The Big 3 Car Value Guides

man looking closely at a car

How Will You Figure Out What Your Car is Worth?

What is the difference between the Black Book, Kelley Blue Book, and NADA Guides?

You have hopefully noticed that as a free service to members, we offer to help you with your car shopping. And we don't just give you loan options. Our FSRs will also research the value of your trade-in and the car you want to purchase. Taking these values to the dealership gives you a firm standing when you're negotiating with a salesperson.

To do our price research, our FSRs use the Black Book guide. But what is the Black Book, and how is it different from other car pricing guides?

Kelley Blue Book

Kelley Blue Book was first published in 1926 and is now owned by AutoTrader.com. Individuals can go directly to their website to look up values for new and used vehicles. Since KBB is designed for consumers, you will find private sale values for vehicles as well as trade-in values. Their condition ratings for used vehicles are different from the Black Book's.

National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Guide

The NADA book is the official value book for dealerships who are members of this trade group. They provide their pricing information to both dealers and consumers.

Black Book

The Black Book guide has been in use for 60 years and specializes in the wholesale value of vehicles. Its use is restricted to dealers and lenders, though some consumer sites such as cars.com provide Black Book values for users. Black Book is the only guide issued weekly instead of monthly. This means that its list values are usually the most up-to-date and is widely used by dealers to determine their used car prices.

Which is better?

The three guides have different strengths and weaknesses. Dealerships may use one, two, or a mixture of all the guides when they price used vehicles. We offer our members access to the Black Book values since those are the values our FSRs typically use to determine our own loan-to-value ratios. We also believe that arming our members with the values dealerships are likely to use is a real benefit when it's time to car shop.

If you would like to sit with an FSR to get your loan options and see the Black Book values for your trade-in or purchase, please stop by any branch or call us at (540) 982-3931.