Real-World Trade-In Values



  • Glad to be of help!

  • Thanks for your help. I have another question. I'm not sure what you mean by over allowance. Here was my situation. I was going to purchase a 1998 Toyota Camry LE (coming off lease)for $13,000 from a lease officer at a local bank. Since I had a trade in (96olds 88LS) She was going to sell the car to the dealer and they in turn were supposed to sell it to me for the same amount. The Camry was a 4 cylinder LE pretty well loaded with 26,000 miles. Retail I was told was $15,000 or so. Why would the dealer give me and over allowance since they wouldn't make any profit off the Camry?
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 41,482
    Since you base your estimates on the stats from the auctions, how do you evaluate condition? Does the auction report give condition that you can rely on? Just wondering, since 2 otherwise identical cars (mlieage, equip, etc) can vary wildly in overall condition.

    2020 Acura RDX tech SH-AWD

  • The reason I suspected that it was an overallowance was that it was, frankly, pretty high.

    However, if it's off of a price that you know is a deal, by all means jump all over it!

    Perhaps that dealer has a strong market for cars like that but it is high.

  • Yes, there is some basic info. However, this comes from years of not only working the auctions but in reading auction reports.

    Example: Toyota Motor Credit runs a Lexus sale. Let's say they're running 50 1997 LS400s in this week's Lexus Sale.

    Say that 30 of them are between 30-40K Miles. I'll ignore the lousy colors as they'll be out of line, and there will always be a couple of dirt cheap cars. Say they all are doing within $1,000 of $26,000. SOme are doing $25K, some $27K. Then I see a Pearl White one go for $21K with 33K miles. I exclude that car because something was wrong with it I am certain. It probably either ran through as "unibody" (Previous damage to the car's structure), Had significant paintwork no matter how nice or was a piggy car.

    Does this work with an 88 BMW M6? No.

    Does it work with most of the cars in here? yes! Take a 97 Camry or Taurus or Accord, etc. There's TONS of em out there right now!

  • realareala Posts: 2
    The escort is in Texas, its an automatic, white, 4d hatchback (I think its an lx). Bought it used, don't think it has had any paint work.
  • Thanks for you help!
  • curt3curt3 Posts: 101
    I have got a 1998 Nissan Frontier King Cab XE. It has A/C, 5 speed manual, sliding rear glass, privacy glass, aluminum toolbox, bedliner and 29,000 miles. Also it has a 12 disc changer and cassette deck. It is absolutely flawless, waxed every two months, spotless (non-smoking) interior, lots of tread left, always detailed. So what might this truck fetch for a trade-in price?
  • Glad to be of help! :)

  • OK.. let's see.

    If it's clean (Nice paint an interior.not all dinged up, etc..) and runs well then I think that it is worth right around $2,800 or so.

    Hope this helps!

  • OK,

    I'll assume that it's a 2WD. If it's clean as you say and not in some terrible color like Bronze, then I'd peg it at about $7,500 or so.

    If it's a 4WD then figure closer to $10,000 or so.

    Hope this helps!

  • curt3curt3 Posts: 101
    Thanks for the help. Is this the "Black Book" price? My truck is a white 2WD by the way. As many have said before, Edmund's trade-in value is sometimes thousands higher than what a dealership would offer.
  • Wow,

    that was quick!

    I base my Values not only on Black Book, but also on what the cars are doing at auction. That's actually how Black Book gets its numbers.

    As you may have surmised I work in the car business :) I don't put a ton of value in guides. They are useful, but if, say, Kelley says Wholesale on a car is $14,000 for example, but 100 sold in the past month like it at local auctions for $12,000, than what's that car really worth?

    Ditto for a lot of cars that are routinely selling for "over book". So I base my appraisals on those two figures. I look in the Black Book as it's very accurate of the market conditions, especially since it's updated weekly, but I also look at the auction data. That gives me an idea of what cars like the one I'm walking around are actually selling for on a wholesale level.

  • stickguystickguy Posts: 41,482
    slightly newer than the one from a few weeks back.

