You can save a lot of cash when buying a used car instead of a new one as long as you get it from the right place.
Learn how to find the best used cars
Don't get stuck with the proverbial lemon. Try the used car marketplaces and tools below to get a reliable and cost-effective vehicle.
Cars.com: Used cars under 10000 and more
Cars.com is an extensive and deep resource for any used car buyer. You can use its many filters to look for cars based on model, make and price, and this includes the highest price for used cars in your area. Once you do the basic search, you'll open up even more search options, and you can even find cars for under $10,000 this way. Once you find a car you're interested in, you can take a look at its car history report, which will give you information about its past maintenance events, any car accidents and what types of services have been performed on it. You can send an instant message to the car owner or the dealer about the car or send them an inquiry email. There are a lot of resources on this website for car buyers, particularly people who are looking for used models, so take a look around if you have any questions or concerns about the process, insurance, vehicle record histories or financing.
AutoTrader.com: The legend
AutoTrader may be one of the most well-known car marketplaces and has a solid used car finder, and it has an online website and print catalogs in some markets. As far as used car sites go, AutoTrader is pretty easy to use. You can search by model, price and make, but there are a lot of advanced search features available here, including fuel economy, whether it has a GPS, and more. As with Cars.com, you can contact a seller by email, and you can also check reviews about the seller you are considering. AutoTrader does take a lot of pain out of the used car buying process; you can even send an automatically-generated email that includes information about the car listing you're looking at. Some car listings have a free link to their history report, but not all of them offer this. If you can't get one for free, you can ask the seller to provide it prior to the sale. AutoTrader tends to have a diverse selection of vehicles, from cheap used cars to more expensive models, so chances are good that you'll be able to find something reliable and within your budget here.
eBay motors: Deals ahoy
While eBay may not be synonymous with safety, it's actually a pretty good entry in the used car websites category and a great place to find cheap used cars. With eBay, you can search for cars by make, model and price, just as you can on many other car websites. You can also see reviews by people who have actually bought from the seller, and you do have protection via free pay method PayPal and the used car websites’ Vehicle Purchase Protection (VPP) plans. With PayPal, you can start a dispute with the seller if you do not receive the car listed in the ad. VPP is given to you for free as long as you buy a car from an eBay listing through the website, it is under 11 years old, and it has a clear title. You receive the lower of the purchase price paid or $100,000 if you never receive the car or if the car comes with certain undisclosed title or physical defects. You can bid for vehicles, buy them outright at the stated price, and even negotiate with the seller if he or she has a "Buy it Now or Best Offer" listing.
Nadaguides: Home of the National Automotive Dealers Association (NADA)
While Nadaguides is the home of the official association NADA, it is also a used car finder. You can find everything from used sedans to classic cars here, and it features all of the same search features found on other used car search resources. You can use its comparison feature to compare up to four cars directly against each other by factors such as fuel efficiency, and there's also a monthly payment calculator, a car record search, and a resource to help with auto loan approvals. This website also provides price guide figures that may be different from Kelley Blue Book because they are based on sales transactions that have happened over the last month. This can be an advantage when you're searching for a used car because it will more indicative of what price range you're likely to see for a particular make and model on the market.
Remember dealers in your used car search
Generally, a dealer should provide quality used cars, but keep in mind that you should still comparison shop on used car sites, get the car's history and do all the things you would for a newer car purchase. Take a close look at the dealer, too. Read online reviews, look at its Better Business Bureau report, and ask around because you might know someone who has bought a car there before. Aim for certified pre-owned cars for that extra peace of mind. Although they may cost more than the same vehicle if it wasn't certified, this certification means that the car has passed a more rigorous inspection as created by the manufacturer. Some certified pre-owned cars even carry special warranties from the manufacturer because they have passed this type of inspection. Check for dealers that offer both used and new vehicles, and also visit dealers who only sell used cars or focus on that area as they will have a bigger selection. You may even find used cars under 10000.