Used Car Pricing: Make, Model, Mileage

What information goes into used cars pricing?

When someone puts a price on the car there is one fundamental fact that goes into it. How much is the market prepared to pay for the car. Ultimately though, the market isn't especially rational, so that you can find two similarish cars at very different prices – because one is in fashion and the other isn't. You can also find cars built on the same platform (e.g. chassis and engine) but one is slightly more luxurious than the other yet costs double the first. What people have done though is work out what gives a car a certain value, which is why you can go on a website – enter some information and you get told how much your car might be worth.

To start with, you would enter the make and model of your car, and the year that it was registered. These are fundamental aspects of the pricing of the car as this is what you are comparing your car too. If a 1999 Mercedes C200 goes for $20,000 and another 1999 Mercedes C200 goes fro $14000 then you would have to ask what happened to the latter. It may be because of other details, but really there would be suspicions if the same make and model from the same year cost very different amounts.

Then you would select the trim of the car. So, is it a 3 door or a 5 door, car? Is it a compact car or a coupe or a convertible car or is it an estate car? This is important as you can get different prices for different trims.

Once you know the make and model and year and trim of the car the next information that goes into pricing the car is its condition and equipment. You need to select the engine type, which in some cars can be quite a wide range. You then select the drive of the car – is it front wheel drive, rear wheel drive or four wheel drive. Then you look at the transmission. Automatic transmissions will add to the price of the car ahead of manual transmissions. You can also have different speeds of auto and manual transmissions, and the more options the higher the price will be.

Then you need to have the mileage. You could have exactly the same make, model, trim, engine, drive, transmission but if one car has 40,000 miles on it and the other has 20,000 miles on it then that can make a massive difference.

Finally, you have the equipment in the car, like power steering, auto-climate control, cruise control, the hi-fi options, satellite navigation. These all make a difference to the pricing of the car.

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