Vehicle Condition Guide
NAAA/Manheim Vehicle Condition Grading Scale (1 to 5)
Grade 5, Extra Clean
Vehicle is in excellent condition, with only minor defects in panel surfaces as noted in the condition information for each vehicle. The body panels require no conventional body or paint work but may have had limited high-quality repairs performed. There are no missing, broken, or damaged parts that require replacement. The interior compartment has no cuts, tears or burns that require repair and does not show signs of wear. The vehicle’s frame/structure has not been repaired or altered and is expected to measure to published specifications. Vehicle is mechanically sound, and all accessories are operable. All fluid levels are full and clean; all tires will be near new or better.
Grade 4, Clean
A better than average unit with minor chips or scratches in panel surfaces as noted in the condition information for each vehicle. This vehicle may require minor conventional body and paint work or removal of small dents that have not broken paint using Paintless Dent Repair.
The body of the vehicle may have had high quality conventional repairs. A minor missing or broken part may require replacement as noted. The interior is clean and will show minimal wear. The vehicle may have sustained cosmetic or light collision damage and been repaired to collision industry standards. The frame/structure has not been damaged or repaired and is expected to measure to published specifications. Vehicle is mechanically sound, and all accessories are operable. Vehicle may need fluids serviced, or tires rotated. Only scheduled maintenance will be necessary. Tires will be good or better.
Grade 3, Average
The average vehicle will have normal wear and tear (for example, parking lot dings, small scratches, chips and/or minor broken parts). It may require some conventional body and paint work, or replacement or parts as noted in the condition information for each vehicle.
The interior will show signs of normal wear and usage, requiring repair or replacement of parts as noted. Prior repairs may have been performed on this vehicle at an acceptable quality level. The vehicle may have sustained cosmetic or light collision damage and been repaired to collision industry standards. The frame/structure has not been damaged or repaired and is expected to measure to published specifications. Vehicle is mechanically sound but may require maintenance or minor repair accessories. The fluid level may be low or require replacement. Tires will be average or better.
Grade 2, Below Average
Vehicle shows signs of abnormal wear and tear. The body has dents, scratches, and body panels that may require replacement as noted in the condition information for each vehicle. Broken and missing parts are to be expected. The interior shows signs of excess wear with burns, cuts or tears, and non-removable stains as noted. This vehicle may have multiple prior repairs performed at substandard levels, which may include repaired or unrepaired collision and/or frame/structure/ damage. The frame/structure is not expected to measure to published specifications. Vehicle may have mechanical damage that prohibits vehicle from operating properly. Repairs can be made, but engine and/or transmission may be in poor condition. Operability of accessories is questionable. Fluids are low or require replacement. Worn tires are to be expected.
Grade 1, Rough
This vehicle has been severely abused or has sustained major collision damage but may be drivable. It is cost prohibitive to
extensively recondition this vehicle by automotive industry standards. The frame/structure is not expected to measure to published specifications. Although operable, this vehicle is near the end of its useful life. Operability of accessories is doubtful.
Grade 0, Extra Rough
Vehicle is inoperative. Unit is good for parts only. Mechanical and body parts may be inoperable, disconnected, damaged or missing.
Note: Flood damaged vehicles will not exceed a grade value of 2.
