How much is my Honda CR-V worth?

Dear Car Talk:

First, let me start off by saying that I am 72 going on 62. I have a 2014 Honda CR-V with over 34,000 miles on it. I am thinking that I want a new Odyssey because I have had them in the past and because of new safety features, like blind spot warning and all the other stuff you guys always recommend. My question would be, what is my CR-V worth in a trade in? Whatever help you can give me would be much appreciated. Thank you. – Dorothy

RAY: Well, there are several ways to figure out the value of your car, Dorothy.

My brother figured out the value of his cars by leaving them unlocked with the keys in the ignition. When no one stole them in a week, he had a pretty good idea of the value.

What you should do is start by going to a website like Click on “Get Trade-In Value” and fill in your information. That’ll give you a guess as to what it’s worth.

While you’re there, have a look at the “trade-in value” vs. the “private sale value.” You’ll notice that you’ll get about 15 to 20 percent more for your car by selling it yourself. You might want to consider that.

A better way to value your car for private sale is to see what similar cars are selling for in the real world. How do you do that? Try a couple of websites. First, try Craigslist. That’s where you’ll find people selling their own cars. Look for 2013-2015 CR-Vs with mileage similar to yours. My guess is you’ll find that they’re selling for $13,000-$15,000.

Next, check out used CR-Vs at You’ll find mostly ads from dealers there, so the prices will be higher than in a private sale. But again, it’ll help you figure out what similar cars are selling for, and what your competition is. For instance, if you see a similar CR-V selling for $17,000 from a dealer, you know that if you list yours for $15,500, it’ll look like a good deal to buyers.

Once you’ve done your research, you can also ask the dealer what he’ll give you for a trade-in and compare that to what you’d get in a private sale. If the difference is 2,000 to 3,000 bucks, you might decide it’s worth the trouble to sell it yourself. Or commission a grandkid to do it for you.

Now, about the Odyssey. You’re absolutely right that we recommend forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring and cross traffic alert for everybody. Especially 72-year-olds going on 62 like you, Dorothy. But you don’t have to get an Odyssey in order to get all that stuff. You can buy a new CR-V with that safety equipment if you like your current car.

If you love the Odyssey, and you want to tote around six grandkids, some 4-by-8 sheets of plywood and a couple of refrigerators, by all means, get the van. But it’s a big vehicle, and if you don’t need something that large, you can get the safety equipment you need on almost any vehicle now. So don’t feel limited.

Black interiors hide a multitude of sins

Dear Car Talk:

I am retired, but I work part time as a transporter for Hertz Rental Car at our local airport. As I drive the cars, moving them around, I’ve noticed that almost all the cars have black interiors. Is this for cost savings for the car companies, or do rental companies just buy cars with black interiors? Thanks. – Arnie.

RAY: It’s to cover up the latte stains, Arnie. Or whatever other stains rental car customers leave behind.

While cloth interiors are certainly cheaper than other options, the black cloth is probably no cheaper than, say, gray or tan cloth. But when you’ve got families with kids renting cars for the weekend, and little Freddie eats too many jelly beans at Grandma’s and tries to read “Where’s Waldo” in a moving car and … Well, you get the idea.

Being able to hide stains is something rental car companies figured out was important pretty quickly. That’s why Rent-A-White-Interior Rental Cars went out of business years ago, Arnie.

By the way, this is a good time to remind all our readers to check with your credit card company before renting a car.

Most major credit cards provide insurance coverage for any rental car you pay for with that card. More often than not, you can decline the “supplemental insurance” that the rental car companies offer, which is expensive, and in most cases, unnecessary.

You’ll still have to hit those black cloth seats pretty hard with Febreze after the “Where’s Waldo” incident, but you’ll save a good chunk of money on the rental fee.

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