How will you know that you’re getting a fair offer when it’s time to sell your car? A car’s value is affected by a variety of things. Some of these are directly related to the vehicle, such as its odometer mileage, condition, and options like leather seats and premium tech. 

car's value

Other considerations are more about the brand reputation and present market conditions than they are about the particular vehicle. Here are the main aspects that determine the value of a used automobile and how to get the most out of it when selling or trading it in a car.


The odometer reading on a car is among the most important determinants in its resale value. As per the Federal Highway Administration of the Department of Transportation, the average amount of miles driven per car in 2020 was 10,523 miles, but there are estimates that put it as high as 15,000 miles. 


A vehicle that has been in operation for three years would average 45,000 miles at the top end of that scale. The value of your automobile may suffer if the odometer reading is significantly higher than the car’s age. However, if the vehicle has spent much more time resting in a garage than in traffic, you’ll probably sell it for more. 

There are various guidelines on what constitutes “too many miles” in the case of a used car. Over a similar distance, a car that is usually driven at highway speeds might end up being in better shape than one that is mainly driven in stop-and-go traffic.

Current Car Condition

Alongside mileage, the present condition and prior accident history are important factors in determining a car’s value. Many vendors overvalue their cars and give them higher ratings than they deserve, but even small damage including scratches and dents will reduce the car’s resale value.

Furthermore, a car’s worth will be harmed by defective technology, damaged or torn seat fabric, and corrosion. To receive the most money, sellers should attempt to repair minor damage before offering the vehicle.


Automobiles without basic features such as air conditioning or power windows are normally less attractive than those with all of the modern conveniences. On the other hand, those with high-end interior technology and materials are generally more valuable. Aftermarket features such as tinted windows or a tuned exhaust can depreciate a vehicle’s value since their allure isn’t universal.

Market Conditions

In addition to the above-mentioned vehicle-specific attributes, market variables, such as supply and demand, will affect the car’s value.

A prominent illustration is the inventory shortfall in 2021: As new vehicles became more difficult to come by, buyers flocked to secondhand cars, causing their prices to skyrocket by 30% in just a year.

As a result, automobile owners wishing to sell or trade-in a car in its wake may be able to earn more money than they anticipated, especially for older used vehicles.

Fuel Prices

The value of a secondhand vehicle is also affected by fuel prices. When gas costs fall, demand for bigger vehicles such as pickup trucks and full-size SUVs grows, increasing the value of those vehicles. Fuel-efficient automobiles, on the other hand, become more attractive and valuable when gas prices rise.


Reliability and Brand Appeal

Other elements that influence a used car’s worth include the popularity of the model, its reliability rating, and its brand image. Used automobiles with a good reputation for dependability are usually more valuable than others on the list. Popular models and brands with a broad appeal will usually keep their value better than less desirable vehicles.


How to Increase the Value of Your Car

Although you can’t control every factor that influences how much you can obtain for your old automobile, there are a few things you can do to maximize the trade-in or resale value of your vehicle: