How to Figure the Blue Book Values for Vehicles Older Than 1989

The Kelley Blue Book is widely accepted as an accurate, but also fair value of a vehicle to both the buyer and the seller. Historically, Kelley Blue Books have been available in bound form, but you can now access Kelley Blue Book information on the Internet by answering a few questions about the vehicle in question. Unfortunately, neither the website nor the most recently published books go as far back as 1989 or earlier. You can, however, still determine a value for your car using the Kelley Blue Book.


Step 1

Locate a used car archive copy of the Kelley Blue Book. You can contact the Kelley Blue Book Company directly by phone at 800-258-3266 and press option "2" at the prompt. This connects you with customer service, where you can buy an archive copy of the most recent Blue Book that will have your vehicle's information. You can also contact local libraries or credit unions to ask if they have an archive library of Kelley Blue Books.

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Step 2

Locate the make, model and year of the vehicle you wish to value. Near your vehicle's information is a chart with several condition types. Select the proper condition of the vehicle in question. You can select from "Excellent," "Good" and "Fair." "Excellent" means the vehicle is in like-new condition with no paint or bodywork. The engine is in near perfect condition. "Good" means that the vehicle may have had some work done in the past, but it is in serviceable condition. "Fair" indicates that the vehicle has cosmetic or other problems.


Step 3

Follow the chart from your selected condition to the "Value." Select the proper value depending on your intentions for the vehicle. The "Private Party Value" is the amount you might reasonably expect a buyer to pay for the vehicle if they purchased it directly from you. "Suggested Retail Value" is the amount a dealership might expect to charge for the same vehicle in the condition indicated. "Trade-in Value" is the amount you might expect from a dealership to use the vehicle in a trade-in situation. Compare your vehicle's Blue Book value to others of the same condition in local newspapers, shoppers and online classifieds to ensure your price is equitable to current value of the vehicle. Adjust as necessary.