What's my car worth?

You've no doubt seen the TV ads and are probably aware of websites (including our own) which offer car valuations online, but have you ever wondered how these values are calculated and what types of things can have an impact of how much your car is worth?

Read on to find out everything you need to know about the things which affect the value of your car plus our top tips on maintaining it's value.

What affects the value of a car?

People often wonder what their car is worth, and often it's just out of curiosity rather thinking about a change in the near future. A car’s value can rely on several different factors, the main ones being:

  • Age
  • Condition
  • Mileage

There are a number of other influencing factors which can also have an impact including the number of owners, reliability, service history, size and specification. The time of year could also affect the value especially if you're trying to sell a convertible in the middle of winter!

Age: How does age affect how much my car is worth?

Age plays a key part in many car valuations. Typically, the older the car, the more depreciation has had time to take effect, which results in a lower price in your resale value. This is due to newer, more up-to-date models being introduced and demand decreasing for older, more ‘old-fashioned’ models. For example, a Ford Focus from 2007 will have depreciated considerably, as several newer models have been launched since. 

Having said that, if you're the owner of a classic car it could be a very different story. A 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO is to date the most expensive car sold at auction fetching a whopping $38,115,000 (£29,866,151)!

Mileage: How does mileage affect how much my car is worth?

Perhaps one of the most obvious value factors is mileage. Lower mileage cars will always be more attractive, as essentially they haven’t been used as much. The more miles your vehicle has clocked up over the years, the less it will be worth. On average a vehicle would be expected to do around 10,000-12,000 miles each year, but if the mileage counter suggests the car has been to the moon and back, it's going to be worth a lot less!

Estimated annual mileages in the UK for the most common vehicle categories

Catergory Average Annual Mileage
4x4 9,419
City Car 6,331
Convertible 7,264
Executive 11,138
Lower Medium 9,450
Mini MPV 7,751
MPV 9,613
Small Executive 10,542
Sports 8,053
Supercar 6,028
Supermini 7,464
Upper Medium 11,830
Average Mileage 8,994

How does service history affect how much my car is worth?

Service History is very important, as this proves how well a car has been looked after. A car which has a full-service history, especially where all the work has been completed at an approved dealer, will be much more valuable than a car with no service history or only a partial history. If the car hasn't been serviced and maintained properly, it is more likely to break down or develop a fault – not what anyone wants.

Is your car well maintained? Start by booking your Service, MOT or general checkover with us here.

How does the number of previous owners affect how much my car is worth?

If a car has had lots of owners, it could significantly lower the perceived value to some people. It is more of an attractive purchase if the car has only had one previous owner, or if an older car, just a few owners. More owners could suggest people may have not liked the car, or the car in question started to cost money and inevitably led to the sale. Of course, this is just speculation as with many used purchases, but is definitely an influencing factor to some when it comes to buying their next car.

How does reliability affect how much my car is worth?

Other factors include the cars reliability record. Some cars have a reputation for being reliable, whereas others have a reputation for being unreliable. Cars which are known to be reliable will hold their value better as they have a higher demand. People generally want a car they can rely on and not cause them problems, although in some cases you will find a group of enthusiasts who love a particular kind of car in spite of the problems it may bring!

To get an idea of how your vehicle’s reliability is rated, you could check on the most recent car satisfaction surveys which are undertaken by various motoring publications.

How does the size and the type of vehicle affect how much my car is worth?

Size is also a factor when selling your car. Larger cars with bigger engines tend to depreciate quicker, as the running costs tend to be more expensive, resulting in people favouring one's which will be more economical to run.

Specification, unsurprisingly will also affect a cars price. The higher the specification, the greater the desirability for that particular car especially in these modern times when the good old tape cassette has been forgotten and Apple CarPlay has taken over!

Top tips on how to maintain the value of your car

  • Maintain and look after the car - make sure it is serviced by an approved dealer who uses genuine parts where possible. Not only will this help retain your car's value, it will also keep you and your family safe by making sure your car is in tip top condition.
  • Try to keep your mileage as low as you can. Consider walking or cycling to your destination - not only will you save money but you'll feel better for it!
  • Avoid modifications which put stress on the engine, and only appeal to a few, select buyers.
  • Sell at the right time of year – selling a 4x4 in the middle of July (despite our typical British summer weather!), or trying to pass on your convertible to a new owner in December might not be the best idea.
  • When buying a new car, consider options and features which will be desirable when you come to sell it.
  • Sell before a new model is introduced.
  • Keep a record of all repairs, history, etc. This will create a case for a well cared-for car.

Want to know how much your car is worth after reading all this? Click here and fill in our Car Valuation Form & a member of our team will get back to you.