How Much Is My Car Worth? 4 Quick and Easy Ways To Find Out
Found yourself wondering “how much is my car is worth?” Looking to find out what the value of your car is? You’re not alone.
Cars are one of the biggest expenses of our day-to-day lives, so whether you want to insure, finance, get PCP, sell, part exchange or even scrap your car, you’ll need to know the likely market price of your vehicle.
Selling your motor for a good or bad price can make a big difference to your bank balance. And that difference can be thousands of pounds in many cases, especially if you are selling a car on finance.
We’ve created this guide to help you value your car effectively. Let’s get started…
What’s your car worth? Your car’s value explained:
- What factors contribute to your car’s value?
- 4 ways to accurately value your car
- How to find the value of your car using existing classified adverts
- How to find out how much your car is worth to a dealer
- How to get a CAP HPI valuation
- The best places to sell your car
So, let’s find out how much your used car is worth…
Information online about car values can be hugely conflicting, leaving a lot of car owners confused about exactly how much their car is worth in different scenarios. And, that’s why in this guide we’ve not only detailed the exact processes available to value a used car, but also the best places to sell it.
What factors contribute to your car’s value?
First, when determining an accurate price, you’ll need to consider some specifics.
What was the initial price?
A 3-year old vehicle with an original retail price of £20,000 brand new is going to outperform a car that was just £10,000 at the same time.
Typically, the value of a used car is going to be directly related to the price when it was new.
Looking through classified websites, you’ll notice many old Jaguars and BMWs are extremely cheap. The driving factor behind this is the that their emissions (and therefore, annual car tax) are incredibly high. Bad news.
On the flip-side – there’s also a CO2 related bonus for those commuting in the London Congestion Zone.
Cars emitting less than 75g/km of CO2 and can drive for 20 miles on EV power will qualify for a 100% discount. And, at over £10 per day, that’s a huge selling point.
So, the lower the CO2 emissions your vehicle has, the better.
How old is the car?
To get an answer to the question: “how much is my car worth” you could do worse than to start with your car’s age.
A car’s worth is directly related to age. New vehicles depreciate by an average of 20-30% of their initial value within their first year.
Within 3-5 years most vehicles have lost almost 50% of their value. Many 10-year-old vehicles are worth as little as £1,000-£2,000; even in perfect working order.
Mileage is a key signal to how much your car is worth, because it gives a clear indicator of the life left in the vehicle, and not just the engine.
Typically, low mileage vehicles can sell for 20-30% more than the same vehicle with high miles.
Type of engine
The ‘toxin tax’ on diesel engines which came to light in 2017 led to a decline in the value of diesel cars, though they have recovered somewhat in recent years, with Euro 6 diesel sales dominating from 2020 onwards.
That said, if you have a car with a diesel engine, now might be a good time to sell as electric cars will dominate in years to come.
The higher the value of car you have for sale, the more the condition matters.
For £1000, used car buyers aren’t expecting the world. But, when cars start pushing the £3000-£5000 price range, buyers really start to expect a lot more bang for their buck. It’s unlikely to reflect reality, but most buyers spending over a £5,000 would like to buy a car in mint condition.
But sadly, cars over 1-2 years old are very likely to have damage of some kind. The condition of the paintwork, interior and the tyres will all affect how much your car is worth.
Popularity (model & colour)
Estate cars, odd colours and unpopular brands tend to be a little difficult to sell. And, that means that the price achievable is usually reduced.
A popular vehicle like a Ford Focus, with a normal engine such as a 1.8 turbo diesel, in a neutral colour such as black, will fetch top dollar in the second-hand market.
A Ford Focus Estate with a 1.4 petrol, high miles and a colour such as burgundy is going to be valued at 15-20% less than the popular equivalent.
Where you value your car
How much is your car truly worth?
A dealer might say £1000. An eBay user might offer you £1200.
So, the value of your car depends on where you value it.
Typically, dealers are middle-men so can often offer ridiculously low prices, and eBay buyers are end-users; so, eBayers pay a little more.
