Three quarters of UK motorists struggle to accurately value a used car

Almost three quarters of UK motorists are unable to accurately gauge a used car’s value, according to a recent study.

The survey of 2,000 car buyers, commissioned by CarGurus, found 71 per cent incorrectly identified the current market value of each vehicle, despite 58 per cent of respondents claiming they were confident in assessing what a car is worth.

Participants in the study were shown a selection of the five most sought after used vehicles in their respective classes and asked to gauge that car’s value.

In total, participants consistently over-estimated the value of the cars.

Although 80 per cent of 18-24 year-olds felt confident in their ability to value a car, compared to just 64 per cent of 35-44 year-olds, their confidence was not borne out in the results.

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The older generation consistently outperformed them by a sizeable margin when it came to accurately valuing the cars in the survey.

There was also a significant difference when it came to confidence levels of men and women.

Almost three quarters of men (72 per cent) were confident in valuing what a car is worth compared with 46 per cent of women.

Yet the gap in actual knowledge was significantly smaller, with men choosing the right answer 28.4 per cent of the time on average, compared with 26.8 per cent for women.

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Chris Knapman, editor at CarGurus UK said: “The UK’s used car market has rebounded strongly following the COVID-19 lockdowns, driven by a combination of pent-up demand, an increased desire for personal mobility, and a global semiconductor shortage that is stifling new car production and therefore driving people to search for used models instead.”

When it came to which factors buyers said gave them confidence that a car was worth the price being asked, a full service history (57 per cent) topped the list.

Other confidence-inspiring factors included a good warranty (50 per cent) and the opportunity to speak to the dealer in person (35 per cent), although once again respondents placed faith in their own judgement, with the chance to inspect the car in person (37 per cent) trumping an independent report on the car (30 per cent).

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