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How To Get A Free Car Valuation With What Car? (step-by-step)

If you’re looking to sell a used car, there’s one thing you need to do first; get it valued. We offer a free car valuation here at Motorway if you want to compare instant selling prices, but we also recommend getting a What Car? Valuation. Alongside Parkers, it’s one of the best valuation tools online.

Sure, you could scroll through 100s of listings on classifieds websites. Or, you can follow our quick and easy guide to using What Car? and their simple-to-use, free online valuation tool.

You can enter your number plate on What Car? for a comprehensive valuation of your vehicle.

What Car Valuation
It’s simple to value your car for free with the What Car? Valuation Tool

Our guide takes you through each step of the process, with screenshots detailing each step.

Getting a valuation on What Car? explained:

  1. Step by step guide to getting a valuation with What Car?
  2. How will condition and mileage affect my car’s value?
  3. Why do I need a car valuation?
  4. Understanding your cars valuation 
  5. What to do with your cars valuation

At the end of the 2-minute process, you’ll have 4 valuations. And, that’s going to allow you to make an informed decision about where to sell your car, as well as the kind of price you can expect.

After submitting your car’s details, Motorway compare prices for you from multiple car buying websites. And, that means you’re going to get instant offers from companies ready to buy your car, in as little as 24 hours.

Or alternatively read more about getting a car valuation online or working out how much your car is worth in Motorway’s dedicated car selling guides.

#1 – Log onto What Car?

First, you’ll need to head over to the car valuation tool on What Car?

Instead of going directly to their homepage, use the following link to go straight to their online valuation tool.

The screen you are presented with should look like this:

Starting your car valuation with What Car?

#2 – Enter your reg on What Car’s valuation tool

If you have your registration number to hand, you can insert that in the box provided.

This will remove the need to find your V5C and check the brand, model and year. The What Car? tool will then search a database to find all the relevant details for your vehicle.

If you don’t have your registration to hand, you’ll have to manually enter these details in the drop-down boxes provided.

You can do this by clicking on “I don’t know the registration number” below the green “Next step” button.

After clicking this, you’ll be provided with the following options.

Choose a model on What Car?

This allows you to choose the exact make, model and year of your used car.

#3 – Choose version of your car

Each brand, model and year will have a range of specs.

So, you’ll need to choose the exact version of your vehicle. It’s important to click the correct one.

The difference between and low-spec and high-spec model can mean a valuation that is thousands of pounds more, in some instances.

Found your model? Click “Next step”:

Choose model What Car?

If you haven’t, you can click on “filter these cars”. This will bring up a menu that’s a lot easier to navigate.

Select specific details What Car?

If you are unsure of your model, or can’t see yours listed, it’s wise to wait until you have your registration to hand, and click back to the “Find using the vehicle registration number”.

This can be found underneath the green “Next step” button.

#4 – Check your car’s details

You’ll need to check the details of the vehicle that WHATCAR? has provided.

If they’re not correct, start the process again.

Having the wrong year or model listed will lead to an inaccurate valuation. And, that’s going to lead you to thinking your car is worth more, or less, than it is.

Car condition What Car?

#5 – Your car’s condition

Now you’ll need to detail the car’s condition.

The more modern and higher value a car is, the more important the car’s condition is.

If you don’t detail the condition correctly, the valuations are going to be incredibly inaccurate.

Here you’ll need to explain:


Is your car poor, average, good or excellent condition, based on the year?

A car that is in poor condition may have obvious mechanical or bodywork faults. This might mean your vehicle has an engine light on, or the interior has rips and tears in the upholstery.

Average condition vehicles will have minor body or mechanical faults. This might be deep blemishes in the body work, or perhaps tyres that are on the brink of being replaced.

Cars in good condition will have miniscule bodywork blemishes, whilst an excellent condition car has neither bodywork or mechanical faults.


You can use the interactive mileage slider to give details of the exact mileage of your vehicle.

