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7 min read

DIMO Vehicle Valuations: Explained

December 20, 2022


Buying and selling a car is confusing, and the used car market is set up to benefit dealerships over consumers. A community of builders is working to change that, using DIMO data to provide the most accurate valuation for your car.

We routinely see thousands of dollars difference in pricing depending on geography, market conditions, and market inefficiencies.

DIMO is putting some power back in drivers’ hands with our vehicle valuation service, and you can earn more $DIMO by using the marketplace to buy or sell a car.

Here’s the breakdown of what you’ll see in the DIMO mobile app:

  • Retail — What a dealership expects to sell your vehicle for
  • Trade-In — What you can expect to receive from a dealership after an appraisal
  • Instant Offer(s) — What a vehicle-purchasing site is willing to offer you for your vehicle site unseen with limited information

NOTE: Not all connected vehicles will receive valuations in the DIMO mobile app. We are working hard to increase the coverage of vehicles that receive valuations, and should have an update soon to address this.

If you DON’T see vehicle valuations for your connected vehicle, reach out to Vehicle Genius (colin@vehiclegenius.co) to receive valuation estimates in your inbox.


Dealer trade-in and instant offer sites (like Carvana or Vroom) aren’t the only ways to sell your car. Many people choose to sell peer-to-peer (Craigslist, eBay, etc.) or utilize other types of services that aim to reduce friction (Gauge, Revv Up, Driveway, etc.).

As a car owner, you should know that the “levers” you can use when selling your car are:

  • Time: if you’re willing to be patient, chances are you’ll make more money. This certainly means not taking the instant offers but could mean shopping around or waiting months for the right offer.

  • Convenience: An instant offer shop might come pick up your car, that’s awesome!

If you want more information, or are interested in subscribing to a service that will help you maximize your mobility-spend, visit Vehicle Genius. We help subscribers save on key vehicle related expenses each month, and can help save thousands of dollars on sale and lease transactions.

But the biggest problem for users is that with all these options, it’s just not convenient or easy to get the numbers! How much is your car worth, and what might you get from all these potential sales channels? DIMO is stepping in.

Vehicle Valuations

We recently introduced a HUGE new update to our mobile app and one of the most exciting additions is the introduction of real-time vehicle valuations. While this isn’t available on every single vehicle, if you head into the DIMO Mobile app, you may see a price labeled “Marketplace Valuations” on the home screen.

Clicking this value will bring you to a new page with a ton of vehicle valuation information!

You might be asking yourself “what the heck do values mean and what is the difference between them???” Well you’re in luck, as We’re about to make you much smarter on the auto industry. Let’s dive in!

Retail Value

Where you will see this value

On the valuations page at the top and in the section underneath

The retail value of a vehicle is what a dealership can expect to sell your vehicle for to a new owner. This is typically the highest value your vehicle will receive due to the fact that dealerships can offer financing and other products that make your vehicle easier to sell. If you wanted to sell your vehicle yourself via private-party sale, you can expect to receive ~5%-15% less than the Retail value. The amount you receive can vary greatly depending on:

  • Quality of vehicle advertisement

  • Timing of sale

  • Demand for vehicle

  • Responsiveness of seller

If you’re interested in selling your vehicle privately, consider subscribing to one of DIMO’s newest ecosystem partners, Vehicle Genius. Vehicle Genius will guide you through any private vehicle sale, and help you maximize the value you receive from any sale.

Trade-in Value

When you take your car to a dealership for an appraisal, the value they provide to you will be the trade-in value. You’ll notice that this value is less than the retail value; this is for a few reasons:

Unknown condition

Even after appraising a vehicle, dealerships don’t have an exact idea of what a vehicle will need in order for it to be ready for sale. Only after they take possession and start the reconditioning process can they get an exact estimate of the cost. To reduce their risk, they reduce the value they’re willing to pay. We’re hoping to help fix this! In the future, DIMO will be a service record for your car that can prove its health.


This will come as a surprise to no one, but dealerships are in the game to make money! Therefore, they have to sell your vehicle for enough profit so that it covers their expenses, which include reconditioning, advertising, and the salesperson’s cut!

Salesperson’s Cut

The vast majority of sales departments at dealerships are paid based on commission. This means the dealership needs to make enough profit on each vehicle to cover their expenses which includes the salesperson’s commission.

As a result of these expenses, the trade-in value will likely be anywhere from 5-20% less than the retail value.

Instant Offers

An instant offer is an offer that a vehicle-purchasing site is willing to pay for your vehicle site unseen. While this value is subject to change once they see the car in person, these vehicle-purchasing sites (Carvana, Vroom, Revv, etc) are incentivized to close the deal anyway, and will oftentimes be willing to overlook small undisclosed cosmetics issues for the sake of making a deal.

There are very clear pros and cons to these instant offers:


  • Easily accessible offers — Made easier by the fact that some are even included in the DIMO Mobile app itself!
  • Extremely simple vehicle sale process — Some vehicle-purchasing sites are even willing to pick up your vehicle at home.
  • No negotiation — This makes for a simple and stress-free sale.


    • Lower valuations — Due to the limited information they have on your vehicle before presenting a valuation, these instant offers are likely the lowest valuations you’ll see in the DIMO app.
    • No negotiation — While this is a pro for simplicity, it limits your ability to fight for a higher valuation.

      Overall, the instant offers are a great tool to see how much you can receive for your vehicle if you don’t want to put in any additional work. These are included in the DIMO Mobile app for your awareness. We’ve had users be surprised and take an offer that is better than they expected to ever see.

      Straight Dope

      Vehicles are likely going to be your 2nd most expensive asset (other than houses) in your life. We think that it is extremely important to provide as much data as possible on this asset throughout your ownership so you are well equipped to make informed decisions. This was a key reason why we decided to add vehicle valuations into the DIMO Mobile app.

      If you are still a bit confused, or want even more data about your overall vehicle spend, here’s what you can do:

      • Buy DIMO Hardware! With $20 off using code TwentyBucks you’ll be well on your way to saving hundreds if not thousands over your vehicle's lifespan, and the $DIMO rewards don’t hurt either!

      • Reach out to Vehicle Genius to get a comprehensive, up-to-date report on your overall vehicle spend, as well as access to a genius via call or text whenever an unexpected question arises throughout your ownership experience.

      Written by: Colin Knudsen Ecosystem Revenue Manager

      Colin Knudsen is a car nerd at heart, and in practice. Having bought and sold upwards of 25 personal vehicles, and assisted others with 100s more, Colin is always willing to apply his immense vehicle transaction knowledge to anyone who will listen. Prior to DIMO, he built and maintained a fleet of 50+ vehicles for an automotive recall-awareness startup, and was an integral part of growing the company from 5 employees to 300 in just 18 months.

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