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I have a 2003 Honda Odyssey EX with 40,000 miles. I am trying to determine the value of it by either selling it on my own or trading it in to a dealer. The car is in excellent running condition. However, the outside does have some surface scratches. I took it to a Honda dealer for a quote. He valued my trade in at $8500 because car fax showed an accident on it. I was hit in the area of the drivers door but it was completely fixed by a body shop. Online sites tell me the car is worth anywhere from $14,410 to $17,950. Does it make a difference that the car was in a minor accident even though it was repaired in full?

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Amy Mattinat, Owner and Author at Auto Craftsmen Ltd Dear Lee, The value of your car is based on its age, mileage and condition. To find out what you may possibly get for it, go online to www.edmunds.com, www.kbb.com, or nadaguides.com and put in the year, make, model, and mileage, then add your zip code. They will ask a lot of questions to establish pricing. From this website you can even print a window sticker for your car pretty easily. The real value is based on the vehicle’s age, mileage, and the condition of the body, the interior and the engine. You should also gauge the amounts given against the ads in your local newspapers. Since your minor accident was fully repaired, it shouldn't make any difference in price. It will make a HUGE difference on what you can get for it if you take the time to clean it inside and out! Make sure you also clean out all your “stuff” from the door pockets, glove box, ash-tray, cubby-holes and under the seats. It is very important that you clean the car inside and out. First impressions make a huge difference. Don’t want to clean it yourself? You take it to a professional car detailer and it will cost approx. $100.00 - $150.00 to have it thoroughly cleaned inside and out. Gather all the car’s documents and put them in order and in a folder. This should include service and repair records of work done on the vehicle and any parts bought for it. Whenever you trade in your vehicle to a dealer, you will get less money for it. They can only sell it of what the going price is, so they need to pay you less, so they can make a profit when they resell it. You may do OK if you’re Trading in your old car to buy a new or used car from the same dealer. It is essential that you get the dealers best deal on the vehicle you want to purchase FIRST, then get a trade-in price for your old car. Otherwise, there will either be no discount on the original price or the salesperson will quote more of a trade-in to induce you to buy. The price from the dealer will be lower than selling it yourself, but you won’t have to deal with any scrapes, missing trim pieces and any work needed i.e. brakes, exhaust. It’s cheaper for the dealer to do the work. You’ll never recoup anything for any of the work you have had done to the vehicle, but you may use the money for the trade-in as a down payment on your newer vehicle and lower your loan payment. Selling your car privately will get the most money in your pocket. Sometimes it takes several weeks to sell a car. Be patient and be prepared for an annoyance or two. Amy Mattinat

Patty Streeter,  at AskPatty.com Yes it does make a difference in the resale value of your used vehicle if there is a history of an accident. “Diminished value” is the term given to the automatic decrease in value caused to your vehicle by virtue of the fact that it has been involved in an accident – no matter how perfectly it has been repaired.The bottom line is that after an accident, your car is almost always worth less than it was immediately before the crash.

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