Kelley Blue Book Value for Used Cars — What is it and how does it work?


Kelley Blue Book, or KBB for short, is an automotive shopping website. The company dates back to the late 1920s, when it published an actual blue book that dealerships referenced to provide car values and pricing information. Kelley Blue Book's car prices were so commonly used by dealerships that the term "Blue Book" became a part of dealership lingo, and many car shoppers eventually adopted it as well.

In 2010, Kelley Blue Book was acquired by Autotrader, and the brands now are closely interconnected under the Cox Automotive umbrella.

But Kelley Blue Book isn't the only place to find car prices these days. Here on Edmunds, we have similar pricing data on cars and much more. When a car buyer asks for the "Blue Book price," what they actually mean is that they're looking for an accurate car value in the current market.

The market value can be used in a number of buying and selling scenarios. If you're a new- or used-car buyer, you can use the Edmunds or Kelley Blue Book car price to help determine a fair market range to pay at the dealer. If you're selling your vehicle, you can use the values to check what its trade-in value is.

When determining the value of your used car, Kelley Blue Book will give you a price based on four condition levels: Fair, Good, Very Good and Excellent. Many people tend to overinflate their car's value and label it "excellent" when, according to Kelley Blue Book, only 3% of vehicles fit that description. Good, or perhaps Very Good, would be a better starting point for the condition of your used car.

If you're looking to sell your pre-owned car, Kelley Blue Book offers a service much like Edmunds' popular instant offer program. One major advantage of the Edmunds program is that you won't be contacted by numerous dealerships and are free to redeem your offer within seven days.

Ultimately, Kelley Blue Book is a good resource to use when trying to determine your vehicle's value or when shopping for a new car or used car. But Edmunds offers successful services that compete directly with what Kelley Blue Book provides, so we suggest saving yourself a few clicks and letting us help you find your perfect next car.