What is AutoTrader?
AutoTrader is an automotive advertising business that specialises in new and used car sales for private sellers and dealers. They also provide car valuations.
How to get a valuation from AutoTrader
To get a valuation, visit the company’s website then enter the car’s registration number and mileage. The site then confirms car details like its make, model, trim colour and date of registration amongst other things. Why? To prove it identified the right car. You’ll then need to confirm whether you plan to buy or sell and sign up or sign in to get your valuation.
If selling, the site reveals its private and part exchange valuations. The former is relevant if you sell to (say) your friend or colleague. Anybody not associated with the motor industry, in other words. The latter indicates how much to expect from an honest, informed, professional trader that pays fair market value.
If buying rather than selling, the website reveals its private valuation (as before). Now, though, this figure suggests what to pay if you buy from anyone not in the trade. In contrast, the dealer valuation implies how much it is fair to pay a professional.
The AutoTrader valuation assumes that the vehicle is in good condition, rather than fair or excellent. Assumptions include:
- Minor or cosmetic damage to the body, wheels, tyres and cabin
- Minor or cosmetic damage to the lights, glass and mirrors
- Tyres are safe and legal
- Documentation present
- Keys present
- Part service history
- Current MOT
- No outstanding finance
- Not insurance write-off (category C, D, S or N)
The car is – at best – in fair condition if it falls below the aforementioned standard. It has broken equipment or large gaps in its service history, for example. Alternatively the bodywork requires minor repair. In contrast, the car is in excellent condition if it meets strict criteria. There is, for starters, no damage to the bodywork and it has a full, perfect, service history.
How AutoTrader values used cars
AutoTrader valuations are based on several factors. Highlights include vehicles for sale on its website plus data from thousands of sites run by dealers. Prices sourced from big auctions play a role, too. Further insight comes via the disposal value of fleet and lease cars as they are returned. Such prices are updated daily.
AutoTrader provides further insight that helps you choose whether to purchase privately, or from a professional trader. It is typically cheaper to go private, for example. However, the trader likely provides a warranty. AutoTrader also lists some of the factors that influence the value of the vehicle. Some optional extras and a full service history raise it, for example. In contrast, certain modifications lower it.
- Started in 1977
- First to put pictures of cars by each advert
- First to put automotive classified adverts online
- Listed on The London Stock Exchange in March 2015
- Member of FTSE 250 Index
- Annual revenue of £300 million
- 800 employees
- Works to combat human trafficking and slavery
What AutoTrader says
“It is useful to know what a car is worth so you can get the best price for your circumstances – whether you are buying or selling.”