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Using the Parkers car guide

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Parkers Car Guide is one of the major sources of used car prices and perhaps the easiest to use of all car valuation services. They will provide you with a valuation based not only on year, make and model but also based on factors such as mileage, optional extras and damage to your vehicle. Parkers started in 1972 as a printed book. It was from books like Parkers that the terms "book value" or book price originated. However, now almost everyone uses the Parkers website instead. Using their website to get an online car valuation couldn't be easier - just follow our step by step guide.

First navigate to the Parkers used car prices web page. This can be found at http://www.parkers.co.uk/cars/prices/used/. You'll then have the option of either using a drop down menu to select the manufacturer and then the model, or alternatively clicking the logo of your manufacturer from the page.

Parkers used car prices web page

On the next page you'll be asked to choose from a list of years. Parkers provides free valuations for cars registered on or after 2004 currently, so if your model is older you'll either have to pay for a valuation or use another valuation service. The list contains both years and registration numbers in the format of "2009/59".

Parkers used car prices - choose from a list of years

On the following page you'll be asked to select the version of the car model - often the version will relate to engine size, but sometimes also body type.

Parkers used car prices - select the version of the car model

At this point it's important you know the exact details for your car as often there will be similarly named versions with very different prices. Your car purchase documents or handbook should tell you the exact model you own.

Parkers used car prices - select the version of the car model

Parkers will then give you a preliminary valuation for your car based simply on the market for the make and model you own. The valuations on this page give you an indication of what a car with average mileage for its age will be priced at in different sales venues. These include how much the car will be sold for at a franchised dealer, an independent car dealership, as part of a part exchange agreement and also what it will achieve in both good and poor condition in a private sale. Each of these valuations is the price an end buyer will pay for the car and not what you will achieve selling it. The price a dealer charges will be higher than private sale, but if you choose to sell your car to a dealer you'll almost certainly get a lower price than selling privately. Sadly, Parkers doesn't include guidance of what you should get from a dealer other than as part of a part exchange agreement.

Parkers car valuation

The valuations on this page don't include adjustments based on optional extras, damage and mileage. It's important to note that these factors can have a large impact on the price you can achieve for your car, and if you want to know more precisely what price you can expect you'll need to complete this section.

Parkers car valuation page - adjustments section

Parkers charges for providing this more precise information - £3.49 for 24 hours' access, which should be enough to gather all the information you'll need to sell your car. See this purchase as an investment in selling your car quickly and at value by being able to set the price at the correct level. Parkers offers some extras at this point, but these are not essential for car sellers and are aimed more at buyers.

Parkers checkout screen for 24 hour access

If you choose to purchase a more precise valuation, you'll either need to log into an existing Parkers account or create a new one. This form is relatively self-explanatory. You'll need to enter card payment details to complete your purchase and then you'll receive an email confirming your purchase. You will have the option of simply clicking continue to go back to your car valuation. The page will remember the details you inputted earlier and provide you with a similar range of valuations for how much the car will sell for at various venues. Like the free valuations however it doesn't give you an idea of how much you can achieve selling your car to a dealer.

Parkers car valuation screen with adjustments enabled

An alternative to using the website is the Parkers iPhone application. This costs £5.99, but is a one off purchase that will enable you to get valuations as long as Parkers continues to support the app. This includes the optional extras such as mileage which aren't provided free on the website. The app is perhaps best suited for those buying a second hand car, although it can be useful to show the Parkers car valuation of your car to buyers when you meet them if they attempt to haggle down the price.

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