    1994 (newer body style) 318ic. Red, black top, tan leatherette. 5 speed, 93,000 miles. Looked to be very well kept, drove very well, real clean. Other than the higher mileage, nothing I was concerned about.

    What would be a reasonable private sale on this in frigid NJ? One odd aspect is that it is coming off a lease, so the seller obviously won't take less than the residual. Any idea what that would be?

    2020 Acura RDX tech SH-AWD

  • mew6mew6 Posts: 2
    I'm trying to buy a new car, using my 1992 Honda Accord EX Coupe as a trade-in. I know all about Kelly Blue Book values and Edmunds rates. Dealers don't even come close to these figures. I have been to 5 dealerships and they have offered from $2500 to $4000. Am I being totally unrealistic to want $5000 for it? (Blue book and edmunds rate it $5200-5700 trade-in, good condition). How much better can I expect to do selling it myself? Even CarMax was $4100. EAch of the dealerships has said things like -- "we just send cars to auction" or "try CarMax".
  • You didnt buy that ES300??? Sheesh! :)

    OK, I'd buy the BMW if ya can grab it for about $10-11K or so. Otherwise, I'd pass.

    My guess is that they be well over the miles and theyre trying to doge that.

  • Well, I can help here.. however..

    What state/metro area are you in? Hondas arent as hot in Iowa/Kansas as they are in Southern California and the NYC Metreo area.


    Has it ever had paintwork or accident repairs?


    Condition? KBB "Good" means a very clean car without paintwork...

    Let me know and I can help. It'd have to be pretty nice to be worth $5K though.

  • curt3curt3 Posts: 101
    Is it safe to say that much of the stock being sold at auctions are the vehicles not suitable for sale at a dealership on account of high miles, crash damage, title problems, reposession, or just plain lack of curb appeal at a high-end dealership? I trade cars very frequently and on no less than four occasions dealerships have told me that my trade-ins were not the quality of vehicles which they would or even could sell on their lot.

    I was intially offered only the current auction value on my trades since the dealership stated that the ultimate fate of my cars was the auction. I learned to not accept Black Book alone because of the fantastic condition of my trades--I hand detail each one before going to the dealership, the tires are alway good, one could eat off the engines. The truth was, however, my trade-ins have been exceptionally clean and maintained and have stayed at the dealerships where I traded them in spite of the fact that I was told that my cars were headed to the auction. I had a 1993 Ford Festiva that sold at a Mercedes/Nissan dealership, a 1999 Kia Sephia that sold at a Mazda dealership, a 1995 Ford Aspire that sold at a Kia/Suzuki dealership, a 1996 Nissan Truck that sold at a Nissan dealership, and a 1991 Nissan Truck that sold at a Ford dealership. I was offered "Black Book" for all these trades except for the 1996 Nissan even though they were sold at the very lot in which I traded them. And on each occasion I was told that my cars were not quality enough to sell at the lot. This seems to be a decptive practice considering that these trades never left the lots.
  • Dear brentwoodvolvo Bill:

    I've got a car that I'm planning to trade-in that the DEALERS themselves are telling me is a pretty hot commodity. I'm very curious for your input, if you have the time. It's a red '94 Camry LE Wagon: $103k miles; options include a/c, power everything, roof rack, 3rd seat, gold package. I live in the Providence, RI area. The car is in perfect working order and I have hand detailed it, even cleaned the engine compartment, so it looks very ready to sell. Do you have any sense of the trade-in value of this vehicle, based upon NADA, auctions or other sources? I have an idea in mind, but I'm not sure if it's low, high or just about right. Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.
  • mew6mew6 Posts: 2
    It's in perfect mechanical condtion and very clean. The back bumper has many dings and scrapes -- typical (actually better than most) for cars in Washington, DC. The body itself has several very small dings. The car has never been in a major accident or had any kind of title problems. I was side-swiped twice (both gently) so, driver side mirror has been replaced once, and just the mirror glass replaced once. Also, just 65,000 miles. Fully loaded car (with options available at the time -- no CD player). I have all the service records too -- which no one even seems to bother looking at. Frankly, no one has really even looked hard at the car either -- just a loop around the parking lot for a test drive. Dealers haven't even lifted the hood much less put the car on a lift. Auction is all I hear. Meanwhile, I see CarMax is selling the same car, one year later (1993) for $8600. (They only offered 4250 for mine). Is it worth driving it to another market (Philadelphia or Baltimore) or some place out in the country,to see if I can do better?
  • Bill

