What Is the Kelley Blue Book and How Do I Use It?

The Kelley Blue Book has been an essential tool for used car buyers since the 1920s. It all began when Les Kelley, a young car salesman in Los Angeles, compiled a list of cars he wished to buy and the prices he was willing to pay. His list quickly became the trusted source of value information for local banks and dealerships. Mr. Kelley realized that he was on to something, and published the first Blue Book of Motor Car Values in 1926.

Today, the Blue Book has blossomed into the industry’s go-to source for accurate value estimates and trusted quality insight. If you’re shopping around for a used car, the Kelley Blue Book will be your best tool for negotiating the right deal for you.

Retail Value vs. Selling Price

One of the most important things to know about the car you’re considering is the difference between the retail asking price and the car’s actual worth. Dealers will often claim that their price is lower than the Blue Book value in order to encourage buyers, but this claim can be misleading.

The Blue Book price they quote is often the highest retail value, regardless of the actual condition of car in question. If you consult the Blue Book yourself, you’ll find various suggested prices depending on the conditions of the sale and the condition of the vehicle. For example, according to the Kelley Blue Book online, less than 5% of all used cars are considered “excellent” and worth the top Kelley Blue Book price. Comparing the Blue Book’s listed values with the actual condition of the car can help you determine a fair estimate and face negotiations with confidence.

Essential Expert Insight

The Blue Book also offers access to an extensive library of research materials. If you’re still looking for the right model, you can consult the collection of expert and consumer ratings and reviews. Real owners will give you an idea of the lifespan and repairs you can expect from each vehicle. Once you find one you like, the Blue Book website can specify value estimates to your area and calculate the value of your trade-in, so you know exactly what to expect when you walk into your local dealership.

The Kelley Blue Book is just one more tool you can use to make the best used car decision. Even if you’re new to the used car market, you can still make a good decision with tools like the Kelley Blue Book. Check out our below Kelley Blue Book deals!