Like condition, mileage makes an enormous difference to the value. So, make sure you take a mileage reading before getting a valuation.

The average car will travel around 12,000 miles per year. So, if your car is 5 years old and has less than 60,000 miles, there’s a good chance it’s worth more than you think.

What are you doing? What Car?

Why you need a car valuation

What Car? tries to offer realistic valuations based on where the vehicle will be bought or sold.

For example, you’ll not get the same price as a trade-in at a dealership, as you would if you sold privately on Auto Trader.

So, make sure you fill out the section asking, “why are you looking for a car valuation today?”, as this affects the valuation.

What Car? Valuation choice

We’re choosing the “Just looking to see how much my car is worth – no plans to change right now”.

This will provide us with multiple valuations so we can gauge what price we can expect to achieve, in different areas of the used car market.

#6 – Click “next step” & signup

Now What Car? has our car’s details, we can click “Next step”. This will then bring us to a registration screen.

You’ll need to fill out all the details here, as none are optional.

Of course, the email address is the most important.

What Car? will refer you to a valuation screen after submitting these details, but they will also email the valuation to the email address that you provide.

Register with email address

Got all those details filled in?

Scroll to the bottom of the page, past the Privacy Policy, and you’ll see a “Get Valuation”.

Click on that, and you’re good to go.

Get a free valuation on What Car?

#7 – Get your free valuation from What Car?

As soon as you click through from the registration page, you’ll be given your car’s valuation. In fact, you’ll be given multiple valuations.

As you can see from our Ford Focus example, the trade auction value is over 60% less than if we were looking to sell privately.

That’s an enormous difference.

Get your valuation

#8 – Understanding the car valuations

There’s 4 different valuations on offer here.

If you are selling your car, you want to get the most money possible, but sometimes you might be restricted due to circumstance.

For most people, that restriction comes in the form of time. They don’t have the time to advertise privately, as well as conduct viewings on their vehicle.

Buy from dealer

This is the price you’ll pay when purchasing from a dealer forecourt. This is not the price they will pay you.

Buy/Sell privately

This is what you could expect to pay, or to receive on a sale, when dealing with this vehicle privately.

Private sale means listing your vehicle manually on sites such as eBay,

Gumtree and Auto Trader

You’ll have to deal with viewings and negotiate price, as well as pay any fees upfront for advertising on these websites.

Part exchange

When purchasing a new or second-hand vehicle from a dealer, they’ll allow you to offset the value of your current car against the purchase price; this is a part exchange.

This is the likely value they’ll allow you to offset against your vehicle upgrade.

In our case, the part exchange value is £707. So, if we wanted to buy a vehicle from the dealer that is £5000, they would take our car and reduce the purchase price by £707, to £4,293.

Trade auction

This the price expected when selling at a trade buyer’s used car auction.

Prices achieved here are generally at the lower end of the spectrum, and it’s almost always a last resort for anyone selling a used car.

What do you do next with your What Car valuation?

You’ll need to decide the best route to sell your used car.

Most people’s instant reaction is to sell privately. And, that’s a natural reaction given that you can achieve nearly double the price of a trade auction in many cases.

The problem with selling privately is it’s time consuming, and costly. Many websites that allow car owners to list their used cars will charge upwards of £10 per listing. And even then, there’s no guarantee of a sale.

On the flip side, trading in a vehicle straight to a dealer, or even trade auction, is not going to achieve a reasonable price. And, that could mean that you can’t afford your next vehicle.

But, there is another option. Let car buying companies fight it out to offer the best price for your vehicle.

By using our free car valuation , you’ll get instant offers from multiple car buying websites.

Compare offers at

The operative word here is multiple. Each car buying site knows that they’re competing with the next. And, that means they are going to offer you a much more reasonable price.

It takes the hassle out of selling privately, but doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the majority of the car’s value, by trading in to a dealer.

Looking for more tips on how to value or sell your car?

Read more of our guides to help you on your car selling journey.