    I have a 1995 M3 Green/Gray with 58,000. No accident/1 owner vehicle. It was vandalized and the entire driver side of the car had to be repainted. What is the hit I take on value because of this incident?

  • Bill, just wanted to thank you again for your info. Just traded in my Cabrio for a new Acura CL-S yesterday, and was able to get what you said the trade was worth, while also negotiating a fair price for the new car. I was low-balled on the trade by a couple of other dealers, but I stuck to my guns and the third try was the charm. Thanks again!
  • Auctions are actually not stuffed with junk. In reality, what shows up at auctions is the same as what shows up on the general used car marketplace.

    I have seen, countless times, immaculate, very low mileage, late-model exotic cars sell at auction. Such as Ferraris, Jaguar XKR Convertibles (Couple of weeks ago, it had 2K miles on it), Mercedes, etc.

    Also, where do ya think Lease returns end up? :) So it depends on how you look at the results and which results you look at. Sure, a lot of them are dealer consignment cars. This may be good or bad. After we've had a car 45-60 days, off to the auction it goes. Here's some of the stuff that we've recently wholesaled to the auction: (All immaculate)

    1997 Mercedes-Benz E420. Smoke Silver, 47K
    1999 Volvo S80 2.9ASR Moondust/Lt Taupe 19K
    1998 Lexus LS400 Silver, Navi, 42K
    2001 BMW Z3 3.0i White 600 miles
    1997 BMW Z3 2.8 Blue 24K
    1998 Lincoln Navigator Black 30K
    1997 Chevrolet Camaro Z28. Red 38K


    We also send junk there as well. Generally, if you look at results of the factory lanes (Nissan, Toyota, Ford, GMAC, etc) You'll see many clean cars. I have bought scores upon scores of cars at auction and I only buy immaculate cars.

    So like anything else there's some junk and some nice stuff. Like any other purchase of a used vehicle we have to keep our eyes open!

    As far as your cars being clean and immaculate, it is a certain help. However, hand detailing them is a waste of time, if anything, an overly clean car may make me suspicious. Also, I have a very highly skilled team of employees who work in our detail department. I can clean a vehicle to outstanding condition. And, clean or not, a car is worth what it is worth. I feel that auction and Black Book data is the most accurate simply because it's based on actual wholesale transactions. Remember, Im in the "think of things"!

    And, please do not take this the wrong way, However, the vehicles that you mentioned often trade for "low wholesale". They tend to be very, shall we say, plentiful at auctions and do not hold good resale value. I can generally buy clean Kias and many Nissans for rough-average Black Book figures. It's like I've told customers before "If I can buy a car just like yours, just as nice conditionwise, for $7,000 then why does it make sense for me to pay more on a trade?"

    Again, not to be rude, but the market does dictate used car pricing.

    Why you were told what you were by the dealers you dealt with is beyond me. I'll retail any clean car that fits my inventory. We rarely retail many pickups or lower priced cars, so yours may have sat for 30 days or so and then been wholesaled. But just about any immaculate luxury car that we take in will be retailed. However, if it does not sell, I still need to be in it where I wont get hurt when it ends up at the auction.

  • Well,

    From my data I peg it at between $5-6K. That's also a vehicle you may want to try shopping to some dealers who specialize in cars like that. you know, the used dealers who always seem to have a few nice Toyotas in stock.

    It's a lot more than I would have thought to be truthful!

    How does this measure with what you were thinking? And you're right. There aint that many of em out there!

  • Glad I could be of help!