Now you’ve got a clear idea of what directly affects your car’s value, let’s jump into where you can get a car valued and what to expect.
4 Ways to accurately value your car
#1 – Online car valuations
If you want a quick, easy and fast valuation, online car valuation tools are where you want to be.
We’ve got an online car valuation tool on the Motorway sell my car page, and we’ll tell you exactly why thousands of people – every single month – use it.
Motorway isn’t the average car buyer. In fact, we’re not a car buyer at all.
What we do, is work on your behalf to get multiple offers from several car buying websites. And, that means instead of getting one offer, you’re getting offers from various companies who buy cars to help you find the best price from this selection in a single search.
They all pay one lump sum for cars by paying cash into your bank account (operating as cash for cars buyers).
So, how does that benefit you? You can compare car buying offers and get a much better valuation on your used car.
Essentially, we’re on your side. We display the used car valuation of your vehicle, alongside any fees (such as admin charges).
There are no hidden surprises, so you know exactly how much cash you’ll be getting from each company after all fees, with no obligations to sell.
How much is my car worth to an online car buying website?
In a couple of minutes, you could have a valuation and if you’re happy, we can get your car sold within 24 hours.
Step 1 – Enter your registration
Skip over to our car selling comparsion tool and enter your registration.
Our online system automatically finds the exact model and spec of your car, so there’s no need to dig out your V5C.
Step 2 – Add mileage and a method of contact
Mileage is an important part of the valuation process for car buying websites.
With the mileage, registration and your contact details, we can get straight to work.
Step 3 – Compare offers and pick the best offer for your car
Now, you’ll see a screen with all the valuations for your vehicle.
Any fees involved in the transaction are listed, so you’ll see the final price to be paid for your used car.
Step 4 – Organise a date for collection or drop-off
Now, to close the deal we’ll need to organise a date and time to either collect the vehicle, or for you to drop the vehicle off to the car buying website you’ve chosen.
Step 5 – Get your cash!
Many car buying websites we work with offer free instant payment on collection. So, you’ll have cash for your car as soon as you hand over the keys – ready to go and purchase your next vehicle.
The longest any of our car buyers can take to transfer your money is 3-4 days.
#2 – Classified ads research
Selling a car is by no means easy. It takes time to create a good advert, it costs money to post that advert, and then you’ve got to deal with viewings and the notorious hagglers.
However, if none of this is off-putting, it’s usually the best way to get the highest value for your used car.
If you plan on selling your car privately, you can research how much your car is worth using a range of classified ads websites.
Typically, there are three websites that are going to be worth your time. These three sites all have an abundance of vehicles across the country, so there’s likely to be a handful like yours that will be a good base-line for a car valuation.
Our top three classified ads websites for valuing your car include:
- Auto Trader
What’s my car worth on eBay, AutoTrader and Gumtree?
Follow our simple guide to find out exactly how much your car is worth on classified ad websites.
Step 1 – Filter the search
The first step is to filter the search to get as close a match as possible to your vehicle.
Remember, filters such as location will make a difference. A vehicle for sale in a remote part of Scotland (where there’s less demand), will sell for a lot less than a vehicle for sale in a busy urban area, such as London.
Some filters we suggest include:
- Make (e.g. Ford)
- Model (e.g. Focus)
- Fuel Type (e.g. Petrol or diesel)
- Mileage (e.g. 25000-50000 miles)
- Location (e.g. London)
Step 2 – Too many listings? filter further.
The above filters will give a nice range of roughly a dozen cars. If there are more listings than this, get more specific with your filters. This could include:
- A closer match to mileage
- Exact model (e.g. Ford Focus Zetec)
- Time since last MOT test
Step 3 – Compare condition
Next, you’ll want to compare condition. How does your car stack up?
A vehicle in good condition will always sell for more than one in poor condition.
Look for things such as:
- Faults (e.g. Radio doesn’t work).
- Condition of paintwork and upholstery (e.g. Scratches, dents and tears)
Try and find a couple of listings that are exactly like your car in terms of condition.
