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If you want to sell or buy a pre-owned vehicle, you may wonder how vehicle appraisal estimates are generated. During the appraisal process, auto experts assess the market value of a vehicle. There are a number of factors that appraisers look for while assessing a vehicle’s value. This appraisal system goes beyond the well-known “Blue Book” value of a vehicle to the price that particular vehicle with its particular history can command in the current market. Learn the elements that go into a comprehensive vehicle appraisal as you look for vehicle specials to buy or get ready to sell your used vehicle.

Year, Make, Model, Series and Features

The first and easiest elements of a vehicle appraisal are simply the year the vehicle was manufactured, its make, model and series. You may also be asked about the vehicle’s color and style as some colors and styles (such as red or sport) are in higher demand than others in the same vehicle line.

  • Year. This is the year the vehicle was manufactured, not the year it was first sold or the year you bought it.
  • Make. The make of the vehicle is its brand – such as Toyota, Ford or Jaguar.
  • Model. The model of the vehicle is its specific brand name – such as Camry, Mustang or S-Type.
  • Series. The series of the vehicle is what level it is – this usually relates to features, such as GL or Limited.
  • Features. Features include “extras” such as a sunroof, custom rims, Bluetooth technology, a surround sound speaker system and others. These can add to the car’s resale value.

Mileage and Condition

The hard part of a value assessment comes next. Mileage and vehicle condition are closely related in the appraisal process. For instance, a car may have high mileage but an unblemished appearance and excellent maintenance record. Or a car may have low mileage but have an accident record and multiple exterior dings and scratches. The vehicle will be assessed in three main areas during this part of the appraisal.

  • Exterior. The exterior condition of the vehicle includes the windows, doors, front/back bumper, lights, windshield wipers, paint, frame, tires and rims and more.
  • Interior. The interior condition of the vehicle includes the seats, door panels, upholstery (leather or cloth), floor mats, pockets and compartments, sound system, lighting and more.
  • Mechanical. The mechanical condition of the vehicle includes the engine, gaskets, battery, transmission, brakes, alternator, air conditioning and more.

Geographic Location

Finally, geographic location can influence your car’s final appraisal value. Certain vehicles may be in greater demand in certain areas. As well, supply and demand for vehicles from certain years can raise or lower resale value. For instance, if you are seeking used cars for sale in O’Fallon MO, you may discover that many pre-owned vehicles go on special at the beginning of the year because the new models have just been released by the manufacturer. This can be a great time to snap up pre-owned vehicles that are still in great condition!

About the Author: Harry Falwell has worked in the auto industry for 30 years. He works as an auto appraiser for new and pre-owned vehicles as well as vehicles involved in collisions.