    How do ya like the Acura?

    Bill in Orlando.
  • curt3curt3 Posts: 101
    I agree 100% that every car that I have traded has been nothing more than humble transportation--aside from the Kia, however, real gems to own. I was very fortunate to get what I did for the Kia when I traded it last year, I knew that it would be easier to sell a pair of used underwear. Since I live in a fairly small town I run into the new owners of the cars that I have traded in at local dealerships--the ones that were doomed to the auction yet sold very, very quickly. The usual comment has something to do with the cleanliness and the impeccable maintenance.

    I understand completely about being suspicious of just-detailed cars. I have seen some real disasters hiding under a mountain of silicone shine. I think that we can agree that a car that has been babied by the owner certainly has more curb appeal than a neglected trade-in that is processed by a dealership's detailers. I have seen many late model used cars riddled with swirl marks from buffers, undersides spray painted, steamed interiors, and new car fragrance to cover the ungodliest of odors. Neglected cars show their age even with great detail work. I better stop, I sound like a grumpy old man twice my age of 30.

    I actually intend to move up in the auto world. The new Mini Cooper looks like a good bet in 2002 yet a lower-end Volvo may be a wise move also. Any way Brentwood, like the Grim Reaper you do provide a much need service--even though it may be bad news to some, who can argue with what the auctions say. Thanks.
  • curt3curt3 Posts: 101
    Brentwood, what causes someone to sell an almost new Mercedes with almost no miles?
  • After driving the Cabrio for a couple of years, anything would have been better, in terms of get-up-and-go. The Cabby was a fun car on weekends with the top down, but with a 1-hour commute to a new job looming ahead, something a little more comfortable and powerful was in order.

    I took the CL-S for a spin up in the hills above SF Bay this afternoon - lots of hairpins, redwoods, etc. Four hours later, the permanent grin I developed is just now starting to wear off. This car is a rocket ship on rails!
  • Sorry I missed this one!

    If it's nice it sure is worth about $3,500-$4,000. Bear in mind, the car is 9 years old in car-terms. Even though it's got low miles, it is an old car. Look on the bright side, It was, what, $15K new?

    It's worth as much as a 1992 Jaguar XJ6 Base Wholesale! And that car was $42K new!

    As far as more money goes... you're at the upper reaches with your $4,250 offer. I'd try selling it yourself.

  • mrdietmrdiet Posts: 16
    (This is GREAT!)

    For tradein

    1998 BMW 328i 4-door 5-speed manual, 40000 mi
    Jet black, black interior
    Leather option
    San Francisco Bay Area, California
    Excellent: paint glows and interior zero wear,
    but marks on hood from hwy debris, and one scratch above rear wheel well. (Needs new tires,
    and new floormats. Will replace before selling.)
  • Well,

    As it sits, and based on the data I have from the Bay Area auctions and other data I have... I'd peg the car as it sits at about $21,000 dead wholesale. Perhaps $22K if it's clean and has good tires and no paintowkr or paint damage.

    Hope this helps!

  • mrdietmrdiet Posts: 16
    That does sound more realistic than Edmunds' $24K. My finger in the air was $20K. I've never seen a definition for "clean", I assume it refers to clean title, lack of body damage/repairs, overall mechanical condition. My car's in perfect working order. No paintwork. Only paint damage is from the highway (a couple nicks, another couple 1/8-inch impacts--not sure how to describe). Looks and operates as new, except if you get real close in summer (bright) sun. Interior is as new (except mats which are easily replaceable).

    Thanks again.
  • Well,

    I'd have to say that I feel that it's worth a bit more than $20K if it's clean. $24K? Uhhh... No.

    It's always important to not "over classify" your car, although everyone seems to :)

    An "Excellent" car (Using the KBB method) has been driven an average of perhaps 5,000 miles per year. It has never had any kind of damage whatsoever. It's in a desireable color combo (Say an LS400, then it's Pearl White with Ivory (Lt Beige) leather). It's got the "right" options and is just flawless. The ashtrays, lighters and spare tire have never been used. Every stamp is there in the service book, etc...

