Used Car Buying Guide: Where’s The Best Place to Buy?

Buying a new car is straightforward: you head to the dealership and find the car that you like, talk to the sales team, and get financing. Buying used cars can be a little more complicated because you have some options. A new car dealer has used cars, but there are also used car dealers and online dealers.

With so many ways to buy used cars, how do you know where to shop? Here’s a look at your options to help you decide.

A Dealership

Most new car dealerships have a large inventory of used cars too. Some of these they purchased at auction to give their customers more options, and others they received as trade-ins when their customers came to upgrade their vehicles. The used car prices at dealerships can sometimes be higher because of the expenses associated with running a dealership and the staff they have to employ.

These costs can be passed on to buyers. The benefit of buying a used car from a dealership is the services available. You can get in-house financing, used car specials, and certified pre-owned vehicles with added warranties and perks.

Independent Used Car Dealership

An independent car dealer is not associated with any specific new car manufacturer. They sell only used cars, most of which are purchased at auction. Since they don’t have to maintain a new car inventory, the operating costs are lower, which means you can find better deals on used cars.

The downside to buying a car from an independent dealer is that they may not offer in-house financing and usually don’t have certified pre-owned vehicles.

Online Used Car Retailers


Online used car sales are becoming increasingly popular. Companies such as Carvana and Vroom offer an alternative buying experience if you don’t want to take the time to search multiple dealerships. You can search their inventory of vehicles online, complete all the financing and paperwork online, and then they will deliver the vehicle to your driveway.

The entire shopping experience can take place right at your kitchen table or in your living room. Carvana also offers car vending machines if you want to go to a physical location to pick up your car.

Private Sellers

Private sellers are just like you and me. They have a vehicle to see, and they either list it online or put it out with a for sale sign. Facebook marketplace is a common spot for private sellers to list their vehicles, and you can often find some of the best prices. The downside to doing a private sale is you are responsible for all the paperwork, and if something goes wrong, you have no recourse. It’s important to carefully inspect the car from a private seller so you know exactly what you are getting.

These are the most common places to buy used cars. Where you decide to make your purchase depends on your personal needs, what you have to spend, and your comfort level when it comes to inspecting a used car for quality.


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