Kellys Blue Book – How to Use It

If you don’t want to be ripped off, it is essential that you get a car price guide before attempting to buy or sell a car. The most widely known and used automotive value appraisal guide (blue book for cars) in the United States is Kellys Blue Book. Its printed consumer blue book for cars has been available to buyers since 1993 while Kellys Blue Book online auto blue book version has been running since 1995. Both the online and consumer blue book for cars are relatively easy to use.

For the printed version, the cars are alphabetically listed by manufacturer, then by models. For example, let’s say you want to search for Toyota Corolla: sift through the pages until you reach the Toyota section, then thumb through “C”s until you find “Corolla”. If you are looking through the Kellys Blue Book New Car Guide version, what you will find beside your selection are the following: (1) a usually inflated Manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), (2) Dealer invoice, (3) New car Kellys blue book value, and (4) Optional-equipment price. You’ll want to compare the first three values. If your dealer’s asking price is near both Kellys New car value (the actual selling price of the car, which varies depending on region) and Blue Book dealer’s invoice (price the dealer paid the manufacturer for the car, minus all overhead expenses like advertising, etc.) then your dealer is offering you the car at fair market price. Remember that a car’s fair market price is generally lower than its MSRP. If the price is not quite there yet, keep on bargaining; you might even get a price lower than the blue book New car value or you can look for another dealer.

In comparison, if you are using Kellys Blue Book Used Car Guide, again find your car of choice by sifting through the pages of the blue book for cars alphabetically. Once you find your selection, you will have the following information: (1)  Retail value (the average “asking” price by dealers around the country, (2)  Private-party value (estimated price you could expect to get for a car if you personally sold it to a buyer), and Kellys Blue Book Trade-in value (typical price that a dealer would offer you for your used car). Take note that the retail and trade-in prices are higher than private party values in the blue book for cars because of the dealer’s overhead costs. Remember that there are many factors that can affect the final price of used cars. And more often than not, the actual “selling” price is lower than the Blue Book Retail value.

While using the print version of the Blue Book car prices is quick and easy, using the online KBB is even simpler. With a simple click of a button, a huge array of blue book auto information becomes available to you within seconds. What’s more, the blue book car prices and information are now updated weekly online. You only need to go to KBB website, select the type of car you want: new or used. For blue book value of new cars, click on the make and model then select your specific make or manufacturer (Toyota) and model (Corolla) after which you will be asked to choose a specific model year together with a list of options (overview, pricing, photos, reviews, free price quote). Of course, if you want to know the KBB price, click the pricing tab. If different versions or body trim of the car are available, choose the body trim that you want the blue book car value for. As an example, a car may be available as 4-door or 2-door or hatchback, etc. The KBB website will then show you pictures of your selection, its MSRP, the  dealer invoice price, and the KBB Price. If you type in your zip code, the available dealers selling the car in your area will also appear. As I said, quick and easy access to blue book for cars!

Blue book valuing a used car at KBB website is similar, but they will ask you to select a lot more options. Just follow the same steps under the Used Cars tab. For example, if you want a Toyota Corolla 2005 model, select 2005 as the specific year, Toyota for make and Corolla for model. Then select your KBB Value, whether trade-in, private party or suggested retail value blue book for cars. You will then be redirected to choose a specific version or body trim. Next, you’ll need to select your required equipment and mileage.

Don’t be overwhelmed with the number of selections: the standard items on the web page are already checked. You just need to revise or add more equipments as you see fit.

Finally, you have to choose your vehicle’s condition – from excellent to poor. Don’t worry if you don’t know the characteristics of each Kelly Blue Book Used Cars condition category because a description is provided below each KBB condition category. And if you still can’t decide, fill out a condition quiz. The KBB website will show you pictures of your selection and its pricing information to give you an idea of how much to sell or buy your car for. If you’re looking to buy, you can even search the local listings by clicking its tab.

Remember that the blue book for cars values provided by Kellys Blue Book are not the final value of the car of your choice, just its fair Market Value. Use the information you gather from Kellys only as a guide for negotiating the final price of your vehicle.