    It's a 3-year old car that ought to be on the showroom floor.

    When I say "clean" as a matter of speech though, here's the car I'm looking for:

    It's well maintained, and appears to be so. I.E. If I see a 1998 LS400 (can ya tell I work for lexus? :) with Pep Boys tires on it then all of the alarm bells start ringing. Why does someone who paid $55K++++ for a car feel the need to buy "4 for $199" tires? That's not a car that's been cared for at all!

    The paint is smooth and glossy and is free from paintwork, acid rain damage, bird poop stains, excessive chips, etc. The Interior is clean and well cared for. A Filthy car generally is one that hasnt been maintained properly, and you usually see stuff wrong with them.

    It runs and drives well, and everything works.

    In other words, a car that you'd be happy to buy as a used car! And the kind of cars that we want to retail. People often aren't aware of the actual massive value damage that previous accident damage/paintwork can do to a car.

    Had your car been hit in the front requiring a new hood, bumper and front fenders, I'd be telling you $18-19K right now!

  • mrdietmrdiet Posts: 16
    Aha. My car is just plain clean then, not excellent. :-) Thanks for spending all this time explaining these things; it really helps me understand the gradations of condition in the eyes of used car managers (and buyers!).

    I think most people haven't discovered this top yet, or you'd be even more swamped...
  • You ought to see the e-mail I get :)

    I did this for my benefit and yours. A Printout off of the net that's thousands above market value is only going to cause us greif. "But the net says my car is worth $19,000" Well, that car is worth $14,000, now what am I going to do? I look like the bad guy.

    And I can also show you what your car is worth. So if you go to trade it and get hit at $20,500 or 21,500 when my guess is $21K, then you know you're within reason. If you get hit at $16,500 or $24,000 something fishy be up!

    Glad to be of help! I think I heard somewhere that only something like 10% of visitors use town hall. To me, that's a shame...

  • As others have said, this topic is very interesting and informative. I'd appreciate your feedback on my potential tradein.

    1995 Toyota Corolla DX - teal green
    about 60,000 miles. Paint is clean with only a couple of small scratches. It has had the most of the front bumper replaced due to a low speed crash. I am in Dallas, Texas.
  • Glad to be of help! :)

    I'd peg the car at about $4,500 or so if all else is ok on it. It's got low miles, but it's had some minor previous damage and it's Teal. (Better if Silver or White etc).

    Hope this helps!

  • Bill, great topic!

    Could I have your help in providing me with an approximate valuation for my 1995 Volvo 850 Turbo?

    The car is in excellent condition with 66,000 miles on it. It has every conceivable option and has a teal exterior and beige interior. In the past 4 months I have replaced the tires, brakes and battery.

    The body is in excellent condition except for a couple of the usual dings from other cars while it was parked. A local place said that they could fix these dings and detail the car, etc for about $350. I am considering having this done if I decide to sell it privately.

    I live in Northern Virginia.

    Thanks for your help
  • When you say Teal, you mean dark bluegreen (The actual name of the color) or a Bright Aqua-Like Teal?

    Also, 5-sp or Automatic?

    I assume Leather, Moonroof and TRACS/Heated seats in VA.

    No paintwork, right?

    Lemme know so I can nail it down...

  • Thanks for the response



    All of the above -Northern VA (near DC).

    Also power everything, new tires, brakes, battery, 66K miles, single owner, never in an accident.


    Thanks for your help

  • This is where "all of the above" was the response. No idea how it got omitted in the last post.
  • You said: "I assume Leather, Moonroof and TRACS/Heated seats in VA."

    I responded: "All of the above -Northern VA (near DC).

    Also power everything, new tires, brakes, battery,
    66K miles, single owner, never in an accident."

