Car trade-in appraisal numbers

I’m currently shopping around for a used car, and while at dealerships, have tried to get a sense for my own car’s trade-in value (something beyond the basic Kelly Blue Book quotes). During one of these stops, the salesman who I was working with actually did a walk-around inspection of my car, and sketched out an appraisal form for me. Since I wasn’t in active negotiations for one of the cars on the lot, the salesman said he couldn’t quote me an actual monetary offer, but instead wrote down some code numbers which, evidently, car appraisers use to assess value. The salesman told me to, ‘look into’ the numbers on my own, but several internet searches have found nothing.

The salesman assigned my car a ‘line number’ of 60–in his notation, this looks like a large, upper-case ‘L’ with the number 60 written above and inside. He also scored the ‘net appraisal’ as 48. Anyone happen to know appraisal language? Thanks in advance.

I don’t know anything about “appraisal language.” However, w/regard to ascertaining the value of your car, I have found the published KBB estimates a bit high. When I need to sell a car I do check websites such as KBB, but to get a better idea I checkout AutoTrader, being sure to check similar vehicles no more than 500 miles away.

He just looked at the exterior, then wrote down some cryptic numbers? My money’s on “he was fucking with you.”

Your car could have any number of mechanical faults that would impact the value far more than the exterior condition. Bad brakes, a slippy transmission, etc. Heck I had a car (which was totalled in a tornado, so it never came to the point of being inspected for sale) which had something wonky going on with the console backlighting. It would turn on and off, especially in cold weather. Electrical problems are notoriously hard to fix.

I have a feeling, that, whatever that number meant (if it means anything) when it came time to do a deal, the dealer would turn around and say, “well, the value is actually less because I didn’t know about x,y,z when I told you that.”

Go to Edmunds. They will give you dealer trade-in, dealer retail, and private party prices. Be brutally honest when gauging “condition” however.

KBB is worthless for what you want.

At least in this part of the country (northeast US), Galves seems to be pretty accurate. In addition to being more up-to-date than KBB, they also collect info on the winning bids at auto auctions. They also price based on what a dealer would be expected to pay for a vehicle - none of this trade-in vs. private party stuff.

The downside is that they market mainly to dealers - there’s no free version. However, here is a useful page with info on trading your car in, along with (currently) an offer for a week of online access for $9.95.

Way back when I was into cars it was the little NADA guidebooks (yellow) that we considered to be the used car price bibles. Can buy them in bookstores & hot rod shops.

NADA is also what the US government uses for cars it seizes. The values tend to be low… which makes me think they’re realistic.

Love Edmunds. It seems to be right on because one of the last cars I bought I tried to get lower than what they said and I couldn’t…dealers let me walk. I did get for what they said though.

NADA guides is what we used when I sold cars, and the actual offer we made on the car was usually between the Poor and Fair numbers. Condition is everything. If the salesperson didn’t give you a figure, that means the dealership is going to fiddle with the numbers depending on what car you pick out to buy. This fiddling will always be in their favor. If they won’t give you an offer on your car, find another dealer to work with. They are only going to play games with you.

Trading in a car will always net you the least amount of money, but for people who are still making payments, it’s usually the only option. In order to sell a vehicle, you need the title, which you won’t have if it isn’t paid for. (Usually…some states vary.) If you have the title, you could take it to Carmax and sell it to them for about the same as what a dealer will offer you on trade, or you can sell it privately, then take the cash to your dealer to use as down payment.

But seriously, your cars actual cash value (or ACV) doesn’t change because you pick Car A over Car B.

You’re making the assumption that a dealer cares about any of that.

Based on experience, I think they are far more interested in turning that car around with max profit and least effort. I’ve known people that traded in cars with various problems and the car is for sale by the end of the day at a pretty high price - and no way they found and fixed the problems that quickly.

Here’s the code:

60—the number of ounces of beer you will need to drink to keep from killing him when he gives you a ridiculous lowball offer.

Seriously, though. Until you pick out a car to buy, they will juggle, jiggle, and jive with the numbers on your trade in until you go crazy.

Say your car books for $5k and they offer you $8k!!! Wow!!!..but they jack up the price of the car you want by $3200. I think that car salesman (except the ones who post on this board) should all be killed and their bodies left in the street as a warning to others who contemplate doing business like they do.

You’re not too far off but: only those dudes at those sleazy used car lots are that bad. Mind you, Toyota salesmen are almost as bad. Oddly, the nicer car you shop for, the more professional the sales-staff, when I bought my Volvo there was very little sleazy (Ok the guy doing the numbers did briefly mention undercoating and such, but dropped it after one tentative question)