Where can I find real prices of used cars?

The concept of a real used car price is an illusion because there actually is no such thing, at least not as any kind of objective standard or measurement. Used cars generally sell for whatever one party is willing to price them and another party willing to pay for the vehicle. Because of this practice, the same car in the same condition can be sold for a variety of different prices, depending on negotiation. However, there are ways a consumer can get a price range of what a particular vehicle should approximately sell for. One easy way to view a list of auto insurance quotes is by entering your ZIP code into the FREE comparison tool above!

where can I find real prices of used carsFind the Averages

One of the most applicable ways to price a use car is to follow the same practice used for figuring out the price of real estate: compare the comparables or “comps.” This means using a listing of recent local sales for the same kind of vehicle and condition and what the transactions ended up being. When a sufficient amount of information is gathered, an average can be taken of the dollar figures to arrive at an estimate for a similar car.

However, people don’t post what they actually bought a vehicle for, so the next best thing is to use newspaper classifieds. This approach may be a bit high since it then only averages advertised prices, but it still provides a good range of potential costs for a particular car.

Use Someone Else’s Work

A number of services provide estimated used car prices for a variety of car models and brands. The more established companies provide online website search engines that can be used for a variety of car conditions and added accessories. These services are generally free as they make their revenue from advertisers rather than car buyers.

The pricing estimates are based on:

  • The car criteria
  • The car condition and age entered by the user
  • Zip code

With this information, the service then compares known data pulled from dealers and DMV car transaction data and provides a price range. Again, the figures are not specific, but they give a user a good idea of what he will likely pay for a used car.

Take Into Account Insurance and Maintenance

real prices of used carsBuying a car, even a used one, includes operating costs as well. Too often, buyers only focus on the immediate purchase price and not how much the car will cost to drive as well. This includes insurance costs as well as repair and fueling. When those figures are added in to the equation, a buyer could be surprised how much one particular vehicle brand and model may be compared to another, even in used condition.

A number of websites exist that allow users to freely access cost possibilities for both auto insurance as well as fuel consumption and repair costs. With a bit sleuthing and some spreadsheet work, the difference between a used truck, a used wagon, and used sports car can become very apparent in overall cost of ownership.

Buyer Beware

Many times a really good used car price means a seller needs to unload the car quickly. This could be because of hidden problems. For example, many used cars in snowy areas suffer frame and body corrosion due to salting of roads during the winter. Much of the damage can be on the undercarriage of the car, unseen to a general review of the outside of the car standing next to it.

A buyer could easily get stuck with a rotting frame without knowing it at the time of purchase, just because the price was really good. Because used car sales are almost always selling cars in “as-is” condition without warranties, buyers have only themselves to blame for not inspecting a low-priced vehicle carefully.


Don’t forget, car insurance can be a major expense that varies from car type to car type. So when finished pulling together research on a specific used car model’s prices in your area, still make sure to run a search by ZIP code of what the potential insurance quotes will be. Doing so can provide that last piece of needed information before making a big commitment on a used car purchase.

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