    My apologies to everyone for the multiple posts
  • I am curious about the trade in value for a 1995 G-20 manual without any options, color is green/black. The car has 79k miles and the interior is clean (Just vacuumed/shampooed the interior) The exterior has some parking lot dings but no damage. The car shines up very nicely. Just applied two coats of wax. (Snow tonight ugh!!) The tires have about 15 K on them. It runs well and most service has been performed at the dealer except for routine oil changes. I am planning to buy 2001 G-20 T within a month. The reason for selling is that the middle seat does not have a shoulder belt and I can only cart around two kids. I won't put a child up front or in the middle seat. Otherwise a very dependable and good commuting car.
  • Thanks! :)

    I've seen a 5-speed TUrbo without a roof so.. I need that info to give ya an accurate price!

    I'd peg this car right at around $10-11K Wholesale if it's nice. Deduct $1K if it's a 5-speed, $750 for no roof, another $750 no leather..etc...

    Hope this helps!

  • Let's see..

    OK, I'd peg this car at around $3,000-3,500 if it's missing Moonroof, Leather and Automatic.

    You may try selling it yourself, but the color combo and equipment hurt its' value quite a bit.

    Hope this helps, Let me know how you make out!

  • Why is the color a detriment to the value?
    Edmunds puts the value at 6700 obviously too high and the Kelley blue books puts the value at 5300. Why so low with your estimate?
  • We have another car that we want to trade in and our expectations are not high. This car is a 1994 Volvo 940 Station wagon with 3rd seat, heated seats and mirrors and color Green. It comes with 4 snow tires (new) four all season tires (5K) and ugh!!! 127K miles. The exterior has some tree sap stains that won't come out but no body damage. The interior is cloth and is clean. Edmunds says 5 k. What do you think?
  • Well,

    I based it on a few values I got and off of the Black Book, which is based purely on auction data.

    I found a few with similar miles and 5-speeds, but my data showed them to both have moonroofs, and leather. These were doing about $4,000-5,000 or so. Now, deduct leather and Moonroof, and the car is, in my opinion, clearly less desireable and valuable. I also saw data for several Automatics with Leather and Moonroof that sold for under $6,000.

    Right now, for most cars, Dark Green is not a hot color. Silver or one of the lighter metallics, or Black outside of the sunbelt would do better. Green with Black is a weakish color combo to be truthful. I work for Lexus, and the new LS430 is the hottest car we have. If you want an Ultra-Luxury LS430, get on a long waiting list. Particularly for Silver, Gold or White. However I do have one you can buy, NOW. It's on the showroom floor actually. It's Midnight Pine (Super Dark Green) with Black Leather. I'm also in Florida, where are you at? This may be less of an issue up north. But, as a rule, it's not a popular color combo.

    Also, any car with a Luxury Badge with "stripper' equipment is going to get weak bids. For example, we NEVER order ANY ES300s, GS300s or RX300s without Leather, Moonroof and CD unless its' a special order. When Lexus does force one or two on us, they turn into pumpkins.

    Also, I got $4,340 from KBB in "fair" condition, which is a more accurate classification for a 1995 with that mileage category. It's a lot closer to what they are selling for at auction than what you may find elsewhere.

    Again, I may not always tell you what you want to hear, but it's coming from someone "in the business".

    On to the Volvo..

  • I'd peg that car at $4K or so also.

    However, you mentioned snow tires. You must be in the northeast. Add $500 or so the the G20 values.

    I'd do this before I traded that Volvo in.

    Put it in the paper for $7900/bo.

    I bet it sells. Privately owned, high-mile Volvos are still pretty marketable.

  • wendynwendyn Posts: 11
    Hoping you can give me some insight. I have a 1994 Honda Civic EX 4 door sedan. It is an automatic, Charcoal, 66k miles, a few dings but runs great, and I live in NJ. I priced it through Edmunds in early November and got a "clean" trade in price of $8226. I just priced it a month and a half later and the "clean" trade in price is $6493. That is over a $1700 difference! I can't figure out if I just did it wrong the first time or if suddenly Civics went way down in value! KBB says $5785 for "good" condition so I am assuming I did something wrong.

    Can you tell me what you think it is worth as a trade in?
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