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It’s no secret, cars are not an investment. From the first moment they’re bought, they depreciate. A car’s value diminishes quickly at first, then slows after a few years. Make no mistake about it, though: your car valuation will always trend downward, and the more damage it has, the lower it drives the price.

Wondering to yourself, “How can I price my car?” Let’s take a look at a few things to help you get a better idea of its worth.

How Much is My Car Worth?

There are plenty of ways to determine your car value. It depends on a few factors, though, and you’ll need to objectively evaluate your vehicle.

If you’re looking through rose-colored glasses, it’s very easy to overvalue your vehicle and that’s when you become disappointed in the price you get for it or in how much attention your vehicle listing receives.

For an Undamaged Used Car…

If your car is still in good shape and has all its parts attached, that’s a very good start. Undamaged vehicles usually have very little problem selling even when the mileage is abnormally high. For undamaged cars, you can pursue selling your car privately, selling it at an auction, or trading it in at a dealership.

Value of a Car

The car value when totaled, badly damaged, or not running will be decidedly lower. It could be anywhere from half of your car’s undamaged value down to nearly nothing.

Car Value Estimator

Two common sites to use as a car value estimator are NADA Guides and Kelley Blue Book. With either site, you can simply enter your vehicle details, options, mileage, and condition. The website will give you an approximate range of values based on vehicles just like yours that have sold recently.

If your vehicle doesn’t fit into the criteria on the website, you’re not going to be able to get its value this way. Whether your car has been heavily modified or it’s been unintentionally modified in a collision, it doesn’t meet the criteria for a car valuation in this way.

How Much Your Car Would Depreciate Per Year
Year One Loss of 20% to 30%
Year Two Loss of 15% to 18%
Year Three Loss of 15% to 18%
Year Four Loss of 15% to 18%
Year Five Loss of 15% to 18%

Car Value Trade In

Another option for decent used vehicles to be assessed is at the dealership. A car trade-in appraisal is performed by a manager at the dealership, taking into account your vehicle’s current condition, mileage, and options. Most dealers will also consider options and accessories for the valuation.

The downside with a trade-in appraisal is that it weighs in favor of the dealership who expects you’ll be trading it in with them. They’ll typically give you a car value trade-in that’s less than you’d get from selling it, citing things like repairs, reconditioning fees, and certifications that will need to be done on their dime. And let’s not forget that dealerships are structured to make a profit on every vehicle, including the car you trade in.

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How Much is a Scrap Car Worth?

What if your car isn’t a good used car anymore? If it’s a ‘hitter’ or it’s been deemed a total loss, if it’s not running anymore or you don’t think it’s safe, or if you’ve considered just dropping it off at the scrap yard, your average car valuation tool isn’t going to be much help. Your car worth estimate to get the best price for scrapping a car depends on several factors.

How much is a Scrap Car Worth

A scrap car’s value depends on who will buy it, and a car value when totaled is a fraction of the price of a good running vehicle. Here are a few tidbits to help you figure out how much to expect.

  • A title that has been branded as rebuilt will reduce your value by at least 25%. That’s compared to the same vehicle in the same condition after your car has been repaired.

  • An unrepaired, undriveable scrap car is typically 20-30% of its book value in rough condition.

  • Most scrap cars sell for $100 to $1000 with most scrap cars selling on the lower end of the spectrum.

How Much is My Car Worth on Trade In?

If you have a scrap car, its car value trade in is almost zero. A car dealer doesn’t have any desire to take in heavily damaged cars. It’s more trouble for them than it’s worth. They might reject your damaged car as a trade-in or they could offer as little as $1, thinking they’re doing you a favor in dealing with it on your behalf.

But if You Sell to CarBrain…

The better way to sell your scrap car fast, easily, and at a fair price is with CarBrain. Our partners want vehicles in all conditions, whether in good shape or scrap. Accident cars, flooded vehicles, burned, scratched, dented, not running – we have buyers that are interested.

Request a quote online for your car in as-is condition. Within about 90 seconds, you’ll receive an offer for your car. If you accept it, we’ll pay you the agreed-upon price within a couple days, then pick up your car afterward. It’s easy, free to use, and there’s no obligation.

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