Here's how cars are appraised

Here's how cars are appraised

Updated on September 23 2023

METRO MANILA, Updated August 4, 2022 – You're probably thinking of buying a new car or planning to sell or trade-in your used car.

To be in a better position to negotiate, you’ve to get all information about the old car and have it appraised so you get the proper estimate of the vehicle’s worth. There are ways to appraise the value of a car: through a dealership, professional appraisers, lenders and an online guide.

But the final cost may vary depending on where you take your car. That said, you also have to factor in the location, the market and the type of buyer you are selling to.

What do they check during an appraisal?

A car appraisal can be formal or informal.

A formal appraisal requires a specialist to determine whether the make and model are outside modern standards, meaning a car that is more than 20 years old, which can’t be assessed by a modern checker like Kelly Blue Book and Edmunds.

Meanwhile, the informal method done by a car dealer uses a simple and practical way by judging it based on mileage and the way it drives, along with assessing its value against the local market price.

So, what are the defining factors of the car’s worth during an appraisal? These include:

Make and model

Car make refers to the brand and the model is the car's name.

Both of these have a direct influence on the valuation process. For example, Mitsubishi is a car make and Lancer is the car model. Usually, the more popular the brand and name are, the higher is the appraisal value is.

But other factors are also considered. A car model has several different body shapes and trims levels, which may likewise affect the valuation.

Mileage and year

Mileage (indicated on the odometer) is an important factor.

Normally, a car runs an average of 10,000 kilometers a year. A low-mileage car is a good deal, but not all the time. Whether low or high mileage, it’s worth considering the age of the car and its history.

With age, some parts of the car may need to be replaced.

Optional features

Accessories like a GPS navigation system help for a higher valuation, along with upgrades and modifications that you installed.

Bring duplicate keys, a spare tire, tools and other miscellaneous parts during an appraisal. Otherwise, if the accessories aren’t complete, the dealership won’t give you the acknowledgment for them.


Before the appraisal, go to a reputable body shop for any existing damage like dents and scratches.

If possible, make the car appear attractive and in good condition and invest a little amount as it might be worthy for added appraisal rate. But looks are not just everything.

Appraisal options

Do your homework with care.

Don’t just sell without a proper appraisal. Decide whether a particular negotiation is just right for you. Here are places you can get your car appraised.


To be knowledgeable about your car, a visit to a credible auto dealership is required.

This would take less than an hour and can provide you with a clear idea of the range value in the current market. Be reasonable about the asking price and don’t let them devalue the price on any minor flaws.

Online appraisal tools

There are appraisal tools available online.

On top of Kelley Blue Book, cars imported from the U.S. have valuations on websites like Edmunds. Meanwhile, for European cars, the EU-car price is the go-to standard. These websites allow you to enter/input all necessary information about the car in their data features and retrieve the fair market value.

In addition, websites like eBay or Craiglist can provide “a real-life example of what others are currently asking and receiving for similar cars.”

Lender appraisal

As part of the loan application process, banks provide a valuation of your current vehicle. Through financing, your lender includes an estimate of its value in their loan calculation.

Where to sell your car?

You have ways to sell your car and a lot of ways to buy it too.

You can always negotiate because appraisals are mere estimates. As an owner, you’re always in a better position to make the asking price.

Automart.PH provides a car market value comparison tool to include the average price of a car that was bought or sold in the last quarter, with car features on the site are the year, brand, model and trim. We can also average out the market price of each car and also determine the possible price by which the car will be sold.

So are you ready to off-load that old car of yours? At Automart.PH, we can help you through our Sell-My-Car program. And don't worry, we give a fair assessment of your vehicle to turn your car into cash as quickly as possible.

And for buyers, we also offer a wide selection of used cars at great prices, ranging from compact cars to pick-up trucks, that suit your needs.

And if you’re looking for the finest used cars, check out Automart.PH Certified Used Vehicles. These are restored until they feel like new again. They also come with a three-day money-back guarantee and, for Gold Certified units, a one-year warranty.

Automart.PH Senior Content Creator VJ Bacungan contributed to this story.