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How to Estimate The Value of a Used Car

Aug 18, 2007
When searching for a used car, one of the most important factors to consider is whether the car you are looking for really is worth its tag price. Even though the car may look like quite a deal, it is possible that you are being ripped off. Here are a few tips to help you make that decision when considering used cars.

1. Do a Little Research

When you find a used car that catches your fancy make sure you do research on that car. Find out how much that car costs if it were brand new. You should also look into whether the car is still in production and if its parts are still available. You could also try a little shop hopping to compare used car prices among cars of the same value and same age.

If a price of the car is too low, that should send you into a state of alarm. It is possible that the car is much more trouble than it is worth.

If it is too expensive, you may want to ask why that is so.

2. The Older the Car the Cheaper is Should Become

Brand new cars typically lose up to 30% in their value in 3 years, and by the time the car is 5 years old, it may have lost up to 65%. If you know the car's original price, you may want to use this rule of the thumb for your estimation.

3. Use a Third-Party Information Service

Car Fax is a good way to find out about used car histories. They offer a service that will give you a detailed history of the car you are interested in. The information included will typically include accident history and insurance data.

Kelly Blue Book is one of the most comprehensive used car value listings around. It would be a good idea to take a peek into their services for an updated list of hundreds and hundreds of used car values.

4. Take a Mechanic with You

A car's value is also directly related to its running condition. If you are not that well versed in mechanics and cars, you may want to take a mechanic along so that he or she can evaluate whether the car really is worth the used dealer's tag price.

Some used car dealers will offer cars that are defective and try to hawk them by sweetening the deal. Beware of these kinds of car dealers.

Try to look for a reputable dealer. The past experience of your acquaintances will be very valuable in evaluating a car dealership.
About the Author
If you want to find used cars in good shape up to 90% below book value have a look at my site about public car auctions at http://www.squidoo.com/publiccarauction/
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