NADAguides FAQ

NADAguides Frequently Asked Questions

Values and Pricing

What is considered when appraising a vehicle?

NADAguides collects data from more than 1.5 million vehicle transactions each month. That's more data than any other provider. Our longstanding alliances with a range of top industry sources, manufacturers and dealers make it possible.

The NADAguides database grows every day with these inputs, plus others:
  • Auction transactions
  • Retail sales data
  • Asking prices from classified listing sites

NADAguides has a strong history of collecting the most comprehensive industry data whether it be automotive, RV, motorcycle, boats, etc. Because we've been gathering it for so long, we've built the industry's most robust data archive. This information forms the foundation for the NADAguides values. Our team leverages the latest technology, deep knowledge of each segment's market, statistics, analytics and econometrics to derive our values.

We continually build on our inputs, knowledge and process in order to provide the best insight - and the best value to your business.
Are the values shown in U.S. or Canadian funds?
All values shown are in U.S. funds. Our analysts review sales transaction data for publishing U.S. values only. We do not have any relationships with any data sources in Canada and the support for valuing Canadian business transactions is minimal. The size of the country and the volume created in the country is fairly small.
Where can I find values for a vehicle that is being imported from another country?
Countries outside of the United States do not collect vehicle sales data like we do which makes it difficult to provide values for these types of situations. Without data on transactions, values would not be accurate and merely just speculation. We DO export guidebooks to distributors but we are not aware of how they are being used on their end.
How do I obtain a historical value from a previous month or year?
NADAguides has an extensive Reference Library and offers its services to anyone in need of outdated information on automobiles, boats, motorcycles, manufactured homes, and much more. Values may be obtained for a prepaid fee of $40.00 per value. If the information you are requesting is available, requests will be processed within two (2) business days and may be emailed, faxed or mailed. If you are interested in this service please email information@NADAguides.com
Do you provide values for Kit or Replica Cars?
No. Due to variations in building standards and quality, we do not list values on Kit or Replica Cars.
When will NADAguides.com have 2015 used vehicle values?
Vehicle values are developed by NADAguides market/data analysts, based on many sources of information including reports of actual transactions. In order to determine a value for any given vehicle, there must be enough used sales transactions in the marketplace. Vehicles and vehicle options are valued throughout the year, as information becomes available.
Are the used car values on the website based on actual sales? And is the clean retail price a typical dealer asking price or a final selling price? Do the used car values on your website include sales tax and destination charges?
The data is the guide value for the vehicle itself. Clean retail is an asking price, and with all guides like NADAguides, please keep in mind that vehicles sell for both higher and lower than the guide value; this is true of all our values. The data sources used to determine the used car values are actual auction and retail sales transactions, asking price information, as well as numerous macro- and micro-economic factors. These sources are reviewed by our editors every month. No the prices do not include taxes because sales tax varies in each state. However, NADAguides publishes regional values for use by dealers, lenders, insurance companies and taxing authorities. We also provide these same values for consumers on the website without any regionalization. Keep in mind there could be a few hundred dollars difference between the National and Regional values. Also remember that when purchasing a vehicle there are origination and DOC fees with the lender. These costs refer to the cost involved for titling, registration, and all the paperwork filed on behalf of buyers in their particular state by a dealership. Most states regulate the DOC fees that a dealer is allowed to charge. There is usually a maximum amount, but dealers can charge anything up to that amount. The charge is uniform, meaning it is on all deals. In some states dealers have to post the amount charged, usually in their Finance Office where customers sign their paperwork. Destination Charges must be added to the Base Invoice and Base MSRP (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price) in order to get the final price; these are not included in our values.
What exactly does wholesale value mean and does NADAguides provide this value for used vehicles?
Wholesale refers to the price a dealer would pay for a vehicle at an auction or from another dealer who is selling a vehicle. NADAguides does not publish a wholesale value; we simply publish three trade-in values that reflect a number close to the referenced wholesale value. Wholesale value vehicles still need to be reconditioned and in most cases, transported to the purchasing dealer's location.
What would cause the value of a vehicle to go up over time rather than decrease?
When there is a significant decline in new vehicle sales, the market has far fewer trade-ins. Programs such as the Cash for Clunkers program can remove a large block of vehicles that possibly would have re-sold. Rental car companies may keep their fleets in service longer, which also causes a shortage in used car supply resulting in a strong demand. Until new car volume returns to about 14 million, you will continue to see some upward pressure on some segments. Another contributing factor could be that your state has a higher tax rate per $100.00 of value. With dealers and private parties looking to purchase used vehicles and the supply limited, prices in most segments have increased.
Why can't I find a value for my special edition vehicle that was imported to the United States?
Vehicle values are determined by NADAguides analysts through careful review and analysis of vehicle auction and retail sales transactions. Special edition vehicles typically have limited production runs producing a small quantity of units which may limit the transactional data available to NADAguides. NADAguides will only value the most popular options, equipment, and vehicles and will not make any attempt to track or value the special edition option as a result of low production numbers and insufficient amounts of data. Another issue is that the editors review data by vehicle VIN and if the vehicle you are searching does not have a unique VIN, the results cannot be tracked. Without sufficient supporting data, an accurate value cannot be determined. If you do find a value for your vehicle, please keep in mind that this value is pure speculation.
If a dealer is using "auction" values as a trade-in value benchmark instead of NADAguides.com values online, how do I know what a fair price for my vehicle would be to trade-in to a dealer?
Auction values are a tool that some dealers use when accessing their value of a particular vehicle. At times, dealers do send vehicles they have taken in on trade to auctions and some dealers may refer to auction values because of this. Regardless, we recommend using the trade-in and retail pricing found on NADAguides.com to guide your vehicle valuation. The values provided on NADAguides.com take into consideration the mileage, vehicle condition and optional equipment of your specific trade-in vehicle. If the trade-in vehicle has been well maintained, the NADAguides.com trade-in values will be close to those prices happening at auction. Market supply can also be a factor. If there is a low demand for your particular vehicle in your area, a dealer will have to debate holding this vehicle longer to sell if the supply is greater than the current market demand.

