Blue book or car maintenance book is a term that car dealerships use to determine the value of a vehicle. When a used vehicle is traded in for a new car the salesperson or manager gets out the blue book or car maintenance book to determine what the car is worth. When the dealer puts the trade-in on the lot, the price the dealer sells it for is also determined by the blue book or car maintenance book. The blue book or car maintenance book also shows the private party value, which is the most important value when selling a car from person to person.
How to Find the Value for Selling Your Car
There are a few companies that determine car values that can be accessed on the Internet. One of the popular car value companies is Kelley Blue Book or car maintenance book. Before determining the value of a vehicle there’s certain vehicle information that must be known before proceeding.
Year of the Vehicle
Make of the Vehicle (Ford, Chevy, Toyota etc.)
Vehicle Model (Taurus, Impala, Camry etc.)
Vehicle Trim (XL, SE, CE, etc.)
Transmission Type (automatic or manual)
This is some of the basic information that’s needed. If there is any other optional equipment on the vehicle, this also needs to be inputted because it will add to the value of the vehicle. With Kelley Blue Book or car maintenance book, there is a checklist where optional equipment can be clicked. The next step is to understand what the different values represent.
Used Car Trade-In Values
If a quick sale is needed, many car dealers will buy a used car from a private party. The dealer will use the trade-in value from the blue book or car maintenance book. This is also the value that a dealer will use for a used car when it is traded in for a new car. Most dealers will start at this value when deciding on how much money is given to the customer. Once the book value is determined, the dealer will usually start deducting money from the trade-in value for any repairs that need to be made.
Used Car Private Party Value
If a used car is sold from one person to another person, the private party value is what’s used to determine how much the vehicle is worth. For a fast sale it’s a good idea to list the selling price at a value less than the private party value. Show the potential buyer the actual value as it’s listed in the blue book or car maintenance book and let them know the selling price is less than what’s recommended. If leasing or buying a new car, selling the old car close to private party value could result in a larger down payment versus a trade-in.
Used Car Suggest Retail Value
This is the value that a new or used car dealer will use for the selling price of the vehicle to a retail customer. Even though this is the highest value that’s listed in a blue book or car maintenance book, purchasing a used vehicle from a dealer can have some advantages versus buying from a private party.
Now that the value of the vehicle is determined, the next step is to find potential buyers. There’s the old fashion method of putting a for-sale sign in the window or using print ads. With today’s technology, one of the best methods is to sell your car on-line. With websites like Craig’s List, the car can be listed for free with good results.
Buy Used Car from Dealer or Private Party?
One of the biggest reasons that people purchase a used car from a private party (individual) is they generally get a better price versus buying it from a dealer. The used car dealer has to make a profit to pay their overhead, so naturally they have to charge more for the vehicle. There can be some benefits to buying a used car from a dealer that outweigh the higher price.
A Car Loan and Financing a Used Vehicle
If the buyer needs to procure financing for a used car, it’s much easier to get a loan through a dealership. The dealer usually has a multitude of lending institutions that they do business with. They may even be able to get better financing rates then a buyer can get on their own because of their relationship with the banks.
There’s also a convenience factor that can’t be overlooked. The dealership is like a one stop shopping location. If a vehicle is purchased from a private party, there are other factors to consider that must be taken care of separately like:
Add-ons and accessories
Used Car Lemon Laws and Sold As-Is
A used car that that’s bought from a private party is considered sold as-is. If the vehicle is purchased from a private party and the vehicle has mechanical problems, the purchaser doesn’t have much recourse. In other words it’s pretty much tough luck unless the buyer can prove fraud. When purchasing a used car from a dealer, the buyer may have some recourse under federal and state used car lemon laws.
Used Car Vehicle Trade-In
A used car buyer that needs to sell another vehicle can usually trade the vehicle in at the dealership. It’s simple, convenient and the dealer will take care of all the paperwork. The dealer usually treats the trade-in like it’s a down payment against the purchase. However, the trade-in value can be much less than the private party value. Before trading a vehicle in, find out what the car is worth.
Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles
Many new car dealers sell factory certified pre-owned vehicles. There can be some great benefits to purchasing a factory certified pre-owned vehicle. They usually come with a warranty and are held to a higher conditioning standard. Usually lower finance rates can be obtained from the manufacturer’s financial arm then using traditional lending institutions.
If pricing is a major consideration and the car buyer isn’t concerned about financing and vehicle reliability, then buying a vehicle from a private party is probably a better choice. If the car buyer doesn’t mind paying a higher price for convenience and reliability, then purchasing a used car from a dealer might be in order.