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Used car value

Used car value. How to value a car?

18 August 2021

Are you thinking about selling your car? Or do you intend to buy a second-hand car? In both cases, it is vital to estimate the used car value. If you don’t want to lose on selling your automobile or overpay for a vehicle, read the article.


Factors that affect the used car value

Before putting a vehicle up for sale or buying a second-hand car, you should thoroughly analyse what the automobile is actually worth. You can do that by comparing online offers from other people trying to sell a similar vehicle.

Nevertheless, many factors determine the value of a vehicle. These include:

  • the vehicle type – both the make and model of the car affect the price. Some automobiles are more popular, and others are considered iconic – this can definitely increase their value
  • car manufacture year – the production year and first registration date largely determine its value. “Younger” used cars are definitely more expensive than older vehicles
  • mileage – not without reason, this factor is at the centre of people’s attention looking for a used vehicle. Parts in a car, which has already driven hundreds of thousands of kilometres, may be worn out and require replacement. An automobile with lower mileage will have a higher value, as you can expect its technical condition to be way better



  • number of doors – five-door models are generally more expensive than three-door versions
  • body style – buyer preferences may vary, but hatchbacks, SUVs and estate cars tend to reach the highest prices today
  • equipment – the richer the equipment, the higher the price will be. Such extras as airbags, air conditioning, a modern stereo system, an onboard computer or leather upholstery certainly push up the price
  • engine parameters – cars with engines of a larger capacity and an impressive value of horsepower reach higher prices
  • transmission – vehicles with automatic gearbox usually cost more than models with manual transmissions
  • the place where the car is garaged – the value of vehicles parked in the open air may be lower than that of those kept in a garage
  • vehicle owner – cars sold by their first owner will have a different value from those previously owned by several people
  • how the car is used – automobiles which have been used as taxis or for driver training in driving schools will be worth less
  • type of fuel – whether the vehicle has an LPG system or needs to be filled up with petrol or diesel impacts the price
  • the car’s visual status – the vehicle value is also determined by whether its interior – upholstery, plastic elements – is well maintained and without defects. The condition of the body and, of course, the paint itself also counts.


Pay attention

The price of a used car also depends on whether its owner wants to sell it with, for example, a set of winter tyres – such a car gains in value. On the other hand, what adversely affects the interest in the vehicle and its value is damage resulting from accidents.



How to value a used car?

Even considering the above factors and analysing prices of similar models, it is not always easy to valuate a vehicle. However, the owner of a car for sale can get professional support.

One option is to use online calculators, which, fed with the car’s basic data, calculate its estimated value. Most of them consider information such as the make, model, engine capacity, fuel type and mileage of the car, and the price they indicate is an average result.

Those who want a reliable and quick valuation of the vehicle can use the services of a professional. An expert will scrupulously look at the car, point out its shortcomings, advantages and determine how much it is worth. Of course, such a service may cost even several hundred zlotys. Still, in a situation where the owner wants to sell the vehicle quickly and for a reasonable price, it seems a profitable investment.


The market value of a car

The market value of a vehicle is not the price that appears in the purchase contract. Instead, it is determined by comparing the prices of the same models of a specific car with similar mileage, technical condition, parameters – e.g. engine capacity or transmission type.

The car may be sold below or above its market value. The amount included in the purchase contract is the transaction price. The difference may be caused by the fact that selling used cars involves negotiations. Moreover, sellers wishing to transact as soon as possible often offer attractive financial terms.


Car depreciation

A car loses most of its value in the first three years from the purchase date – in case it was acquired directly from the showroom. Time is tough on luxury brands. After three years, such models lose as much as 30-40% of the original price. In the case of cheaper cars, the loss is about 10%.

The brands whose value drops the least are mainly Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda and Toyota. However, whether the car will be highly valued in the future strongly depends on its history. For example, suppose all services performed at an authorised garage and regular inspections are documented, with no information about the car being involved in accidents. In that case, the vehicle’s value may remain at a high level.


How can an autoDNA vehicle history report help you?


It is good to know

Buying a car is a serious investment. In order not to lose, you need to be aware of the vehicle condition and history. Examples show that it is not always worth taking a seller’s word for it. It is the autoDNA vehicle history report that comes to the buyers’ aid. It helps to verify:

  • how the car was used, when the inspections were performed, what was the mileage at the last reading
  • history of damage and information on previous registrations
  • whether the vehicle was stolen
  • price history.




Also, the report may include car photos and even notes on its equipment.

Used cars are becoming more and more expensive – the average price for such a vehicle in January 2021 was PLN 1.9 thousand more than in February the year before. That is why you should well analyse whether a car is worth buying. An autoDNA history report is a way to avoid painful disappointment, learn about the car past and not overpay for the desired model.



It is good to know

Are you interested in this article? Also check out the products offered by autoDNA – a leading provider of vehicle history reports in Europe and the US. VIN check can help you guard against additional costs associated with buying a car with an unknown past. The service is available 24/7 throughout the year. You will perform a free VIN lookup by using the Internet and having the body number (VIN) of the vehicle you want to check.



Used car value. How to value a car?
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Used car value. How to value a car?
Are you thinking about selling your car? Or do you intend to buy a second-hand car? In both cases, it is vital to estimate the used car value.
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