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You decided it’s time to replace your car but you’re on a budget. So you begin the used car hunt but many people don’t realize the resources available to help you in the search. Yes, you can explore dealer inventories via the internet but what about accurate pricing or even better, what others paid in your home market.

In today’s connected world finding a car online is easier and faster than going from dealer to dealer. In addition, the internet is a treasure trove of information regarding vehicle prices in your local markets.

Determining the value of a used vehicle you are shopping for can be tricky prospect. Dealer prices always vary. They may find a particular car is in high demand and increase the price. Dealers, of course, want to make a profit off the cars they sell, thus they will ask and get as much as possible.

But it comes down to the value of a car and what’s fair. Arguably, the best way to determine value is to check the source considered to be the authority of vehicle pricing, Kelley Blue Book.

Probably one of the best concepts in recent years for helping consumers is the idea of basing a car’s price on what buyers in the same area paid for the same car. Kelley Blue Book collects and researches information specific to your local market. They tabulate the data and build a price structure that dealers have grown to rely on. But even us, as everyday consumers, can use these sources as well to find what a fair value is for a car.

For example, say you’re shopping for a family SUV, such as a Toyota 4Runner, or sedan, such as a Mazda6. You can determine the car’s value by visiting Kelley Blue Book online. At the top of the page, roll-over ‘Car Values’ and select ‘New & Used Car Prices’.

From here, you’ll be selecting year, make and model of vehicle you’re looking for, including the features and options you would like in the car. You’ll then select a ‘Price Type’. Car prices are different depending whether the seller is a dealer or private party. Dealer prices are higher than a private seller. If you can find a private person selling their car, you will pay less. The downside is you’ll have a harder time finding the exact car you want. You’ll have better luck finding a closer match at a dealer. And some dealers will even help you find a car.

No matter if you wish to buy from a dealer or private party, Kelley Blue Book will provide you a gamut of prices which they call their Fair Market Range. This is an estimate of what a consumer can expect to pay in their area for the car. They also show the Fair Purchase Price, which is typically represented by the midpoint in the Fair Market Range.

And always, before you sign a contract, visit vehiclehistory.com and dig into the car’s past. Just by entering the car’s VIN, you can find out if the car was adequately maintained, was it ever in an accident, and if so, did the airbags deploy.

This is all pretty powerful stuff for car shoppers. Having access to up-to-date information about the car they are shopping for helps buyers determine the target price for negotiations and can make you a much happier car shopper.

Pocket

Free Vin Lookup

Vin Lookup

The Vehicle Identification Number is located in many different places on a car. It is very common to appear on the dashboard and/or in the drivers side door sticker. You can do a free VIN look up to check vehicle problems on the button above.