Auction values are a part of the evaluation equation and auction transactional data factors heavily into the values found on NADAguides.com. These values reflect averages, so vehicles will be both purchased and sold for more and less than the guide numbers.

There are also a great number of alternative dealers you may want to visit in your area when considering trading-in your vehicle.
Does or will NADAguides provide any values for converted electric vehicles in the used car category?
At this point in time NADAguides has no plans on valuing converted electric vehicles. NADAguides analysts will value electric vehicles (Leaf, Focus, etc.) that are sold through traditional franchised dealers.
Does NADAguides use a depreciation schedule to determine depreciation percentage rate per year?
NADAguides does not use a depreciation schedule to determine the value of used vehicles. We use auction data, retail data, asking price data, as well as macro- and micro- economic factors and judgment among other things in an attempt to depict the used vehicle market. Used vehicles depreciate at different rates, which is why we do not use a standard depreciation percentage rate across all vehicles.
Vehicle book value: Cars, Motorcycles, RVs & Boats -- what are the basics of values?

No matter what type of vehicle you own, it can be pretty difficult knowing your vehicle's value. Vehicle values, especially car values, depreciate over time (with the exception of classic and vintage cars). Review and research your used car values on NADAguides.com for accurate data and pricing. You can find both new and used motorcycle prices and values in addition to boat values, and RV Values.

Whatever your vehicle type, owners should maintain the vehicle's condition to retain as much value as possible. Two different vehicles of the same model may have drastically varying prices depending on options, mileage, and overall condition. Generally speaking, the more miles a vehicle has the less it is worth. This is strictly because the more the vehicle has been used, the closer it is to the end of its life span. This theory applies to vehicle options as well.

The more optional equipment a vehicle has, the higher the net book value of that vehicle will be. It is important to note that these must be options installed by the manufacturer. To maximize resale value, make sure the exterior, interior, and mechanics of your vehicle are in excellent condition. Mechanically speaking, to ensure top dollar, all components should be fully functional. Additionally, the vehicle should be able to pass any and all state smog/vehicle inspection requirements. The vehicle should also be free of rust, which is a major catalyst of structural damage. Exterior elements should be free of scratches, dents, and other damage. Original paint and color that is not faded is also an exterior factor that should be taken under consideration. The vehicle's interior should be void of any smoke/water damage, stains, or other physical damage to interior materials. Keeping your vehicle in tip-top shape will equate to a vehicle's higher resale value.

How do I value a salvage title?
NADAguides' values assume a vehicle is clean. Appropriate deductions should be made for reconditioning costs incurred to put the vehicle in salable condition. NADAguides' editors have not attempted to determine what, if any, effect a salvage title may have on a vehicle's value.
What are the definitions for the valuations listed for Autos, RVs, Boats, Motorcycles and Classic Cars?

Automotive pricing and values for new and used cars

Invoice: The dealership's cost for a vehicle from the manufacturer including holdback and advertising costs. Invoice price does not include dealer installed equipment and destination charges.

MSRP: MSRP is the base Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price at the time of introduction, including standard equipment only and excludes taxes, transportation and destination.

