Many outlets are available when looking to buy a cheap used car. Internet sites, auto auctions and dealers are just a few examples of where to find cheap used cars. There are ways to save even more money with a few easy tips.
Once you have located a potential vehicle, get as much information as possible before negotiating a price. Websites like Carcomplaints.com and Carfax.com can provide invaluable information for finding known maintenance issues and customer complaints. The cost of finding information upfront may save money now, or by avoiding future maintenance costs.
Used Cars for Sale by Owner
Searching the local neighborhood for used cars for sale by owner is a good way to find a deal. Many people do not wish to advertise. This is beneficial because the cost of advertising is not rolled into the price. A local might be more willing to negotiate a price with someone who lives in the same area. Areas outside of major cities, where demand is not as great, may yield some good used car values.
Repair Shops and Auction Houses
Repair shops may have abandoned vehicles that can be purchased for the price of performed repairs, but some additional title work may be necessary. Auction house often receive vehicles from police seizures and tow yards. Be aware that additional title work may be required to secure these cars.
Barter or Trade
Another way to lower the price of a used car is to barter or trade. The seller may be in need of a service or object that can be used to reduce or replace the cost of the used car. Ask why the car is being sold. This may offer clues to possible trades. For instance, if a car is being sold to pay for maintenance around the house, a price break may be given for someone willing to trade some labor.
Avoid Popular Models
Some car models are less popular based on color, body style or looks. Just as some classic used cars are more valuable than others. If looks are not as important as function, this can mean serious savings. Used Honda cars have a reputation for being good used cars, but their prices may be held higher because of demand. Look for cars with good service records that may not have sold as well when introduced to the new car market.
Have Cash in Hand
Have cash when ready to make an offer. Cash is a powerful motivator. If a vehicle can be paid for on the spot, the dealer or owner may be more open to negotiating on the price. If cash is not an option, a letter of approved financing will lend credibility to any offers tendered. Some cheap used car dealers offer financing, such as buy-here-pay-here (BHPH) dealers, but interest rates are usually higher than those of banks or credit unions.
Another way to help save money on a used car is to limit the options list. Make a list of necessary options and stick to it. A leather option, for instance, can add hundreds of dollars to the price of a used car. Two-tone paint or special paint colors can also add expense.