Although the Kelley Blue Book dates to the 1920s, it didn't publish a consumer edition until 1993. By 1996, consumers could visit the company's website, KBB.com, to find values for new and used cars. You can still calculate values from book editions, but it's easier and quicker to use the site's online tools, which give you a free value in just a couple of minutes. There's no guarantee that you'll get this exact price for your car, but it's a useful starting point and negotiating tool when you sell, either to a private party or dealer.
Find a Car's Value on KBB.com
You can check the value of your vehicle on the KBB website by selecting the Check My Car's Value button on the home page. To start your valuation, enter data in various steps to help the site identify pricing factors as precisely as it can. For example, the tool asks you to:
- Enter your zip code.
- Enter your car's make, model, year and mileage.
- Choose your car's style.
- Add equipment if your car has optional extras above the standard specs.
- Choose whether you're planning a private sale or dealership trade-in.
- Describe the condition of the car from the preset options of Excellent, Very Good, Good and Fair.
The site has a list of specific guidelines in the Choose a Condition section to help you decide the condition of the vehicle. As an overview, you should use Excellent if your car looks new and is in top operating condition. If your only issue is a few small cosmetic defects, classify it as Very Good. Good cars don't have significant mechanical problems but may have some cosmetic defects that can be fixed, while Fair cars have cosmetic problems that need repair or even replacement. Note that the site doesn't give valuations for cars that don't at least meet its Fair condition requirements.
If you still aren't sure which condition to use after reading the guidelines, take the site's Quick Condition Quiz.
Once you've entered all your details, the site goes to the Your Blue Book Value page, which shows you a range of prices for both private sales and dealership trade-ins. The Private Party option shows you one price for each condition classification; the Trade-in to a Dealer option also shows a low-high range. Valuations start at Fair and go up in stages through Good, Very Good and Excellent. The better the condition of the car, the higher its value.
- You might not be able to value a new car that is only a few months old. The Blue Book only provides valuations when it has enough data on used sales to create dependable values.
- The Blue Book database doesn't contain values for luxury cars such as Ferrari and Lotus, as their low sales data don't allow for reliable valuations. KBB recommends that owners of these cars arrange private valuations.
Find Kelley Blue Book Values for Older Cars
Blue Book values on the Kelley website officially go back 21 years. If your car is a year or so older than that, check the site anyway, as it sometimes has a couple of extra years in its database. For example, as of April 2015, you can search for vehicles back to 1992.
To find the value of an older car, you can't use the website tool. However, the company produces a collector's edition of the Blue Book that covers vehicles that are more than 21 years old going back to 1946. You can subscribe to the book, buy a single copy or request a certified copy of a specific value by calling Kelley's customer service department on 1-800-258-3266.
You can also use the KBB website to find cash offers from local dealers and place classified ads to sell your car.