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How Much Is my Car Worth?

Picture of Volkswagen Car and stacked coins

Main Factors
That affect car values

  • Icon of car exterior

    Exterior Condition

    Do you have scratches, scrapes, stone chips?

  • Icon of car seats

    Interior Condition

    How well-worn are your seats? Are there burns, rips or tears?

  • Icon of car with price tag

    The Market

    How well does the condition of your car compare to others on the market?

What's it worth to you?

You're thinking of part-exchanging your car, you have it valued and it's not a pleasant surprise. We look at how a car valuation figure is arrived at.

We accept that the estate agent comes to our home, has a quick look round and then comes up with a valuation of our home; but when it comes to someone valuing our cars or vans, we're often surprised or unhappy with what we're told the vehicle is worth. Why is that?

Car in a shopping trolley

Online Valuation Tools

There are many online valuation tools on the internet and you can find the Swansway Motor Group car valuation tool here. The problem is that these tools can only give you a very approximate value for your vehicle.

To get a true valuation, your car needs to be seen and touched, by someone who deals with used cars on a daily basis.

They know how the market is currently performing, the condition your car is in and how desirable the make and model is.

As yet online valuations can only be based on an approximate value. You get an approximate value using Swansway Motor Group's Valuation tool:

How do we value your vehicle?

Our Sales teams value hundreds of cars every month; this means they are in touch with the market, how it's performing and how quickly your vehicle's likely to sell. They know what an immaculate example of a vehicle looks like; what's average and what's at the lower end condition-wise.

You may think your car is immaculate and to you it may well be, what you have to remember is that for the market. Its condition may well be seen as just average and that will impact its value and to how much you'll be offered in part-exchange.

Vehicle being inspected by technician

What are we looking for?

How clean is the vehicle inside? Are there burns, rips or tears in the seats, or do they look well-used. Is the carpet or headlining dirty or scuffed, are there holes in any of the upholstery.

These all count, because if you sell your car to a garage, whether it's a franchised dealership such as Swansway, or an independent one, they ultimately have to sell your car on and that means they'll have to rectify any problems and that comes at a cost.

So, although the interior of your car could be brought back to a good condition, the cost involved in doing this has to be reflected in the valuation you receive.

Picture of clean car seats

Damaged car bumper

You may well believe that the exterior of your car is perfectly reasonable for its age; again you could be right, but you could be wrong. The expectation of a customer buying a used car or van, is that the vehicle will be in great condition and that includes no stone-chips etc.

When we value your car we look to see if there are any scratches on your door around the keyhole; is your bonnet stone-chip free or are there a number which will need to be fixed. Are there scratches or dings requiring repair.


Could you accuse car dealerships of nit-picking when valuing your car? No, definitely not. You have to remember that the car you want to part-exchange is going to become someone else's pride and joy. They're not going to want a scratched or chipped car, any more than you would; therefore the condition of your car really matters and along with the mileage is the bigger influencer upon how much your vehicle is worth.

Each scratch, ding or stone-chip has to be repaired before the car can be offered for sale and there is significant cost in doing that, which again is reflected in the car valuation.

Image of dented car door

Would I get more if I sold it myself?

You want to get the maximum amount possible for your car, so it's tempting to believe that popping it on one of the online car sales sites is the answer and of course, in some cases it can be; the expectations of a private buyer from a private seller are not the same standards expected from a franchised dealer, the stone-chips and dings are accepted.

However, you only have to see how many cars are for sale on these sites, how much competition your car will be up against and there are tools on the sites which you can use to see what price vehicles similar to your own have been achieving.

If it's not significantly more than you're being offered in part-exchange then you need to think whether it's worth it. Selling your own car is time consuming and requires a nose for trouble, as sadly criminals out there waiting to scam the naïve.

Car with For Sale sign in window

How to protect my vehicle's value

There are some simple things you can do, to ensure that when you want to change your car, its immaculate condition and will get the best valuation possible:

Use your garage

Take the junk, bikes, canoes, drills and DIY equipment out of your garage and keep your car in there. It will offer year round protection, less chance for bird-lime and tree-sap damage to your paintwork.

Park in less popular parts of the car park

All sorts of scratches and dings happen in car parks; walk a few extra yards, park in the less popular areas and you’ll save your vehicles a lot of pain.

Look-out for the kerb

Alloy wheel damage is really unsightly and can be fairly costly to have repaired. The main cause of this damage is hitting your vehicle’s alloy wheel against the kerb. Keep a careful eye out when parking, especially parallel parking and keep your alloys chips free.

Service your car regularly

Have your vehicle serviced in line with the manufacturer’s schedule. Failure to do this will have a massive impact on your vehicle’s value; check your Service Book is stamped and up to date.

Keep records of work done

Any work that’s done on your vehicle, keep the invoice and the description of what’s been done. This can all help when it comes to improving the value of your vehicle.

Replace with quality tyres

When your tyres need changing, resist the temptation to replace with non-branded ones. Firstly the vehicle will run better on the manufacturer’s recommended tyres and secondly a car with a mish-mash of different tyres, will be worth less.

Clean your car

If you keep your car clean, inside and out, you’ll be protecting its future value. Keep an eye out for any bird dirt and wash it off immediately as it can eat into your paintwork. Remember to wash your alloy wheels regularly, as the build of brake dust can cause problems.

Keep your mileage down

Try not to go over what the average usage is considered to be, which is around about 10,000 miles per year; if you’re doing lots of miles, your vehicle is going to be high mileage, which will significantly affect its value. If you can’t avoid mounting up the miles, then stick to all out other tips and you’ll maximise its value, even as a high mileage vehicle.

If you take note of our tips and take care of your car, you'll be maximising its value when you come to part exchange and hopefully reducing any nasty surprises!

Click Here to get an Online Valuation