Used Car Prices Black Book vs. Blue Book

March 18, 2013

Learn how to when to look up Blue Book and Black Book used car values, and the difference between the two reference guides.

Black Book

The used car prices Black Book and Blue Book values serve different purposes. Both books claim to be the more accurate source of used car pricing guides. The Kelley Blue Book gets more traffic when it comes to being used by buyers. They have been around since 1918, while Black Book started in 1955.

The Blue Book started with just used car ratings and values, but evolved to include new prices. The Blue Book, although being used the most, is usually thought as a little less accurate in their prices. They offer no guarantee in their price valuations, and often times they are very different than the Black Book. The Black Book offer many different books, such as the Black Book Daily, Black Book First Values and a few others. The Black Book also has premium subscriber content that involved dealer auctions and wholesale prices. This makes their valuations more specific.

Find Your Next Used Car Get Started Now

The Blue Book is a consumer driven book, where drivers can look to see what they can expect to pay or receive for their vehicle. The Black Book on the other hand, is a dealer driven book. The pricing deals with wholesale values and the most up to date car sales. These books are both good for valuing cars, but they are on opposite sides of the spectrum. As a consumer you want the "KBB," while a dealer looks more at the Black Book.

How to Find a Used Car Price Online
Finding a used car price online takes only a few minutes of your time. Kelley's Blue Book has the most user friendly used car price search out there, and their values are respected and highly accurate. Here are some steps to get a quick price from Kelley Blue Book.

  • Once you are on the KBB website, go to the used car page
  • You can search by price range, body style (SUV, minivan, sedan, etc.) or by exact make, model and year
  • Select the value you want, whether it be suggested retail value, trade in value or private party value
  • If there are multiple trims for your model, select that exact trim
  • The next step is very important. Input the mileage on the car as that can have a big effect on price
  • All of the available features for that trim of that year are listed. Check off any features your car has
  • Select the condition of the car. Most cars are "Good," while five percent of used cars fall in the "Excellent" condition category
  • Your price will be displayed. You can also view the other value types by clicking their names on the same page
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