Kellys Blue Book Vs NADA Vs Edmunds Guide – The Differences in Blue Book Automotive Price Guides

You’ll always feel more confident that you got the best value when selling or buying a car if your entire transaction costs are near the average amount buyers in your area usually pay for the same manufacturer, model, year and version. However, finding the most accurate blue book for cars price guide may prove difficult. They all claim to provide unbiased fair market values for your car, however when compared, you will find significant discrepancies among the different price guides due to differences in their assessment methods. Among the most prominent, widely used and accepted automobile price guides are Kellys Blue Book for Cars, National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA Car), and Edmunds Guide. So, which is the most reliable guide among the three?

One sign of reliability is the assessor’s years of experience in the market. Among the three, Kellys Blue Book for Cars is the oldest, first printed in 1926 and continuing to serve as a bastion of trustworthy information for over 80 years. Shortly thereafter in 1933, NADA printed its first Car Appraisal Guides. The youngest is Edmunds Guide, established in 1966. Of the three, Kellys Blue Book has the longest record of unparalleled service establishing it as a standard in car appraisal guides. The Blue Book for Cars has an established extensive database and proven methodology that is continually being refined.

Another signal of accuracy is the completeness of the data and how often the data is updated. Blue Book for Cars, NADA Car, and Edmunds Guide all offer similar info like new and used car private party and detail retail values, trade-in values, and tips on how to buy, sell or trade in your car. Moreover, all of them have easy-to-access websites that makes researching car details and car reviews easier. Then, in what way do they differ from each other?

Aside from their websites, both KBB and NADA publish and regularly update easy-to-carry paperbacks in several versions that cater to the specific needs of its readers, only the Kellys Blue Book for Cars is published in its trademark blue color while NADA Car is bright yellow. Kellys Blue Book Used Car Guide is updated every 2 months, KBB New Car Guide is updated 4 times a year and KBB Consumer guides are updated twice a year. Meanwhile, the online data for Kellys Auction, Kellys Trade-in, Kellys  Wholesale Lending, and KBB Retail Values are updated weekly, making the information more useful for car dealers and buyers alike. In contrast, the NADA car consumer guide is updated 4 times a year and the online data is updated monthly. Edmunds Guide, on the other hand, has stopped printing its portable book version since 2006 making it difficult to carry a copy with you when negotiating the final price of your car. Moreover, it only updates its online True Market Value (TMV) pricing tools monthly. So if you want more up-to-date values for your car, it looks like Kellys Blue Book will serve you best.

Aside from the normal guide contents, both the Kellys Used Car Guide and NADA car consumer edition can also provide you with Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN), easy-to-use equipment schedules with values for optional equipment, acceptable mileage range chart values, credit check service that can evaluate your credit score and what type of loan you could qualify for and retail values. However, Kellys Blue Book for Cars provides Retail Value for a longer time frame, more than 15 years compared to the less than 10 years covered by NADA Car. What’s more, Kellys Blue Book will also give you information on your car’s original list price, Kellys Auction (how much a vehicle is expected to sell for at wholesale auction), and Kellys Wholesale Lending (expected finance value of a fully reconditioned vehicle) values not found in other guides. Meanwhile, Edmunds Guide prides itself on providing the True Market Value (TMV) pricing for new and used vehicles, detailed histories on popular models, and Certified Used Vehicle Information. However, Kellys Blue Book, NADA Car, and Edmunds Guide retail or TMV prices do not factor in the buyer’s credit details that could markedly affect the final price of your vehicle though they do have connecting sites that will help you apply for a loan in easy steps.

Hold on now, the most important determinant of reliability has yet to be discussed, and this is the accuracy of values provided by these guides. Many experts would tell you that the most accurate car price guide is one that gives vehicle values closest to the actual “selling price” in the market, which actually varies day-to-day and place to place. Prices for new cars are not much of an issue, but used car values differ significantly because of many factors, primarily the condition, age and mileage of your car. To get the most accurate value, one has to keep tabs and analyze a large quantity of private, dealer and auction data. That is a difficult feat at best, and to be fair, none of the three: Kellys Blue Book for Cars, NADA Car, nor Edmunds Guide offer absolutely true or accurate values based on the analysis of your car’s present condition. In the end the one with the most expertise will probably provide the closest estimate and it is already an established fact that Kellys Blue Book has always been a leader and industry standard in car appraisal services.