Rough trade-in: Rough Trade-In values reflect a vehicle in rough condition, meaning a vehicle with significant mechanical defects requiring repairs in order to restore reasonable running condition. Paint, body and wheel surfaces have considerable damage to their finish, which may include dull or faded (oxidized) paint, small to medium size dents, frame damage, rust or obvious signs of previous repairs. Interior reflects above average wear with inoperable equipment, damaged or missing trim and heavily soiled/permanent imperfections on the headliner, carpet, and upholstery. Vehicle may have a branded title and un-true mileage. Vehicle will need substantial reconditioning and repair to be made ready for resale. Some existing issues may be difficult to restore. Because individual vehicle condition varies greatly, users of NADAguides.com may need to make independent adjustments for actual vehicle condition.

Average trade-in: The Average Trade-In values on nadaguides.com are meant to reflect a vehicle in average condition. A vehicle that is mechanically sound but may require some repairs/servicing to pass all necessary inspections; Paint, body and wheel surfaces have moderate imperfections and an average finish and shine which can be improved with restorative repair; Interior reflects some soiling and wear in relation to vehicle age, with all equipment operable or requiring minimal effort to make operable; Clean title history; Vehicle will need a fair degree of reconditioning to be made ready for resale. Because individual vehicle condition varies greatly, users of nadaguides.com may need to make independent adjustments for actual vehicle condition.

Clean trade-in: Clean Trade-In values reflect a vehicle in clean condition. This means a vehicle with no mechanical defects and passes all necessary inspections with ease. Paint, body and wheels have minor surface scratching with a high gloss finish and shine. Interior reflects minimal soiling and wear with all equipment in complete working order. Vehicle has a clean title history. Vehicle will need minimal reconditioning to be made ready for resale. Because individual vehicle condition varies greatly, users of NADAguides.com may need to make independent adjustments for actual vehicle condition.

Clean retail: Clean Retail values reflect a vehicle in clean condition. This means a vehicle with no mechanical defects and passes all necessary inspections with ease. Paint, body and wheels have minor surface scratching with a high gloss finish and shine. Interior reflects minimal soiling and wear with all equipment in complete working order. Vehicle has a clean title history. Because individual vehicle condition varies greatly, users of NADAguides.com may need to make independent adjustments for actual vehicle condition.

Note: Vehicles with low mileage that are in exceptionally good condition and/or include a manufacturer certification can be worth a significantly higher value than the Clean Retail price shown.


Boats pricing and values for new and used cars

MSRP: (add definition found on VDP)

Suggested List Price: We have included manufacturer's suggested retail pricing (MSRP) to assist in the financing, insuring and appraising of vessels. The MSRP is the manufacturer's and/or distributor's highest suggested retail price in the U.S.A. when the unit was new. The MSRP is refurbished by the manufacturer and/or distributor and are assumed to be correct. Unless indicated, the MSRP odes not include destination charges, dealer set-up, state or local taxes, license tags or insurance.

Low Retail: A low retail valued boat will show excessive wear and tear either cosmetically and/or mechanically. This boat may or may not be in running order. The buyer can expect to invest in cosmetic and/or mechanical work. Low retail vessels are usually not found on a dealer's lot. Low Retail is not a trade-in value.

Average Retail: An average retail valued boat should be in a good condition with no visible damage or defects. This boat will show moderate wear and tear and will be in sound running condition. The buyer may need to invest in either minor cosmetic or mechanical work.


Classic Car pricing and values for new and used cars

Original MSRP: Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price

Low Retail: This vehicle would be in mechanically functional condition, needing only minor reconditioning. The exterior pain, trim and interior would show normal wear, needing only minor reconditioning. May also be a deteriorated restoration or a very poor amateur restoration. Most usable 'as-is'. This value does not represent a 'parts car'.

Note: Some of the vehicles could be considered 'Daily Drivers' and are not valued as a classic vehicle. When determining a value for a daily driver, it is recommended that the seller use the low retail value. Average Retail: This vehicle would be in good condition overall. It could be an older restoration or a well-maintained original vehicle. Completely operable. The exterior paint, trim, and mechanics are presentable and serviceable inside and out. A '20-footer'.

High Retail: This vehicle would be in excellent condition overall. It could be a completely restored or an extremely well-maintained original vehicle showing very minimal wear. The exterior paint, trim, and mechanics are not in need of reconditioning. The interior would be in excellent condition.

Note: This value does not represent a '100 point' or '#1' vehicle*.

*'100 point' or '#1' vehicle is not driven. It would generally be in a museum or transported in an enclosed trailer to concourse judging and car shows. This type of car would be stored in a climate-regulated facility.


Motorcycle pricing and values for new and used cars

MSRP: MSRP is the base Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price at the time of introduction, including standard equipment only and excludes taxes, transportation and destination.

