How do you Determine the Market Value of a Used Car?

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In The Ultimate Car Valuation Guide, we demystified the whole car valuation process. Make sure you check that article out for a broader overview of car valuation.

But put simply, how do you determine the market value of a used car?

Unlike new cars, when trying to find the market value of a used car you have to worry about many factors, including condition, any modifications you may have added and kilometres.

If selling a used car in the future, it’s also important to keep in mind that the rate of depreciation will mean the market value of the car will be lower than it is today.

If you think this is getting a little technical, fear not. We’re about to take you under the hood and show you how we determine the market value of a used car.

What can affect a used car’s market value?

Your car is likely to have value to you in more ways than one. Maybe you have memories of road trips and nights at the drive-ins tied to this car, maybe you’re begrudgingly selling your sports car to make way for a people mover and entering a new phase of your life.

Whatever the case may be, sentimental value isn’t recognised on the market, so how do we objectively value a used car? What factors should you take into consideration?


Looks aren’t everything, but they are important.

Making sure your car is clean and in good condition is a bare minimum, not only as a courtesy to others but to raise value. Not everyone will necessarily appreciate scuffs and scratches sustained from a road long travelled.

Throwing out any junk you’ve accumulated and giving it a thorough clean up can add $$ to your car’s value, which is a great incentive for a tidy up!


Buyers want to know the vehicle they’re looking to buy has been cared for.

Now that you’ve taken care of your car’s appearance, making sure your car is up to date with servicing, and getting a mechanic to fix any scratches, dents and mechanical issues is a sure fire way to increase your car’s market value.

Hopefully you’ve taken care of your vehicle throughout its life with timely servicing that has been recorded in your car’s logbook.

Some people also highly regard cars that have maintained servicing through the manufacturer or dealership over the course of its life, but most are happy with a regular service carried out by a qualified mechanic.

Having a record of all servicing, parts and upgrades will add to the market value of your vehicle.


In 2020, the average vehicle in Australia travelled 12,100 km per year.

Granted, the pandemic may have had some impact on those numbers, but this helps us get an idea of the use of the car over time.

When it comes to your car’s odometer, the road less travelled is going to be preferred by buyers. So keep in mind that a large number of kilometres can decrease its market value.

If the average distance travelled is 12,000 kms a year, then we know that a 10 year old car might have around 120,000 on the odometer, give or take.

Whereas if a car the same age has something closer to 300,000 km on the odometer, this might indicate that it’s been used in excess, possibly even commercially, and is more likely to need repair and upgrades.

To put it plainly, a 10-year-old car that has clocked 150,000 kms is going to hold more value than a car the same age that has done 250,000 km, so if you can reduce your use ahead of time, you may be able to increase your car’s market value.

If your car is coming up to a milestone figure, say 100,000km or 150,000km, it might be wise to see it before it ticks over, as this will not only influence your car’s market value, but will also determine your listing in ads and keep you on the right side of buyer searches.


Modifications made to your car over the years, depending on what they are and the type of car you have, can increase or decrease your car’s market value.

While many people make modifications to their car for many reasons, the difference between customisation that sells and customisation that repels is the benefit to the buyer.

Modifications that improve upon the performance, comfort, and enjoyment of a car are more likely to net you more money then add ons that are for personalisation, because you’re narrowing your prospects to a more specific market.

For example, adding parking sensors, heated seats, or alloy wheels is beneficial to just about any type of car, and is desirable to just about every buyer.

However, a car that has been lowered, has custom decals, or a modified exhaust system may appeal to less people, and for those who don’t want these specific modifications but want to buy your car, they have to then bear the cost to revert these changes.

Want to determine the market value of your used car?

Get an accurate valuation of your vehicle today with CarBuyers. Our valuation experts come to you and provide expert insight into the market value of your car.

If you’re looking to sell and agree on price, we will buy it the same day too!

Get started with an instant valuation and get the best price for your car, without the hassle.


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