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Top 3 Tools to Determine Your Car’s Value

Thinking about selling your used car or used truck this year? Maybe you’re planning to trade it in at a dealership? To ensure your get fair value for your old ride, there are a number of tools and resources available, both print and electronic.

In Canada, the Black Book, Red Book and Sanford Evans' Gold Book are the top three. Aside from their different colours, they all provide similar services and data to help owners determine the market value of their vehicle.

Note: Kelley Blue Book provides information for U.S. models only.

Black Book
It’s the only one available online for free, and it can help you determine the amount a dealer will likely offer in exchange for your vehicle. Year, make, model, equipment and kilometres are taken into account, not to mention the location (via your postal code). You will get two different trade-in values (Low and High) based on the condition and mileage of the vehicle.

You can also have a general idea of how your car will depreciate over five years. With its future value, you'll know when getting rid of it makes the most financial sense.

Lastly, the Black Book provides the average asking price in real time based on millions of classifieds. You can double-check this information on websites like

Red Book
Similarly, the Canadian Red Book lists wholesale and retail values for specific vehicles based on the year, make, model, kilometres, and options. Two written documents are at your disposal. They cost $31.95 for a single issue or $115 for a yearly subscription including four issues.

The first one contains data on 5-year-old or younger vehicles. The second, titled "Older Car & Light Duty Truck," goes back further in time, so it can prove useful to determine the value of a car that’s 10 or 12 years old, for instance. Otherwise, it might be preferable to use the Black Book and save your money.

An online version of the Red Book is also accessible at all times for $249.99. That's an unattractively high price for individual owners, but dealers and fleet managers can easily turn this into a profitable investment.

Gold Book
Sanford Evans' Gold Book offers two English publications containing about the same information as the other two books.

The USED (2015-2009) and OLDER (1999-2008) Vehicle Value Guides combine to cover 17 model years—a longer span than either Black Book or Red Book. The former is published monthly and costs $27 (or $94 for a whole year), while the latter comes out quarterly and costs $31 (or $89 a year).

If you want to get a value assessment for a vehicle anywhere between 17 and 22 years old, your best option is definitely their Value Guide Online package, which costs $149 a year.

Other considerations
No matter which book you choose, remember that the values listed should serve as a guide only. Many different parameters besides the ones already mentioned also affect the equation and may include, but are not be limited to, seasonal considerations, rarity, and desirability.

The other option is to simply shop online for a car as similar as possible to yours and averaging the amounts out.