Figuring out the value of your used car

In 2008, one of the Dodge Chargers from the TV show Dukes of Hazzard went up for auction. More commonly known as the General Lee, the car was one of several that was created for the show. In all, over 300 General Lees were built, but most were destroyed by various stunts performed on the show. Around 20 of the bright Dodge Chargers still exist. The final sale price is unknown but conservative estimates figured the car would be sold for around $250,000. While this is an outstanding sale price for a Charger, most used car sale prices are more modest. Here are some variables that determine the value of a used car.

Who is selling it?
If you are purchasing the car from a private seller, the price of the car will almost definitely be lower than the price of a similar car at a retail dealer. In most cases a dealer’s price is going to be around 20% higher than buying the same car through a private channel.

What are the specs and condition?
To help remember the items you need to know about a car you’re researching you can think of the sentence “Your Mom Makes Terrific Oat Meal.” The first letter of each word can help you remember you’ll need to know the Year, Make, Model, Trim, Options and Mileage. All of these can either raise or lower the value of a used car. In addition, you’ll also want to know the condition of the car. Does is have lots of dents, or does it appear practically new? The condition of the car is extremely important in determining the price.

Where is it being sold?
Although the location of the sale doesn’t always play a big role in the price, you should still check the sale prices for similar cars in your locale. Other used car sites can help you determine what the going rate is for the car you want in your city.

Knowing the value of your car can help you get some leverage in negotiating the price, and by extension, the amount you’ll need for your auto loan.