Find your car's market value

Looking to trade your car in or end your finance agreement early? You'll need to know your car's market value

BuyaCar team
Feb 28, 2019

If you’re looking to replace your car, then it's vital that you know the value of your current vehicle, as this will help you budget for a new model.

For cars that still have outstanding finance, it can help you work out whether uou can afford to end the agreement early and trade it in for a newer, or cheaper model.

The first step is to get a valuation, based on your car’s age, mileage and condition. You can get an initial estimate from BuyaCar’s valuation calculator, which is based on general industry data. This is known as the book price of the car.

The more detail you include about your car's condition, the more accurate the estimate will be. You’ll then have the option of getting a personalised quote, which will be more accurate.

You can also check used car deals to see the prices that similar cars are currently being sold for - bearing in mind that these are approved used cars, which have been inspected, tested and guaranteed. The price you’re offered is likely to be lower.

Using your car’s market value to get a new model

The book value of your car can be used to calculate the cost of changing the vehicle. Once you’ve found the car that you’d like next, the price of this car - including any discounts - minus your current vehicle’s market value is the cost to change.

It’s the most important figure to bear in mind when you’re trading in a vehicle. You might find that one dealer or website will make an extremely generous offer for your car, which is above its market value. But that may come with the condition that you buy your next car from the same place without any discounts, which could make the cost to change higher.


Ending your finance agreement early with a high car market value

You may be able to end a finance agreement early if your car’s market value is more than the amount that you still owe on the finance agreement. That’s because the lender will be able to take your car and sell it to obtain the money that it is due.

Personal Contract Purchase (PCP) deals allow you to hand the car back at the end of the agreement with nothing more to pay. If your car is worth more than the amount you owe, then you’ll often be able to hand it back early and walk away. You may also be able to use the difference between its market value and your debt to put towards a deposit on another PCP deal.

Lenders may also allow you to terminate a Hire Purchase (HP) agreement early if the car is worth more than you owe. However, they will take the car back and you’ll have nothing to show for it. If you see an HP deal through to the end, you will be the owner of the vehicle.


Read more about:

Latest advice

  1. Car finance: who can be a guarantor?

  2. What is very poor credit car finance?

  3. What is bad credit?