understand that if you sell to a dealer or instant online buyer, the valuation offered for your car may be lower than if you value it on a classified ad website for private sales.
A retailing dealer will likely have to spend further money to make your car ready for their forecourt after they buy it, so their valuation will reflect this. Instant online buyers meanwhile typically make their margin when they take your car to an auction. All businesses in the car industry make profit in different ways when they buy your vehicle, depending on how they sell on your car.
Used car valuation
When a car has been bought as new, it’s usually easy to determine its value as it will still be under warranty. The manufacturer will provide dealerships with a recommended retail price, and most dealerships will put it on the market at that price. However, with older used cars, valuations are much more variable and harder to predict
With used cars, depreciation is always a major factor, with most cars losing a staggering 15 – 35% of their value in their first year. For this reason, things get complicated when trying to place an accurate value on a used car out of warranty. Used cars also come with all kinds of specs and add ons, and if they’ve been on the road for any significant length of time, there will inevitably be damage of some kind, even if it’s just a few surface scratches . Could the gearbox be on its last legs? Is the cam belt about to break? It can be hard to determine how well a car has been looked after.
Take two very similar cars, both have exactly the same mileage, they’re the same colour and specs and nearly everything appears identical. However, one has been driven up a 10 mile-long bumpy hill everyday of the week and the other has driven only now and again on smooth A-roads. Turning up as a buyer, you would have no idea that was the case and you’d immediately need to get to work checking mileage, condition and damage in-person.
It’s therefore very difficult to give an ‘exact’ valuation online. Used car valuations are therefore, to some extent, only ever estimates – they are indicative, but never likely to be 100% accurate. To account for this, most valuations are based on the ‘average’ condition of a car, based on its age, mileage and other factors like make, model, colour, damage and more.
Online car valuation
Getting an online car valuation is easier than ever, but do remember to see the price you are given as an estimate only. The website hasn’t physically seen your car, so does not know about any potential damage, missing service history or mechanical issues. Online valuations always have to make a number of assumptions about your vehicle.
You can get a free valuation for your car with Motorway by entering your car’s reg at the top of this page. We work with a nationwide network of over 3,000 verified dealers and our valuations reflect that, but we are just one service. We also recommend that you value your car on a few other websites that offer valuations – this will likely give you a fuller picture of a target price to aim for if you are looking to sell it.
Just keep in mind online car valuation websites can only give you a price based on the details you input. Make sure to enter accurate information regarding mileage and condition, and be as honest as possible when answering any questions.