Get a Car Appraised: Simple Appraisal Tips


    In the automotive industry, appraising your car helps figure out how much it’s worth, so it’s not the same as multi-point inspections. There are lots of different ways to do these evaluations, and they’re not all equally accurate. When someone evaluates a car, they look at things like the year it was made, the brand, the model, what extras it has, how many miles it’s been driven, and if it’s a rare find. All of these things affect the final price they come up with.

    These evaluations work for different situations, whether you’re trading in your old car for a new one or selling it to someone else. And if a professional evaluator really knows a lot about a certain kind of car, their evaluation might be higher or lower.

    What’s a Car Appraisal?

    Often called a valuation, a car appraisal figures out how much a car is worth in dollars. There are some specific times when you might think about getting an appraisal:

    • When you’re thinking about buying, selling, or trading a car and want to know its fair market value.
    • To figure out the value of a car in situations like divorce, bankruptcy, or estate matters.
    • If you’re getting ready to buy or sell a special collectible car.

    How to Get a Car Appraised

    Getting a car evaluation is smart before you trade in or sell it. It helps you know how much your car is worth. If you’re not sure where to get a car appraised, here are some simple options.

    Dealership Appraisals

    Going to a car dealership is an easy way to get your car evaluated. Sometimes, they’ll do the evaluation when you’re buying a new car and trading in your old one. At the dealership, the evaluation usually takes about 30 minutes.

    But remember, don’t let the dealer give you less money for your old car during the evaluation. Be careful not to undervalue your trade-in.

    Lender Appraisals

    If you’re thinking about getting a car loan from a bank or credit union, they can tell you how much your car is worth. Usually, they use this value when deciding on your loan.

    So, when you’re buying a car and getting a loan from your bank or credit union, you can ask them to estimate the car’s value. You want to see if their estimate matches the price of the car. If they say the car is worth less than what it’s being sold for, that’s a warning sign.

    Online Evaluations

    You can complete your own car evaluation forms on websites like Kelley Blue Book. It’s fast and easy if you’re honest about your car’s condition. However, these results aren’t considered very official. This is because many car owners tend to think their cars are in better shape than they really are. So, many places might prefer to have their own evaluators check your car.

    Independent Professional Appraisals

    An independent appraisal involves a skilled appraiser checking your car thoroughly, looking into the prices of similar vehicles, and determining the value of your car. However, it’s essential to remember that this choice is suitable for only a limited number of situations, as per Jones.

    How Long Will an Appraisal Take?

    Going to a car dealership is one of the easiest places to get your car appraised. Often, they’ll do the appraisal when you’re there to buy a new car and trade in your old one. While you’re at the dealership, the appraisal usually takes around 30 minutes to complete.

    Factors Influencing a Car Appraisal

    Let’s explore some additional aspects that can impact a car appraisal. Many different factors can affect how much a car is worth. To understand how each of these factors can change the appraisal value, you need to know what they are. This knowledge is essential for getting a fair price when you’re selling a used car.

    How the Buyer Plans on Using Your Car

    What someone intends to do with your car can significantly impact its value. Different plans for the car can result in different value levels. A dealer who can spruce up your trade-in and sell it at their dealership may offer more than someone looking to sell it at an auction. When selling to private buyers, you might get the best offers because they usually don’t plan to resell it for profit.


    Cars with lower mileage tend to have higher valuations. Vehicles with high mileage can be costlier to upkeep and, as a result, generally have lower market values.


    Just like in the real estate world, the location of your car matters. For instance, your convertible car might be worth more in a place like Miami compared to a smaller town like Montpelier, Vermont.


    The condition of a car is essential when it comes to its valuation. If you plan to sell your car, taking good care of both its mechanical and cosmetic aspects can make a big difference. Most buyers prefer a car that doesn’t have lots of scratches, dents, or mechanical problems.


    Dealers usually review your service records to make sure the car has been well-maintained. Private buyers might also request these records as evidence that you’ve kept up with all the required maintenance tasks.


    Unless your car is considered a classic, its age will impact its value. Like many other things, a car’s value tends to decrease with age. While you can’t change the age of your car, you can focus on factors that you have control over, such as its overall condition.

    Learn How to Get Your Car Appraised to Get Accurate Value

    If you’re in the market to buy, sell, or trade a car, it’s crucial to understand the value of your vehicle. Knowing how to appraise your car and what factors influence its worth is key to getting a fair deal. Whether you choose to visit a dealership, consult your lender, use online tools, or opt for an independent professional appraisal, these options can help you make informed decisions.

    Remember that your car’s age, condition, mileage, location, and maintenance history all play a role in determining its value. So, take the time to assess these factors and ensure you get the best value for your car.