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Kelley Blue Book (KBB) is considered one of the most reliable resources and for determining the value of a used car, and an authoritative pricing guide for selling, buying, and trading cars. The company provides customers, businesses, and consumers with accurate vehicle pricing information. Automotive experts acknowledge that KBB is one of the most popular and trusted guides in automotive pricing. Though Kelley Blue Book was first published in 1926, since 1995, the Blue Book price guide is available online for convenience.

What is Kelley Blue Book?

The Kelley Blue Book is a private party service that provides a valuable starting point used for reference in a used car sales between a buyer and seller. The value determined does not include any warranties, nor the car’s actual condition and local market factors. KBB is a nationwide pricing resource, so local or regional prices will vary depending on the zip code or location you provide in the initial query form. Pricing ranges from region to region in part to reflect the seasonal differences that may impact a car’s condition.

To be sure, KBB is a great resource for consumers and dealers alike. It offers a consensus listing that helps people buy used cars at fair prices every day. Because the KBB is a guide, the prices and information contained in it suggest a range of prices that a used car should sell or buy for. For buyers, the guide usually has two price suggestions. The first is if you buy the car directly from the previous owner, while the other one is if you buy the car from a dealership. If you are selling the car, the KBB will offer the suggested list sale price in a private sale and the trade in value to a dealer.

How KBB Determines Used Car Values

KBB receives used car prices on a daily basis from a variety of resources across the country, such as wholesale auctions, independent and franchised dealers, rental fleets, auto manufacturers, lenders, and private party transactions. KBB then uses a proprietary algorithm that analyzes pricing data along with historical trends, current economic conditions, industry developments, time of year, and location to determine KBB values.

The value listed for a car in the Kelley Blue Book is determined by Kelley’s own formula that takes many different factors into account. A car’s value will change depending on what information you put into the forms on the KBB website. For example, when you change the number of seats, add or remove upgraded features, or indicate the mileage on a car, its value goes up or down to reflect the specific car’s features and condition.

Whether you are looking to buy, sell, or trade in your used car, transactions will differ from one car to the next. The value of cars is adjusted based on different factors including, mileage, the vehicle age and model year, its exterior condition—rust, dings and dents, the interior condition of upholstery or seats and features like power locks, windows, and seats, or an upgraded sound system. The transmission, automatic or manual, is a determining factor in the resale value. The car’s service and accident history are also considered, as is the number of previous owners. Finally, if you are trading a car in or purchasing one from a dealership, the value can be determined by the availability of current stock of similar cars.

Finally, KBB is a leveraging tool and a valuable pricing guide and resource for sellers and buyers. Dealers utilize the KBB price guide to leverage historical transactions in determining a fair market range to list the vehicles on their lot. Knowing the trade-in value of your car or the selling price allows you and the dealer leverage in negotiating a deal. Before purchasing or selling your car, be sure to find out its estimated value by visiting the KBB website.

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