How to Find Car's Market Value?

By Alexi Falson on 22 Jun 2022
image for How to Find Car's Market Value? Purchasing a new car is often the second-biggest expense that you can make, and using your existing vehicle is an important piece of leverage for you to use when you're looking to upgrade.

If you’re in this position, you’ve most likely wondered “what is the market value of my car, and how can I get the best price when upgrading to my next car?” 

In recent years, prices within the new and used vehicle market have continued to fluctuate. This means that understanding and finding the market value of both your dream car and the vehicle you’re planning on upgrading from is an important piece of the puzzle. 

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the concept of a car’s market value, exploring the huge number of factors that influence the market value of cars so you’re well equipped when it comes time to sell your car. 

What is a Car’s Market Value? 

As the name might suggest, the market value of your car is the amount of money that the vehicle is worth, which is determined by the market and a heap of factors that influence the overall value of your car. 

You can think of it as a crystal clear picture of what the free market believes your vehicle to be worth, rather than a sticker price set by a third party. 

The market value, otherwise known as the open market valuation of a new car is specific to that manufacturer and the model, as well as the year it was produced, while the market value of a used car becomes a more complex recipe that takes into account kilometres driven, the service history and condition of the engine and bodywork, and a whole lot more. 

How to Find a Car’s Market Value

There are a number of ways to find your car’s market value online, however, they are limited when it comes to providing you with a tailored and accurate market value specific to your vehicle with all factors considered. 

Perhaps the best and most objective guide to market values of used cars is Redbook, an unbiased source of market valuations that takes depreciation into account. 

As we’ve mentioned, though, tools like these don’t take into account a huge number of factors that impact a vehicle’s market value, so while Redbook is a great source of rough or ‘ball-park’ pricing information, a more tailored approach needs to be taken to find the exact market value. 

There are also ways to find the market value by getting in contact with an independent vehicle valuation specialist, dealership or even taking a close look at your insurance policy details. 

Alternatively, you can get in touch with our team of car buying experts here at OnlineAuto who can organise a quick and easy way to find the market value of your car

Simply fill out our trade-in appraisal form that details your vehicle’s details with some photos we need on our end, and we’ll get in contact with our wide range of dealers and wholesalers to give you a clear picture of its market value. 

Factors that Impact a Car’s Value

There are a huge number of things that impact both the market value of your vehicle and the amount of money you can expect to sell it for on the used car market or while trading your vehicle in to upgrade to the next chapter of your automotive tale; these include: 

  • The manufacturer: some manufacturers depreciate less than others 
  • The model: some models are more desirable to the market than others
  • Year produced: age impacts market value 
  • Kilometres driven: the amount of engine wear-and-tear 
  • Condition of body: damage to paint or rims impacts resale value 
  • Demand for model: some vehicles are massively in-demand 
  • Logbooks: evidence of a full service history 
  • Bodyshape: SUVs, sedans, hatchbacks, for example.  
  • History check: ensuring the vehicle has not been damaged in the past
  • Location: models can be in-demand in certain areas; over-saturated in others 
  • Date selling: selling in some months provides a greater market value
  • Interior quality: damaged seats or dashboards impact value 
  • Interior upgrades: accessories or upgrades to stereo or GPS, for example
  • Colour: some colours depreciate more than others
  • Upgrades: visual enhancements or engine improvements

To read more about maximising the resale value of your used car, click here to read our full guide while trading in your vehicle

Can You Look Up a Car’s Value by the VIN Number? 

Your car’s vehicle identification number, otherwise known as the VIN number is an identifier specific to your exact car, and can indeed be used to determine the market value of your vehicle. 

In fact, some online car valuation tools will ask for your VIN to help them provide you with a more accurate quote. 

As we’ve mentioned, though, you’ll need to provide far more information than the VIN number to get an accurate market valuation of your car, because the true market value takes things like kilometres driven, bodywork condition and the service history into account, none of which can be determined by a VIN number. 

Is Market Value Selling Price the Same as MSRP? 

While market value and MSRP are two completely different things, when it comes to the sale of a brand new vehicle that is straight out of the factory, the MSRP, or manufacturer’s suggested retail price and the market value are often tied together; unless there are extraordinary market conditions for in-demand vehicles that we’ve seen in the wake of production slowdowns and component shortages. 

The moment that vehicle drives out of the dealership, however, the market value will drop considerably due to the impact of deprecation and the fact the market determines that vehicle almost immediately as a used car, rather than a new one. 

This means that the market value is significantly lower than the MSRP in spite of the fact that the variables are remarkably similar between the two.  

What Can I Do to Improve the Value of My Car? 

Take into account the factors that we’ve listed above, all of which have an impact on the value of your car when it comes time to sell. We’d encourage you to read more about maximising the resale value of your used car here with our comprehensive guide to maximising the amount of money you can sell your car for. 

Request a Quote

If you’re looking to upgrade from your current car, click here to get a quick and hassle-free quote on your dream, or get a clear picture on the market value of your current car from one of our car-buying experts.


Alexi Falson

Alexi is an automotive journalist and road tester hailing from Byron Bay. He has an affection for both cars and motorbikes, a great admiration for the simplicity of old-school engineering, and a fascination of new technology making its way to modern cars. When he's not road testing, you'll find him surfing, hiking or helping people find their dream cars.

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