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Equity Value

Use the equity value to evaluate both licensed and unlicensed vehicles. Follow these steps to determine a vehicle's equity value. Document all steps in FACS.

  1. Evaluate whether any household's vehicles are exempt from an equity value. These vehicles also do not have an equity value though there may be a fair market value.  
  2. Exempt

    any excluded licensed vehicle,


    one vehicle for each adult household member, and


    any vehicle a child (a household member under 18) drives to work, school, job training, or to look for work.

  3. Calculate the vehicle's fair market value.
  4. This is the average trade-in value from the National Automobile Dealers Association, other blue books, or a freely available website that provides market values.

    Potential websites are

    CarPrices (www.carprices.com),

    Edmund's (www.edmunds.com),

    Kelley Blue Book (www.kbb.com), and

    NADA (www.nada.com).

    When valuing a vehicle, you must avoid increasing a vehicle's value by adding the value of low mileage or optional equipment.


    The above webpages require you to enter the mileage or assume an average mileage. To avoid unacceptable increases to the value, use the greater of the vehicle's actual mileage or 12,000 per year.

  5. Subtract the value of any encumbrances from the vehicle's fair market value. This is the countable equity value.

For example, if the vehicle is worth $8,000 and there is a $4,000 vehicle loan, the equity value is $4,000 ($8,000-$4,000=$4,000).


If remaining value of the loan is greater than the vehicle's value, the equity value is zero.

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