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How do I figure out how much my car is worth?

If you decide your vehicle is no longer for you and you want to trade it in for another one, the first thing you need to determine how much your vehicle is realistically worth. You can obtain a pretty accurate assessment of your car's value at Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds or AutoTrader. We suggest you look at all three. Other vehicle pricing sites are also available. It's not a bad idea to search used car listings in your area to see what similar vehicles are going for.

To get the most accurate pricing information, you'll need to be thorough with the information you enter. You'll almost always get more money for your car from a private party than you would from a dealer, especially in a trade-in scenario, but this extra money might be offset by the work you have to put into attracting a buyer, negotiating and any advertising you may purchase. Selling a car yourself can be a major hassle. Of course you can negotiate the trade-in value in conjunction with the dealer's selling price of the new vehicle.

Using Kelley Blue Book (who has been in business the longest) as our example, you start out by clicking the Check My Car's Value button on the site's home page. You will be directed to enter your vehicle's year, make, model and mileage, and choose what kind of a vehicle it is (coupe, sedan, pickup, SUV, etc.).

You may be asked to enter your zip code as weather and other factors can affect the vehicle's value.

Next you select the style of the vehicle (e.g. Sport Utility 4D) from the choices displayed. After you click on the style, you're directed to a page that lets you select all the options and special features, including engine, steering, stereo, sun roof, wheels and tires, transmission, AC, power windows and locks, etc., plus the vehicle's color.

Once you're done selecting all the options, you're directed to choose whether you're going to trade it in to a dealer or sell it to a private party. Might as well look up both!

Then you will be asked to choose the car's condition. On Kelley Blue Book, your choices will be Excellent, Very Good, Good and Fair (KBB does not give prices on vehicles in poor condition). Over 50% of site users choose Good condition.

Be sure to enter all information as completely and accurately as you can to avoid over-valuing or under-valuing your vehicle.

When you arrive at the dealership armed with this information, you'll be better equipped to negotiate a fair price. Your participating City Lending partner dealer will be happy to give you a fair and accurate appraisal of your car's value using these proven estimating tools.

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