Saving Money

3 Ways To Research Car Prices

researching car prices, car purchasing tips, buying a car tips

We’ve held off for over two years, but we’ve finally reached the point where we’re going to become a three car family. My son has been the primary driver of our car, with my wife and I mainly using our van. There’s been some times where we’ve had to adjust schedules due to car availability, but we’ve been able to make it work. But, my son has been saving his money, and after a few months of looking he’s found a car that he really likes.

My son is about to purchase his first car.

A critical part of buying a car is to check if the asking price of the vehicle is fair. There are several different websites that can be used to determine if the asking price is fair, and how much wiggle room there might be for negotiations.

Kelly Blue Book

Started as the Kelly Car Company actually selling cars. By using data from the sales at the dealership, they compiled a book listing estimated car values publishing the first Blue Book in 1926. Over the years it has become the standard in determining car value.

National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA)

The NADA guide states that their values are determined using two different types of information: transactional data and market data. Transactional data comes from actual sales data, whereas market data includes economic factors that include fuel price, employment figures, interest rates and incentive data.


Unlike other price valuation guides, Edmonds is only available online. They also do not give any information regarding how they get their data, so there is some question as to the accuracy of their information.

I decided to test all three online services and see how close they would be to each other. The car my son is looking at is a 2013 Honda Civic EX. The three pricing guides gave a fair market value within a few hundred dollars of each other which gave me confidence in the price I should expect to see for that type of vehicle.

Finally, if you’re coming to this posting because you’re looking to buy a new car, and you need auto insurance consider going with USAA, they have really solid customer service and good rates.

How about you, Clever Friends, have you used any or all three of these price valuation guides?  Are there others that you use?

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Brock Kernin


    • It’s a great resource, Alexis, glad to hear you’ve been using it. Next time you have the opportunity, check out the others listed as well and see if they agree. If they don’t, there may be additional wiggle room in price negotiations!

  • My oldest boy is 13 and I hate to think of how soon we’ll be car shopping with him!! We always use KBB, but the last time we shopped I check Edmonds, too. I’m not sure that I found it to be that reliable compared to what I was seeing on used lots and in private sales. I haven’t tried NADA, so I’ll have to remember that one next time.

    • Yeah, I have a “*” next to Edmonds as well….especially since they don’t give any information regarding how they get their information.

  • I knew nothing about car buying when I bought my car (and didn’t have any family nearby to help me!) but went through USAA and was able to get a discount on top of the negotiated price.

    Another price valuation resource is NADA-

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