How to Find the Blue Book Value on a Car

by Bree Johnson

If you’re thinking of buying a new car or selling your old one, you should use the car's Blue Book value to help you make informed decisions based on the fair market values for cars in your area of the country. The Blue Book value of a car can offer some insight into ways you can increase your car’s value and help you get a fair price for your car when you sell it or trade it in on a new one. Read on to learn how to find the Blue Book value on a car.


Visit the Kelly Blue Book website by selecting the Resource below to find the Blue Book value on a car.


Select the new or used car pricing guide from the website’s main page.


Click “Search by make and model” if you’re researching a new car, or “Search by year, make and model” if researching a used car.


Enter your zip code to find the Blue Book value on a car based on its location. The value of a car largely depends on the area of the country in which it's located. For example, a car may be worth a few hundred to a few thousand dollars more in a large West Coast city than it is in a small Midwestern farm town.


Select the car’s year, make and model from the drop-down menus available and click the “Go” button.


Determine which Blue Book value you need. You can select from trade-in value, private party value, and suggested retail value. The trade-in value represents the amount of money a dealer may subtract from the sale's price of a new car when the older car is used as a trade-in. Private party values represent the amount of money a car is worth when sold privately without a dealer’s help and suggested retail values represent what the car may sell for on a dealer’s lot.


Select the car’s trim. This feature will automatically select the standard equipment for the make and model of car. If you’re unsure of the car’s trim, look on the car’s title or in the car owner’s manual for the information you need to complete this section. If you don't have access to the title or owner's manual, use your good judgment to select the appropriate options.


Select the car’s engine, drivetrain, and transmission from the choices available on the equipment screen. Refer to the car owner’s manual or use your good judgment if you’re having difficulty with this step


Enter the car’s mileage. High mileage can severely affect the Blue Book value on a car. The lower the mileage of the car, the more it’s worth.


Select the car’s equipment. Be sure to double check the car’s standard equipment and select any extra or aftermarket equipment that has been purchased to find the car’s actual Blue Book value.


Assess the car’s condition in order to find the actual Blue Book value. There are four choices available in this category: excellent, good, fair, and poor. You can consider a car in excellent condition if it looks new and is in excellent mechanical condition. Most used cars will fall into the categories of good, fair, or poor condition. There are guidelines available beneath each option to help you accurately assess the condition of a car and find its Blue Book value. If you’re having difficulty determining the condition of the car, click the “Take the condition quiz” option at the top of the condition page.


Click "Continue" to get the car's blue book value based on the information you entered.

About the Author

Bree Johnson began writing professionally in 2004, penning articles for Internet SEO companies before breaking into copywriting in 2008. Since then, she has written ad copy for some of the world's most lucrative Halloween costume retailers, including Halloween Adventure and New York Costumes. Johnson majored in medical sonography at Forsyth Technical Community College and real estate while living in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

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