How to Use Kelley Blue Book to Find a Car’s True Value

Buying a new car can be an intimidating endeavor. Haggling with a car salesman is a dangerous game – they’re professionals, negotiating car prices every single day while the rest of us may only do it once every several years. We’re certainly at a disadvantage, but not in the ways that we think.

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The single greatest advantage one can have is knowledge – in this case, knowledge of a car’s market value. Without knowing a car’s true value, you can’t know whether you’re being offered a fair price and certainly can’t negotiate a good deal. Fortunately, there’s a resource we all have access to: Kelley Blue Book.

What Is the Kelley Blue Book?

Kelley Blue Book, or KBB for short, is a website dedicated to finding the fair purchase price and MSRP – Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price, or sticker price – of the dealerships in your area. It gives you the tools to search up any new car, select this year’s or last year’s model, choose your feature package and compare the prices of the dealerships near your zip code.

You can explore a vast range of cars, compare their specifications and even compare their consumer ratings. The wide variety of options and selections may seem intimidating at first, but the site is actually very intuitive and easy to navigate.

Once you’ve decided which car to research, you’ll be shown a page full of information about your chosen car. It will include the MSRP, the invoice price that the dealers pay to the factories, and most importantly, the fair purchase price. This is the price that people in your area have been paying for this car, and this is the most important number on the page. This is the number you should be aiming to buy your new car at, though to get an exact total number you’ll need to use the tools on the page to factor in rebates, tax and financing.

Financing Interest Rate Calculator

The financing interest rate calculator is a great feature of KBB. There will be no surprises in store for you if you know the interest rate being offered by a dealership, since you can just enter it into the calculator and map out your first few payments. This will put a real number in your hands, which is a tremendous advantage to you, since 2000 dollars is much easier to understand than 8% of the car’s total cost.

With all this in consideration, don’t forget to think about how geography is impacting your options. How far are you willing to travel? If you live in a rural area with few dealerships, the prices offered may not be as low as they are in an urban area with high competition. Local taxes, cost of transport and local demand are all other factors that impact the prices offered, and by changing your location on the site you can see if and how these factors impact the prices in different areas.

Ratings on Fuel Economy, Horsepower and Consumer Opinions

Kelley Blue Book also rates each car in fuel economy, horsepower and consumer ratings. You may find one car you love, but upon review find that it’s outranked in fuel economy and consumer rating by another cheaper car.

You should always look into cars that rate higher in areas that you prioritize, since even if you decide you don’t like the higher rated car as much, you’ll be able to look at its price point as another comparison and argument for a lower price for the car you do decide to buy.

There are a lot of factors to consider to find the best price for a new car, but with KBB at your disposal, you have all the information required to get the car you need for the price you want.