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.
3 Steps Every Car Buyer Needs to Take to Save Maximum MoneyThe key to getting the best deal is to gather price or lease bids from as many local dealers as possible. Then shop that best price around until no one can beat it. Here are the steps:
Step 1 Get Prices From My Trusted NetworkSelect the vehicle you're interested in to see if there are local dealers in my network who will provide you with their best upfront price. You will get direct access to an internet sales manager who you can further negotiate with online (no need to visit dealership).
Step 2 Get Prices From TrueCar / CarsDirectTrueCar, and CarsDirect are my top 2 online price quote recommendations. These services show you pre-negotiated prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually pretty decent. But remember, you can still negotiate further.
Step 3 Complete my ChecklistFollow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.
- Gregg Fidan
Each week, I'll keep you up-to-date on the latest car deals and news that might affect your purchase. This includes...
- Best Rebates, Incentives, and Lease Deals
- Latest Car Buying Scams and Tricks
- The Best & Worst Time to Buy a Car
- Which Cars You Should Avoid