Used car prices – the ultimate guide

In stark contrast to most industries, the Covid-19 pandemic brought huge growth to the used car market. Demand was higher than ever and therefore used car prices were higher than ever. But what about 2022? The world seems to be returning to normalcy but can the same be said for used car prices? Most importantly, what does it all mean for the price of your car?

how much have used car prices gone up?
The price for used cars rose dramatically during the Covid-19 pandemic.

How much have used car prices gone up?

Used car prices currently sit at 25% higher than they were before Covid sent the country into lockdown. That’s great news if you’re looking to sell your car — but it’s not the best compared to the rest of Europe. In fact, the UK is the only country in Europe where cars are starting to drop in value. That’s not as bad as it seems, though, as stock levels are also higher than they were a year ago. And the UK was, mid-pandemic, leading the way in used car value, so this is by no means sending values to new lows so much as returning to average. It’s also good news if you’re buying a car.

When will used car prices drop?

Used car prices UK-wide are currently on a downward trend. In the first half of 2022, values have dropped by 5.7%, though this still places it higher than pre-lockdown values. Demand for older vehicles is also starting to slow. While lockdown and a general aversion to public transport put used cars in more demand than ever before, things have started to even out, and cars older than five years have also dropped in demand.

Will used car prices drop in 2022?

Current statistics suggest that used car prices are already lowering, as is demand in general. The registering of new cars is also on the decline, reaching a historic UK low in May 2022. That shouldn’t stop you selling your car, though, used car prices are still in a good place and providing great value for sellers. 

will used car prices drop in 2022?
Current statistics suggest used car prices have already begun to drop.

How much can I get for my car?

The value of your car will depend on several things. Used car prices UK-wide may change all the time, but these factors will always be important to your car’s value, including:

The initial price

Obviously, the more premium your car is, the more you can expect to get back. A Tesla, for example, will demand a better resale price than a Ford. In fact, with the electric car switchover on the horizon, any electric car is poised to do fairly well in the used car market. In terms of value depreciation, as a general rule cars lose 20-30% of their value in year one, and will have lost half their value by year 5. So, if your car is pushing it in terms of age, don’t be surprised if your returns are relatively low, no matter how lovingly you have cared for it.

Mileage

A big factor in car value is mileage. It goes without saying the more used your car is, the less desirable it will be. Mileage means more wear and tear, more demand on the engine, and an overall lesser life-span. If you have a low mileage, your car will almost certainly perform better in the price stakes compared to cars with high mileage but the same age.

Is mileage more important than age?

That really depends on the overall condition and age of your car. Generally speaking, once your car has passed the 5 year mark, age and mileage are on an even keel when it comes to used car prices and one won’t cancel out the weighting of the other.

Overall condition

The same rule applies to just about anything you’d try to sell. If you’ve cared for your car, taken care of dents and scratches, kept the tyres changed and in good condition, and kept the interior spotless, you’ll get a better price than if you neglected any or all of these things. Overall, it pays to look after your car.

Popularity

Cars with higher desirability will sell better than those that aren’t so in demand. Different factors can affect a car’s demand, from brand, diesel or petrol engines, even colour (the nation’s favourite is black). Popularity isn’t always defined by a sense of exclusivity, either. Sure, a great condition second-hand Jaguar will definitely draw the attention of car dealers, but a well-kept Ford or other family-friendly brand will have a lot more would-be car buyers in general. They’re actually one of the best-selling used cars, drawing suitably healthy high used car prices.

Your buyer

Some things in car-selling are objective, and other things are not. Depending on your buyer, your car’s value could be calculated very differently. A private buyer, for example, will be looking for the best deal, and a price that aligns with (let’s face it) little more than their own Googling. You can expect to do a bit of haggling if you sell this way, and your final agreed car sales price won’t be what you were hoping for (and that’s only after you’ve sunk hours into calls, texts, and viewings). A single dealer will base their price on their own stock, demand, and their knowledge of the market, and that could be different to a dealer 10 miles down the road. If only there was a way to get multiple dealers to give their highest price and for you to get the best price. Luckily, that’s precisely what Motorway does.

how much can i get for my car?
Mileage, condition & who your selling to will always factor into your car’s value

Who gives the best price for used cars?

As mentioned, it can be hard to know where to head if you want the best price for your car. And even if you get the best price, how many unpaid man-hours of admin are you willing to put in? Private sales can offer you a higher price generally, but this isn’t without its stressful situations. From viewings to endless emails, to worrying if you’re actually going to be paid for your car, private selling can be more trouble than it’s worth.


Selling your car with Motorway guarantees you the best price without any of the stress. The Motorway is quick, easy and you could get up to £1,000 more* for your car.

Who gives the best price for used cars?
Selling your car with Motorway is quick and easy.

Read more about selling your car

Our guides cover everything you need to know about selling your car, and just about everything else to do with vehicle ownership!