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What Are Your Options When Buying A Used Car?

On Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

The process of purchasing a used car can strike fear into the hearts of every potential buyer. Sure, they know the benefits of used over new, but they’re acutely aware of the risks attached too. Pre-owned cars have a stigma attached to them, thanks in part to a small minority of underhanded sellers. Try not to let that dissuade you from buying a used car, as, more often than not, they provide the best value for money. There are four simple questions you can ask to determine the validity of a seller, but first you have to find one.

Mercedes-Benz used cars

So, what are your options when looking for a dealer? Here are a few of the more common places to find used cars for sale, and the benefits of each.

At Auction

There are thousands of used cars available at auction. For some people, attending these events is a hobby in itself. It’s a place to network with like-minded enthusiasts, and compare the market. There are bargains to be found at auction, and the ‘name your price’ approach to dealing means there’s less risk of going over your budget. Provided you don’t get carried away with the bidding, of course. As with just about everything else in modern times, you can find whatever you’re looking for online. There are a whole host of used car auction sites out there if attending them in person isn’t something you’re interested in. Both online and offline, there is somewhat of a safety net in place, as auctioneers act as the middlemen. They’re responsible for selling the cars, but they’ll also be your first port of call if you find any problems after the sale.


Used car dealerships, for many, are the safe option. The industry has evolved in such a way that they’ve become a cheaper alternative to the official manufacturer dealers. Many now even include warranties as part of their packages. This has gone some way to dispelling the notion of the sleazy used car salesperson. Things are much more respectable now. While they’re generally the more expensive of these options, you’re paying for assurances. Car dealerships are usually regulated and, as such, you know exactly what you’re getting for your money. There will be no nasty surprises lurking around the corner.

Private Sellers

The cheapest of these options, but the one that comes with the most risk. You know the type. These sellers are found in newspapers, ad postings, and on craigslist. They offer the cheapest prices, for sure, but they have nobody to answer to. There’s nothing stopping them from tampering with the mileage indicator. Or from underselling the extent of work the car will need. There’s really no way of knowing what you’ll get out of a private seller. While there are horror stories, there are just as many good-hearted sellers out there. It’s all about weighing up whether the lower prices are worth the risk.

Wherever you purchase a used car from, be sure to take precautions and perform a thorough check before signing anything. Used cars are great value so long as you take the right approach and avoid getting ripped off.

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