Kellys Blue Book – How to Use It

If you don’t want to be ripped off, it is essential that you get a car price guide before attempting to buy or sell a car. The most widely known and used automotive value appraisal guide (blue book for cars) in the United States is Kellys Blue Book. Its printed consumer blue book for cars has been available to buyers since 1993 while Kellys Blue Book online auto blue book version has been running since 1995. Both the online and consumer blue book for cars are relatively easy to use.

For the printed version, the cars are alphabetically listed by manufacturer, then by models. For example, let’s say you want to search for Toyota Corolla: sift through the pages until you reach the Toyota section, then thumb through “C”s until you find “Corolla”. If you are looking through the Kellys Blue Book New Car Guide version, what you will find beside your selection are the following: (1) a usually inflated Manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), (2) Dealer invoice, (3) New car Kellys blue book value, and (4) Optional-equipment price. You’ll want to compare the first three values. If your dealer’s asking price is near both Kellys New car value (the actual selling price of the car, which varies depending on region) and Blue Book dealer’s invoice (price the dealer paid the manufacturer for the car, minus all overhead expenses like advertising, etc.) then your dealer is offering you the car at fair market price. Remember that a car’s fair market price is generally lower than its MSRP. If the price is not quite there yet, keep on bargaining; you might even get a price lower than the blue book New car value or you can look for another dealer.

In comparison, if you are using Kellys Blue Book Used Car Guide, again find your car of choice by sifting through the pages of the blue book for cars alphabetically. Once you find your selection, you will have the following information: (1)  Retail value (the average “asking” price by dealers around the country, (2)  Private-party value (estimated price you could expect to get for a car if you personally sold it to a buyer), and Kellys Blue Book Trade-in value (typical price that a dealer would offer you for your used car). Take note that the retail and trade-in prices are higher than private party values in the blue book for cars because of the dealer’s overhead costs. Remember that there are many factors that can affect the final price of used cars. And more often than not, the actual “selling” price is lower than the Blue Book Retail value.

While using the print version of the Blue Book car prices is quick and easy, using the online KBB is even simpler. With a simple click of a button, a huge array of blue book auto information becomes available to you within seconds. What’s more, the blue book car prices and information are now updated weekly online. You only need to go to KBB website, select the type of car you want: new or used. For blue book value of new cars, click on the make and model then select your specific make or manufacturer (Toyota) and model (Corolla) after which you will be asked to choose a specific model year together with a list of options (overview, pricing, photos, reviews, free price quote). Of course, if you want to know the KBB price, click the pricing tab. If different versions or body trim of the car are available, choose the body trim that you want the blue book car value for. As an example, a car may be available as 4-door or 2-door or hatchback, etc. The KBB website will then show you pictures of your selection, its MSRP, the  dealer invoice price, and the KBB Price. If you type in your zip code, the available dealers selling the car in your area will also appear. As I said, quick and easy access to blue book for cars!

Blue book valuing a used car at KBB website is similar, but they will ask you to select a lot more options. Just follow the same steps under the Used Cars tab. For example, if you want a Toyota Corolla 2005 model, select 2005 as the specific year, Toyota for make and Corolla for model. Then select your KBB Value, whether trade-in, private party or suggested retail value blue book for cars. You will then be redirected to choose a specific version or body trim. Next, you’ll need to select your required equipment and mileage.

Don’t be overwhelmed with the number of selections: the standard items on the web page are already checked. You just need to revise or add more equipments as you see fit.

Finally, you have to choose your vehicle’s condition – from excellent to poor. Don’t worry if you don’t know the characteristics of each Kelly Blue Book Used Cars condition category because a description is provided below each KBB condition category. And if you still can’t decide, fill out a condition quiz. The KBB website will show you pictures of your selection and its pricing information to give you an idea of how much to sell or buy your car for. If you’re looking to buy, you can even search the local listings by clicking its tab.

Remember that the blue book for cars values provided by Kellys Blue Book are not the final value of the car of your choice, just its fair Market Value. Use the information you gather from Kellys only as a guide for negotiating the final price of your vehicle.