Shopping for a used car can be a stressful endeavor, particularly when you are just starting out in the process. One of the first questions prospective buyers typically ask is where to find the best used cars at the best prices? Is it more advantageous to shop online or head to a local dealer? What about private sellers?
The truth is that there are many good resources for reliable used cars today. When you compile a list of the best options, you are better equipped to compare prices and find the best deals available. Check out these options for finding the best used cars on the market.
Top Websites for Used Cars
Many people are turning to the Internet to find the used car of their dreams today. To answer the call, a number of websites have sprung up with long inventory lists from both private sellers and dealers alike. Here are some of the most popular used car websites today:
All of these websites offer extensive inventories, and most include detailed search tools, such as free VIN number check, that help you find the specific make and model of car you are looking for. There are also a few websites linked to dealers that make it easy to shop for a used car online before contacting the dealer directly for negotiations. These include:
In addition, most brick-and-mortar dealers today also offer websites with current inventory lists, so you can get an idea of the vehicles available and their pricing before making the trip to the lot.
Buying from Private Sellers
Purchasing a used car from a private seller is still one of the most popular ways to get your hands on a good used car today. Private sellers may advertise their vehicle through many of the websites listed above, including AutoTrader, eBay and Craigslist. In addition, you might find classified advertisements in your local newspaper.
Buying a car from a private seller may get you the best deal on the car you want. It also saves you the stress of negotiating with a seasoned dealer. However, private party purchases are also a case of buyer beware, since it can be difficult to know whether you are getting truthful information from this individual about the car. To protect yourself in these types of transactions, always pull a vehicle history report and take the car to your trusted mechanic prior to putting any money down.
Heading to the Dealer
Dealers often provide some of the largest inventory on used vehicles, depending on the type of dealer you choose. There are three different options for buying a used car from a dealer today:
- Certified Private Owned – These cars are resold by dealers specializing in cars from a particular manufacturer. When a used car comes on these lots, it typically goes through a rigorous inspection system. Repairs are made with factory-authorized parts. The vehicles usually come with some type of warranty, offering the buyer peace of mind when purchasing the vehicle. However, these used cars also typically come with the highest price tag of the bunch.
- Non-Certified – This classification pertains to used vehicles from one manufacturer that are sold on the lot of a dealer specializing in cars from a different manufacturer. While buyers can generally assume that basic repairs were completed before the vehicle went up for sale, these dealers cannot offer any type of warranty for the car. Shoppers can often find a wide range of non-certified options at dealers, since trade-ins are pretty much a daily occurrence here.
- Independent Dealers – These lots are usually filled with used vehicles of a wide range of makes and models. The dealer doesn’t specialize in any specific type of car. These dealers are often a good source of inexpensive vehicles, although the lots may be smaller and the selections lighter. It is a good idea to treat these independent dealers like a private seller – pulling a vehicle history report and getting a vehicle inspection from your own mechanic before making a purchase.
With many resources for used cars available today, buyers have plenty of options at their disposal. No matter which source you choose, it is important to complete steps like a vehicle history report and inspection prior to making a vehicle purchase, so you can shop and negotiate with confidence.