Step 4 – Take an average
By now, you’ll have a set of super-specific listings. Taking the average price of these vehicles will give a good indication of exactly how much your car is worth.
Another worthy side note – if you’ve got 3 listings at a similar price point, there’s a good chance that is a realistic valuation (rather than taking the average of £1,000, £1,250 and £1,500 to get a £1,250 average).
#3 – Dealer valuation
Anyone that’s sold, part-exchanged or had a car valuation from a dealer knows that they are rarely the most financially viable option.
Dealers get offered cars every single day, and they need to make a large margin to keep their doors open.
How much is my car worth to a dealer?
How much your car is worth to a dealer, will depend on which specific dealer you go to.
So, here’s what you need to do…
Step 1 – Find a specialist
To get the best valuation for your used car from a dealer, you need to find a dealer that specialises in your car. This specialism could be almost anything, including:
- Old cars
- Low mileage cars
- Brand specific used car dealers, such as BMW
- 4×4 or estate cars
Most dealers expect cars to sit on their forecourt for months before they are sold, and that’s cash that’s not in their bank. If they specialise in a vehicle type, there’s a good chance their stock turnover is much quicker.
So, a dealer specialising in BMWs will give a valuation that’s closer to true value, in comparison to a Hyundai that they’ll likely give a low-ball offer for.
Step 2 – Ask for a valuation
Before you ask for a valuation, make sure you let the dealer know you’ve picked their dealership because you expect a higher valuation, or you’ll sell privately.
If they’re interested in your used car, there’s a good chance this will force their hand, so they’ll offer somewhere towards the top-end of their budget.
#4 – CAP HPI valuation
CAP HPI (operated by the company behind HPI Checks) are unique in the fact that they don’t buy or sell cars. So, whatever they value your car at is likely to be a realistic price expectation.
If they undervalue a vehicle, they have gained nothing. And, if they overvalue a vehicle and you end up not selling quickly, all they receive is bad feedback.
The information from CAP HPI is all data backed, so it’s an incredibly reliable source used by many car brands and dealerships across the country.
How much is my car worth using CAP HPI?
CAP HPI have a free and premium used car valuation service to determine the price of your used car.
Option 1 – Free CAP HPI used car valuation
CAP HPI’s free HPI valuation can be found here. And, it’s not just free, it’s instant.
The information they provide as part of the free online car valuation includes:
Four different values based on where a vehicle is sold
An adjustment in value to account for mileage
An adjustment in value to account for condition
Option 2 – CAP HPI premium used car
Like the free CAP HPI valuation, the Premium valuation is also instant, but it’s more detailed.
Alongside the information provided as part of the free valuation, CAP HPI also include:
- Expected running costs
- Forecasts for future depreciation and value
- Full car specs
So, where’s the best place to value and sell your used car
Getting a car valuation usually leads to selling, and for that, we’ve picked our two best options.
Option 1 – You have no time, and you want to value and sell your car fast?
Maybe you don’t want the hassle? Or, maybe you’ve found a deal on your perfect car and need cash quickly?
If this sounds like you, you’ll want to go with an online car buying service.
How much is your car worth by going down this route? Find out at Motorway here, and complete a deal within 24 hours (our valuations are free with no obligation to sell).
Option 2 – You’re prepared to spend time and money, and wait for the best price
You’ve got time to create adverts and show people your car, and you’ll hang around for 4-12 weeks to get the best possible price for your vehicle?
Just want a valuation? Check out our car valuation at Motorway. We compare prices from online dealers and specialist dealers.
We hope this guide has helped you discover how much your car is worth
If you still need help, see our handy guides and selling pages below:
- Get cash for cars
- Sell your car online
- Compare car buyers
- Compare car buying sites
- Buy my car online
- Scrap my car online
- Van valuation – the ultimate guide
- How to sell a car on finance
- How to part exchange a car
- PCP car finance – The ultimate guide
- Car valuation – value my car
- Should I sell a petrol car?
- Sell your car during COVID-19 and the coronavirus crisis