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Kelley Blue Book Vs. NADA: How Much My Car Is Worth

Kelley Blue Book vs Nada | Comparison from Indy Auto Man, Indianapolis

Kelley Blue Book vs NADA: How to Find out a Used Car Value

If planning to sell a car in the Indianapolis area, getting the most accurate car value estimation is an important place to start. There are two places that come to mind when considering getting an appraisal: on Kelley Blue Book or NADAguides (JD Power). However, the easiest way to get an estimate is directly from a dealership! This method is fast, simple, and completely free of charge - you’ll get the exact price a dealership is willing to pay for your vehicle right now. To get an idea of what kind of offer to expect, though, KBB and NADA are great tools to use. This post will explain how both of these sources define car values.

How Is the KBB Value Calculated?

Kelley Blue Book was first published in 1926 as the vehicle price guide. It was first intended for car dealers, insurance companies, and banks so that businesspeople could use current car values in their dealings. In the 1990s, the KBB was put online for public use as an experiment. They decided to offer this information to consumers for free, and then sell advertising to car brands and dealers. This business model still exists for the Cox Automotive conglomerate, which currently owns Kelley Blue Book.

Kelley Blue Book uses software to review and predict trends on the market by comparing more than 250 data sources. It uses predictive analytics and takes into account the following parameters:

  • Car information (age, mileage, condition, trim, and features)
  • The current economic situation of the car market
  • Seasonal pricing changes
  • Values across the US and regionalized pricing

Here at Indy Auto Man, we trust and value KBB data and appraisals - they are something that we take into account when estimating your vehicle for sale or trade.

Types of KBB Used Car Value Reports

  • Retail value or so-called Fair Purchase Price: The amount an average buyer expects to buy this used car for at a dealership.
  • Trade-In Value: The amount to expect from a dealership when trading this vehicle. Read more about KBB trade-in value.
  • Private Party Value: The amount to expect when selling to a private party.
  • Certified Pre-Owned Price: Some dealerships in Indianapolis offer a factory-backed certification. The price for a certified pre-owned vehicle is higher, but some do prefer the perks associated with buying such a vehicle.

KBB Value by VIN

VIN is a standardized number assigned to every car since 1980, and it is possible to get a KBB value by entering VIN in the value calculator. The number gives access to the model, year of manufacture, and history of the car so that the estimator could take these data into account and provide the true value of the vehicle.

What Do NADA Values Mean?


NADA stands for National Automobile Dealers Association - it is a trade organization representing all foreign and domestic franchised car dealers before the media, public, federal agencies, and Congress.

The first NADA Official Used Car Guide was published in 1933. It was available only for dealership subscribers. Later, though, the company launched the NADAguide website for consumers. Today, the website is owned by J.D. Power, responsible for the valuation data.

They work with automotive experts and provide pricing information about all types of vehicles, including motorcycles, campers, RVs, trailers, and boats, calculated through several different sourcing methods, such as:

  • Vehicle sales at dealerships
  • Auction houses
  • Automotive websites
  • Carmakers

When determining the used car value, NADA Guides uses similar criteria as KBB, which are:

  • Supply and demand
  • Macro and microeconomic factors
  • Used car year, mileage, and extra features
  • Market area

NADAguides does not provide private party values, but you can find values for certain CPO (Certified Pre-Owned) vehicles.

In short, Kelley Blue Book can show you what your car is worth today, while on NADAguides you can only see how much your used car should cost.

Which Is More Accurate NADA or Kelley Blue Book?

NADA gives a good rough estimate of why a dealership values your car this way, but KBB can give a better idea of how much your car is worth.

Do Dealers Use Kelley Blue Book or NADA?

For more accurate car pricing, most dealers believe Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds, while NADA can hardly be used for real references.

How to Get the Most Accurate Used Car Value Estimation in Indianapolis?

To get the most accurate used car value in Indianapolis, check both, KBB and Nada evaluations, and get an opinion from the local dealers, like Indy Auto Man. Take your car to the dealership to carry out an estimation or get our firm offer online right now.