THESE ARE GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR DEFINING APPROPRIATE GRADING OF VEHICLES. THE VEHICLES HAVE TO BE JUDGED ON THEIR TOTAL CONDITION AND NOT STRICTLY WHETHER THEY MEET EVERY LINE OF THE DEFINITION EXACTLY. THIS GRADING SYSTEM DOES NOT TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE MILEAGE ON THE VEHICLE. IT IS INTENDED ONLY TO REFLECT THE OVERALL CONDITION OF THE UNIT. MILEAGE HAS A DIRECT CORRELATION ON A VEHICLE’S WHOLESALE VALUE AND SHOULD BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT WHEN EVALUATING A VEHICLE’S VALUE
AutoGrade was adopted by the nation’s auction companies and endorsed by NAAA, AutoGrade is an electronic vehicle-condition reporting system that is being touted as a way to reduce human error and subjectivity when describing vehicle condition and damage. AutoGrade grades vehicles from 0 to 5, with 5 being excellent condition. Manheim created AutoGrade and, through an arrangement with NAAA, makes it available to all NAAA member auctions at no cost. It has been adopted by ADESA and some large, independent auction houses. The system requires the condition report writer to answer specific questions about a vehicle. Condition Grading Scale (.pdf)
Hagerty Insurance’s Classification Guidelines
Below is based on classification guidelines on Hagerty Insurance’s condition ratings. Hagerty states, “it is estimated that more than 80% of vehicles in the market are either condition #3 or #4, so make sure you are confident in the ascribed condition. Many sellers overrate the condition; overeager buyers tend to do the same for potential purchases.” See Hagerty’s Class 1-4 condition descriptions below. Please choose the most accurate classification for your vehicle.
- Class 1:
“These vehicles are the best in the world. The visual image is of the best vehicle, in the right colors, driving onto the lawn at the finest concours. Perfectly clean, the vehicle has been groomed down to the tire treads. Painted and chromed surfaces are mirror-like. Dust and dirt are banned, and materials used are correct and superbly fitted. The one-word description for #1 vehicles is “concours.””
- Class 2:
“These vehicles could win a local or regional show. They can be former #1 vehicles that have been driven or have aged. Seasoned observers will have to look closely for flaws but will be able to find some not seen by the general public. The paint, chrome, glass and finishes will all appear as excellent. No excessive smoke will be seen on startup, no unusual noises will emanate from the engine. The vehicle will drive as a new vehicle of its era would. The one-word description for #2 vehicles is “excellent.””
- Class 3:
“These vehicles could possess some, but not all of the issues of a #4 vehicle, but they will be balanced by other factors such as a fresh paint job or a new, correct interior where applicable. #3 vehicles drive and run well but might have some incorrect parts. These vehicles are not used for daily transportation but are ready for a long tour without excuses, and the casual passerby will not find any visual flaws. “Good” is the one-word description of a #3 vehicle.”
- Class 4:
“These vehicles are daily drivers, with flaws visible to the naked eye. The chrome might have pitting or scratches, the windshield might be chipped. Paintwork is imperfect, and perhaps the body has a minor dent. Split seams or a cracked dash, where applicable, might be present. No major parts are missing, but the wheels could differ from the originals, or other non- stock additions might be present. A #4 vehicle can also be a deteriorated restoration. “Fair” is the one word that describes a #4 vehicle.”
Modern Vehicle Condition Guide: Scale A+ to E
A+ = NEW: vehicle is Mint condition, less than 12 months old and under 5000 miles with factory warranty
A = MINT: vehicle is like new or showroom new, the best condition a preowned vehicle can be. Upholstery, Metal, Paint, Glass and Tires are in superior quality. No mechanical problem has all of its original body parts and has no collision damage. No dents, door dings or scratches. needs no reconditioning.
B = EXCELLENT: vehicle looks great, is in excellent mechanical condition. The engine compartment is clean with no fluid leaks. The paint is glossy, and the body and interior are free of any wear or visible defects. There is no rust evident, No dents, door dings or scratches. The tires are the proper size and match and are new or nearly new. A clean title history. This is an exceptional vehicle.
C = GOOD: vehicle should be free of any major defects. The paint, body and interior has only minor blemishes (if any), no major mechanical problems evident. A “good” vehicle may need some reconditioning. however major reconditioning should be deducted from the value.
D = FAIR: vehicle probably has some mechanical or cosmetic defects but is still in safe running condition. The paint, body and/or interior may need work. The tires may need to be replaced. There may be some repairable rust damage. The value of cars in this category may vary widely. A clean title history may or not be assumed.
E = POOR: vehicle has severe mechanical and/or cosmetic defects and may be in questionable running condition. The vehicle may have problems that cannot be readily fixed such as a damaged frame or a rusted-through body. unsubstantiated mileage should be considered “poor” because of potential problems. A clean title history may or not be assumed.
