Best Places to Search for Used Cars
You can now locate and compare prices for millions of used cars from the comfort of your home.
But this doesn't mean you should put your guard down. You still need to watch out for unscrupolous car dealers and other establishments that exist to ripoff used car buyers.
Good Places to Start Your Search
There are hundreds of used car classified sites online, but most get their listings from the same handful of sources - you only need the following four to do a thorough search.
Cars.com and AutoTrader.com are the two largest car listing sites, with over 3 million used vehicles available for sale at any given time. Most of their listings are from dealers (both new and used car lots), but you will also find some private party listings as well.
The next site to check out is CarGurus.com. They aggregate listings from the major providers and offer a very useful feature that shows whether the vehicle is overpriced or underpriced in relation to similar cars on the market.
This gives you a good overview of what constitutes a good price in your local market - something that a lot of used car pricing guides fail to do.
Finally, you'll want to check out the the Used Cars By-Owner section of Craigslist.org. They have the largest listing of cars for sale by owner and you can sometimes find the best deals here (as long as you're willing to look past their archaic search function).
While the web offers the largest choice of used vehicles, you may be missing some opportunities if you don't look into some of the alternatives.
One of the most overlooked sources are your friends, family, and co-workers. Statistically, 20% of them will buy a car in any given year and most will have to sell or trade their current vehicle.
If you're a Facebook user, it's a great way to let your friends know you're shopping for a used car and ask if anyone has one for sale. Oftentimes, you can get a great deal on a reliable used vehicle this way.
Another overlooked source are the classified sections of your local newspaper. Surprisingly, there are still many people who don't use the internet and this is the way they prefer to transact. You can sometimes find a diamond in the rough using this strategy.
My Recommendation for Car ShoppersTrueCar No-Haggle, Edmunds Price Promise and 1-800 Car Show are the quickest way to see the lowest car prices in your area. These sites show you no-haggle prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually really good. This should be the first step you take when negotiating your car price. Follow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.
- Gregg Fidan
About: Gregg Fidan
Gregg Fidan + is the founder of RealCarTips. After being ripped off on his first car purchase, he devoted several years to figuring out the best ways to avoid scams and negotiate the best car deals. He has written hundreds of articles on the subject of car buying and taught thousands of car shoppers how to get the best deals.