• Sign in
  • |
  • Sign up

Car Buying

Used Car Pricing: How Do You Know if the Price Is Fair?

RELATED READING
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs Infiniti cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon

author photo by Doug DeMuro

A lot of thought goes into the process of buying a used car. Of course, there's reading reviews and taking a test drive. There's securing financing, assessing the vehicle's condition and finding a car with the lowest possible odometer reading. But the most important part of buying a pre-owned vehicle is, of course, making sure the price is fair. If you're not sure how to do that, we've provided a few tips to make sure you don't pay too much.

Kelley Blue Book

Kelley Blue Book isn't just a book -- it's now an easy-to-use website that helps you determine exactly what to pay for the car you're interested in buying. Simply go to Kelley Blue Book's website, KBB.com, click "What should I pay for a used car?" and follow the site's prompts. You'll discover a value based on real-life market data, auction data and similar cars for sale. You can even find out a detailed number based on options and extras, as Kelley Blue Book allows you to select what features are included on the car you're considering.

But Just to Be Sure...

If you're interested in a second opinion once you've checked Kelley Blue Book, one of the best places to go is AutoTrader.com. Not to find more cars to purchase, but to look for similar vehicles for sale across the country. For instance: If you're interested in the only example of a particular car in your market, it may be hard to figure out that vehicle's value. But if you expand your search to the entire country, you may see dozens of other cars, and those will give you a better idea of what to pay for the car you're considering. Think of it in the same terms as searching for comparable homes when you're looking for a house.

Consider Condition

One thing we highly recommend before trying to assess the value of a car is figuring out its condition. That's because you'll want to compare listings that are similar, and you'll want to provide KBB.com with the best possible information.

To that end, our advice is to test drive a car, and possibly get a mechanical inspection, before negotiating price. That way, if the car needs a few hundred dollars in repairs or reconditioning, you can subtract that amount from the price you'd be willing to pay.

In the end, many aspects of buying a used car can be difficult, but thanks to Kelley Blue Book and AutoTrader.com listings, finding out what to pay doesn't need to be one of them.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Close 
Used Car Pricing: How Do You Know if the Price Is Fair?