When it's time to upgrade your vehicle, the first step is offloading your current vehicle. You have two options: sell it or trade it. Both options have their pros and cons, but you first need to know how much your car is worth to accurately estimate your new car budget. 

Fortunately, there are valuation tools out there to answer the question, "how much is my car worth?" We'll cover these tools and offer a more streamlined alternative to them below. 

Vehicle Valuation Tools

To get an accurate market value for your vehicle, you can scour the internet for countless hours finding similar cars for sale and their prices. However the year, make and mileage aren’t the only factors to consider when determining a price. You need to consider the condition, Carfax history, colour, location, financing rates, and more!  Or, you can navigate to a car valuation service that has already done the legwork for you. 

Sites like Kelley Blue Book and Canadian Black Book have sourced data on new and used cars to determine their base value, the value of options added, and more. They then scale the resale value based on the condition and mileage of your vehicle and whether you plan to use it as a trade-in or do a private sale. 

There can be a substantial difference in your vehicle's value based on whether you  trade-in or sell privately due to tax incentives. For example if you have a Honda Civic that can be sold privately for $10,000 in Ontario. It will be worth $11,300 if valued at $10,000 as a trade in. When trading in your vehicle with a dealer you don’t pay taxes on the difference between your vehicle’s value and the new vehicle being purchased. Thus your total savings when trading in on the example above is $10,000 + $1,300 = $11,300.

These valuation sites are free, but there's no guarantee you'll get an accurate valuation for your vehicle. These services give you a rough price range, but the ultimate sale price depends on the demand for your vehicle in your local area  and ever-changing market conditions. 

Determining Your Car's Private Sale Value

If you choose to sell your car on the open market, you've got to set an initial asking price. Canadian Black Book and Kelley Blue Book can each give you a good ballpark range for the value of your car. 

Using Canadian Black Book

If you're using Canadian Black Book (CBB), start by selecting the make and model from the drop boxes at the top of the screen and click "Search." As an example, we'll use the Ford Focus. On the next page, click "Get Average Asking Price."

As prompted, enter the information specific to your vehicle. For our example, we'll use K2H1A1 for our postal code, 2018 for the model year, and 50,000 for our kilometres. Click "Next."

Now, choose the trim. For our example, we'll select the Titanium trim. If there were optional body types, you will choose that next. For our example, we'll select "4D Sedan."

Next, choose the options your vehicle has and its colour. For our example, we'll choose "No options available" and "white."

On the next page, CBB asks the vehicle you plan to purchase when replacing your current vehicle. For our example, we chose a 2021 Ford Mustang and said we planned to make this purchase in six months or longer. 

On the next page, you can enter your personal details if you like, or you can skip it by pressing the "Skip" button. 

On the final page, you'll get the average asking price for your vehicle. For our example vehicle, it rang in at $18,675.

Using Kelley Blue Book

On Kelley Blue Book (KBB) click the "Select Make" dropdown box and choose the make of your vehicle, then do the same for the model and click "Search." We'll use the same 2018 Ford Focus Titanium 4D Sedan for this example. 

Scroll down to find the year, fuel type, and transmission type that matches your vehicle on the next page. Then click on the trim level that matches your vehicle. 

On the next screen, click "Private Party Value," then enter the kilometres and your car's condition. For our example, we chose 50,000 km and "Very Good" condition. If you want to add optional equipment, click the "Edit Optional Equipment" button. 

KBB will now list what it expects car buyers to be willing to pay for your vehicle. 

For our example Ford Focus, KBB estimates a private party value of $18,005 and a fair price range of $17,198 to $18,813. 

Determining Your Car's Trade-In Value

When trading in your vehicle, CBB and KBB are great resources but expect the values to be lower than the private party value. This is because dealerships must account for their resale price and any reconditioning the vehicle may need. 

Using Canadian Black Book

If you're using CBB, select the make and model from the drop boxes at the top of the screen and click "Search." We'll continue to use the same Ford Focus as our example. On the next page, click "Get Trade-In Value."

Enter the information specific to your vehicle as prompted and click "Next." We'll use all the same details as before: K2H1A1 for our postal code, 2018 for the model year, and 50,000 for our kilometres. 

Now, choose the trim. If there were optional body types, you will select that next. Click "Next." We'll continue with our previous example, which was a Titanium trim 4D Sedan.

Next, choose the options your vehicle has and its colour, then click "Next." For our example, we'll choose "No options available" and "white."