Collector Car Vehicle Condition Guide: Scale A+ to E
A+= NEW: vehicle is Mint, Concours and/or Museum condition. Concours awarded for best original condition.
A = EXCELLENT: Restored to current maximum professional standards of quality in every area, or perfect original with components operating and appearing as new. a 95-plus point show car that is not driven. vehicle looks great, is in excellent mechanical condition. The engine compartment is clean with no fluid leaks. The paint is glossy, and the body and interior are free of any wear or visible defects. There is no rust evident, No dents, door dings or scratches. The tires are the proper size and match and are new or nearly new. A clean title history. This is an exceptional vehicle.
B = VERY GOOD: Well-restored or a combination of superior restoration and excellent original, an extremely well-maintained original showing very minimal wear. Completely operable original or “older very good restoration” showing wear. all presentable and serviceable inside and out. Plus, combinations of well-done restoration and good operable components or a partially restored car with all parts necessary to complete.
C = GOOD: A drivable vehicle needing no or only minor work to be functional. Also, a deteriorated restoration or a very poor amateur restoration. All components may need restoration to be “excellent,” but the car is mostly useable “as is.” vehicle probably has some mechanical or cosmetic defects but is still in safe running condition. The paint, body and/or interior may need work. The tires may need to be replaced. There may be some repairable rust damage. The value of cars in this category may vary widely.
D = RESTORABLE: Needs complete restoration of body, chassis and interior. May or may not be running, wrecked or stripped.
E = PARTS CAR: useful only for parts.
Headliner, The lining above your head on the underside of the roof. Headliners are usually not a problem. However, sometimes they are faded or have stains or tears and sags. They can be replaced, but this requires some time and expense.
Upholstery Should be clean and not faded or ripped. Leather is a special case. It usually has some added value if it is in good shape. However, if it needs repair or replacing it is much more expensive than cloth or vinyl to do so.
Carpets, Older cars usually have some carpet wear. If so, it must be replaced for the vehicle to be worth top dollar. Any stains and rips will reduce the value.
Dashboard is usually not a problem. However, sometimes they have been dented or scratched. More often they could have sun damage in the form of fading or cracking leather or vinyl trim.
Glass, the side windows are usually not a problem as long as they operate properly. You should pay special attention to the windshield and rear window. The rear window sometimes gets sun damage in the form of checking, cracking or discoloration. The windshield is the most important glass, as it is the most expensive and is most subject to damage. Besides the obvious cracking, checking and discoloration, sand damage is the most commonly overlooked problem by the layman. Sand damage can range from slight to the point where it impairs vision. In either case, the windshield will usually need to be replaced.
Metal and Paint are very subjective items. You must keep in mind that while some minor dents and scratches maybe normal wear & tear as the car gets older, the new buyer expects it to be perfect. When you drive the same car for several years, these imperfections sometimes start to go unnoticed. Door chips and sand damage are sometimes subtle and should be looked at carefully, front of the vehicle normally has the most defects due to road and driving condition, even so no vehicle such have been repainted or have paint work to hold a good value. check on all trim, moldings around glass.
Rust, Check around the window moldings, wheel wells, under the doors, door hinge area and taillight moldings. Look in the trunk area under the mat. Look for rust on the hubcaps or on the bumper. Look underneath the vehicle. Is there rust on the underbody? Look under the hood. Is the engine compartment pitted or corroded?
Mechanical, the exact nature of a mechanical problem is difficult for a layman to diagnose. Even the experts can’t always be sure of the nature or the magnitude of the problem without at least partially disabling the part. If you are in doubt, have a reputable repair shop give you an opinion of the problem and an estimated cost of repair.
Tires must be the proper size and match for the vehicle. All tires the same make. They should be near new to avoid a deduction when the car is appraised. The depth of the new tire tread for the average passenger car is about 3/8″ (this can go to nearly 1/2″). All-terrain & off-road tires found on trucks and sport utility vehicles should have at least 1/4″ of tread. Any less than 1/4″ will likely result in a deduction as the dealer will probably want to replace the tires before offering the vehicle for resale.