Suggested List Price: The manufacturer's (distributors) highest suggested list price in the U.S.A. when the unit was new. Unless indicated, the suggested list price does not include destination charges, dealer set-up, state or local taxes, license tags or insurance.

Low Retail: A low retail unit may have extensive wear and tear. Body parts may have dents and blemishes. The buyer can expect to invest in cosmetic and/or mechanical work. This vehicle should be in safe running order. Low retail vehicles usually are not found on dealer lots. Low Retail is not a trade-in value.

Average Retail: An average retail unit should be clean without obvious defects. All rubber and cables should be in good condition. The paint should match and have a good finish. All lights and switches should work properly. The mileage should be within or slightly higher than the average range. This unit should also pass any emission inspection.


RV pricing and values for new and used cars

MSRP: MSRP is the base Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price at the time of introduction, including standard equipment only and excludes taxes, transportation and destination.

Suggested List Price: The value listed reflects the approximate price of the unit when it is brand new. The prices listed are furnished by the manufacturer and are assumed to be correct. The list price does not include freight charges.

Low Retail: A low retail unit may have extensive wear and tear. Body parts may have dents and blemishes. The buyer can expect to invest in cosmetic and/or mechanical work. This vehicle should be in safe running order. Low retail vehicles usually are not found on dealer lots. Low Retail is not a trade-in value.

Average Retail: An average retail vehicle should be clean and without glaring defects. Tires and glass should be in good condition. The pain should match and have a good finish. The interior should have wear in relation to the age of the vehicle. Carpet and seat upholstery should be clean, and all power options should work. The mileage should be within the acceptable range for the model year. An average Retail vehicle on a dealer lot may include a limited warranty or guarantee, and possibly a current safety and/or emission inspection (where applicable).

What is included within the price when adding the Snow Plow Pkg. /Plow option?
Our intent for this option is to value not only the preparation for the snow plow (the extra brackets, lights, controls, etc.) but the actual snow plow that would be capable of moving large amounts of snow.
Does NADAguides provide values of vehicles that have been in a collision and repaired?
It is very difficult, if not impossible, to determine diminished value from an accident and as a result, NADAguides makes no attempt to take a stand on diminished value. Any aspect of the vehicle’s history can have an effect on the value of a vehicle; and, the vehicle’s history and condition should be considered when determining a vehicle’s value. Since the actual condition and history of an individual vehicles varies greatly, users of NADAguides values may need to make independent adjustments for a variety of reasons not specifically accounted for by NADAguides.
How does NADAguides value a vehicle?
When we (NADAguides) attempt to value a used vehicle we use a number of data points. These data points include, but are not limited to, actual wholesale transactions, retail transactions, as well as asking price information. In addition, we take into consideration MSRP, invoice, equipment assumptions, as well as supply and demand and other macro- and micro-economic factors and the competitive landscape of vehicles. Our retail value is what a person could reasonably pay for a vehicle at a dealer’s lot. NADAguides values are designed and intended to assist users in performing their own valuation of a particular used vehicle. The process by which users of NADAguides determine valuation is inherently subjective. Individual vehicles may have an actual value that is higher or lower than the estimated values created by NADAguides. Any aspect of the vehicle’s history may have an effect on the value of a vehicle. Vehicle history and condition should be considered when determining a vehicle’s value. Since the actual condition and history of individual vehicles varies greatly users of NADAguides values may need to make independent adjustments for a variety of reasons not specifically accounted for by NADAguides.
Is the clean retail value just the value of the car or does it include dealer fees?
Our retail value is what a person could reasonably pay for a vehicle at a dealer's lot. It does not include sales tax, and destination charges are only used for new vehicle purchases and would not come into play for a used value.
Do all vehicles automatically drop in value when a new model year is released in September?
September is historically the month when new models become available for sale, but it does not mean that a vehicle automatically drops in value. There are quite a few factors that begin at this time of year that put pressure on used vehicle values with the introduction of the new model year being one. For instance, many fleet companies sell their old vehicles in earnest at this time of year in preparation for the new model year vehicles and a decreased demand for their vehicles. This is especially true of rental car companies. Traditionally this is also the time of year when retail demand for used vehicles drops as many people are preparing for the fall and winter seasons. Some 4WD trucks may rise in value, but it is highly unlikely that a regular sedan would until the spring when retail demand rises quickly. Manufacturers also usually discount the old model year vehicles which often creates at least temporary pressure on used values. We assume a vehicle is constantly aging and gaining mileage, and historically September through December are the months when used values drop the most, but as stated, it isn’t fully caused by the introduction of the new model year.
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