On the next page, CBB asks you to specify the next car you plan to purchase when replacing your current vehicle. We'll use the same vehicle as our previous example: a 2021 Ford Mustang that I plan to buy in six months or longer. 

On the next page, you can enter your personal details if you like, or you can skip it by pressing the "Skip" button. 

On the final page, you'll get a low and high trade-in value for your vehicle. For our example vehicle, it rang in at $14,360 to $15,640.

Using Kelley Blue Book

On KBB, the process is nearly identical to finding the private party used car value. Click the "Select Make" dropdown box and choose the make of your vehicle. Click the "Select Model" dropdown and choose your vehicle's model. Click "Search." We'll use the same 2018 Ford Focus Titanium 4D Sedan for this example. 

Next, scroll down and click the year, fuel type, and transmission type that matches your vehicle. Then click on your vehicle's trim level. 

On the next screen, click "Trade-In Value," then enter the kilometres and your estimated condition of the vehicle. For our example Ford Focus, we chose 50,000 km and "Very Good" condition. 

If your vehicle has optional equipment, click the "Edit Optional Equipment" button and choose the options it has. KBB will now list your vehicle's value as a trade. 

For our example Ford Focus, KBB estimates a trade-in value of $12,758 and an expected trade-in range of $11,931 to $13,586.

Other Variables That May Impact Your Car's Price

While these valuation tools offer great insight on your vehicle's value, they aren't all-knowing. Some variables can still impact your vehicle's value that KBB and CBB don't account for. Here are a few variables to keep in mind: 

Service History

Car buyers want a vehicle that's sure to last, and a full record of the vehicle's service history is a great way to show your vehicle was meticulously maintained. With these records, you can expect a buyer to pay on the upper end of the price range for your vehicle. 

If a buyer tries haggling with you, use this impeccable service history as a selling point for your car. The best way to showcase this is saving all your service invoices or bringing your vehicle to a dealership that records your service history on it’s Carfax report

Vehicle History

Vehicle history is another concern in the car buying process. If a car's been in an accident, flooded, or had other damage, it could lower its value. If your vehicles never had any of these issues, and you want to prove it, simply pull a Carfax report to show a prospective buyer. 

A clean accident record should help ease their mind and get you top dollar for your car. 

Retail Pricing vs. Dealer Pricing

Many people that try to sell their vehicles privately compare their vehicle's price to similar ones being sold by dealerships. After a couple weeks of not being able to sell they end up lowering the price but wonder why dealerships can sell the same vehicle for more. 

If you were purchasing a Toyota Corolla would you rather pay $15,000 to Joe from Mississauga? Or buy that Corolla from a large, reputable established business that has sold hundreds of similar vehicles that month for the same price. Most people opt for the latter.

When you buy from a reputable business like Clutch you are typically getting:

  • A fully reconditioned vehicle (new brakes, wiper blades, oil change, tires etc.)
  • Freshly detailed vehicle 
  • Post sale services (Any issues with it after you can always go back to the dealer)
  • The ability to finance at low interest rates vs paying outright in cash
  • Guaranteed the vehicle details match what is being sold to you, dealers are regulated by OMVIC. Private sellers are not regulated and can make false claims when selling a vehicle
  • Convenience of the paperwork being handled for you

For all the added value above, who wouldn’t want to buy from a reputable dealer? 

Get a Valuation and Sell Your Vehicle With Clutch

Getting a valuation from KBB or CBB never guarantees you'll get the private party or trade-in value they provide you. They are simply estimates based on data. Then there's the hassle of going to traditional dealerships to get a valuation while they try to sell you into another vehicle or listing the car for sale privately and spending time on emails, texts, calls, low ballers, tire kickers, and no shows. 

You can skip all these headaches with Clutch, Canada's first 100% online vehicle retailer. We have an online vehicle valuation tool that will give you an estimated value after entering just a little information about your vehicle. 

Then if you are happy with your estimated range, simply upload pictures of your vehicle, and a specialist will reach out with a firm offer.

All done from the comfort of your home at a time that’s convenient for you. No more taking time off work to bring your vehicle to the dealership and waiting for a used car manager to do an in-person inspection. Experience the quick and hassle free future of selling your vehicle today.

You can use this offer to trade in your vehicle on a quality Clutch pre-owned car or sell it to us. Either way, we'll pick the vehicle up and handle the paperwork, saving you time and stress.