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How Much Should I Charge For My Used Car?

Setting the right asking price is key to making a good deal on your used car. Set the price too high and shoppers will just scroll on by. Set the price too low and you miss potential profits. Setting a competitive price means calculating your vehicle’s value using the right information – like how much comparable vehicles have actually sold for nearby (not just what they’re listed for) and any events that have occurred in the vehicle’s past. It's also important to know that selling a vehicle privately versus trading it in could have very different values.

Get your car valuation journey started, and learn more about the differences in values for private sales and trade-ins, with our Value Range tool.

Many factors impact how much your car’s worth:

Accident history and auto values

Understanding the history of your vehicle is an important step to the selling process. Every vehicle has a unique history, which could include things like odometer readings, previous damage records and more – which impacts how much it’s worth.

With a CARFAX Canada Vehicle History Report you can get the history of your vehicle, as well as a History-Based Value report that takes the information from the history report as well as many factors that are unique to your location to provide a tailored value for your vehicle. Be sure to show the Vehicle History Report to provide third-party validation of the vehicle’s history and help provide peace of mind that any damage has been repaired properly and the vehicle is in the same condition you say it is.

Lien status

Did you know over 40% of the vehicles searched by CARFAX Canada have an active lien? A car lien is an interest in the car that the owner grants to another party (such as a bank, financial institution, or other party), usually as security or collateral for a debt, and it remains attached to the vehicle until that debt is paid – even if that vehicle changes hands.

As a buyer, you could end up responsible for any money owing on the vehicle you purchase, so it’s important to make sure a vehicle is lien-free before you buy.

How maintenance impacts used car value

Keeping up to date with regular service like oil changes, tire rotations, alignment and brake inspections increases the value of your used car by providing the new buyer with assurance that the vehicle has been properly cared for. You can charge a little bit more for a vehicle with records of regular service history than without, because, if the buyer questions your asking price, you can provide them your service records as added peace of mind that the vehicle is in good shape.

Here’s a checklist of things you can do to maintain your car.

Odometer reading and current condition

Any used car buyer will want to be confident in the condition of the vehicle they’re considering buying. Be upfront about anything that’s occurred in the vehicle’s history and what has been done to repair it – and provide them with a car history report to back up this information. Be proud of your vehicle’s ‘clean’ history, or be upfront about damage that’s occurred in the past.

What is your odometer reading? The average Canadian drives 20,000 km per year, with 55 per cent of that in the city, and 45 per cent on the highway. If your odometer reading is lower than average – celebrate that! You can likely charge a little bit more for your vehicle. If it’s higher than average, this may be something you can explain. If you racked up the kilometers making highway trips commuting to work, share this info with the buyer, as this type of travel causes less wear-and-tear than driving in stop-and-go city traffic.

Has anyone smoked in the vehicle? Was it used to transport pets? These things can also impact its value so be sure to consider them when setting your asking price.

Setting an accurate asking price right from the start is one key to a fast, smooth used car transaction. Consideration of the many factors influencing your vehicle’s value is an important part of knowing how much to ask for when you sell your used car. Get started with our Value Range tool.