Buying a used car is a popular option for those who would like to save on costs and avoid the rapid depreciation seen when purchasing a brand new car. There are several places where you can buy a used car and checking your options can help you get a good deal and save money. To determine where you should buy your car, think about your priorities. If you have a limited budget, then consider buying from auctions or private sellers. But if you would like the used car to have a warranty and a clear title, then buying from a car dealership may be the best choice for you. In this article, we discuss the places where you can find a used car that will fit your needs and specifications.

Private sellers

Many used car buyers who are looking for rare car models or for a cheaper price can opt to buy from a private seller. Buying from a private seller can also allow you to meet the previous owner and obtain the car's history. The seller might also allow you to take the car for an inspection and test drive. However, private sellers are less regulated. They provide no guarantee of a clear title, which means the buyer has no protection under law if the used car turns out to be stolen or if it has major mechanical problems. Private sellers also do not provide warranty for the used car. It may be cheaper to purchase privately but it also comes with high risks.

If you choose to buy a used car from a private seller, make sure to check the registration certificate and the seller's driver license to identify if the seller is the owner of the vehicle. Also, check that the vehicle identification number or VIN, engine number and other details match the details on the registration certificate. To ensure that the car is not stolen, request your local police station to do a background check and provide them the VIN number, registration number and engine number of the vehicle. Finally, to make sure that the used car is in good condition, ask a qualified mechanic to inspect the vehicle.


Attending a used car auction is another great way to find a wide range of car makes and models being sold at a cheaper price. Auctioneers are also required to give buyers a clear title and a REVS certificate, which ensures there is no money owed on the vehicle sold. However, buying a used car from an auction has risks. There is no assurance if the car being auctioned is still in good condition as you can not thoroughly inspect or test-drive it before purchasing. Auction houses also do not provide warranty for the vehicle.

If you are planning to buy a used car from an auction house, attend a few auctions first so you can observe and get a feel of how it works. It can also help to take someone knowledgeable about cars with you as they can help you make smart choices on which vehicle is a worth investment. Do your research before making your bid so you know what the fair price is for the car model you want. Set your maximum price and do not go over it.

Brokers and wholesalers

If you have a particular make and model in mind but have no time to do the legwork of finding a high quality used car with your specifications, then contact a used car broker. Brokers can do the time consuming task of finding an appropriate car for you, usually by going through dealerships to find the car you have specified. They then charge a commission on the sale of the car.

Wholesalers provide an alternative channel to buying used cars. Like brokers, wholesalers can reduce the legwork of finding the right used car for you. However, buying from wholesalers does not necessarily mean that you will get a wholesale price. Their prices are usually the same as the prices of used cars in dealerships.


Buying from a used car dealership may be more expensive than buying privately or from an auction, but you will get greater protection under the law as dealers are licensed and required to operate under strict regulations. They will provide a guarantee of a clear title and statutory warranty for the car sold. They also provide a one-day cooling period wherein you can take the car for a test drive or for an inspection by a third-party mechanic. This gives you the opportunity to thoroughly check if the used car is still in good condition. A car dealership also provides a wide range of vehicles so you have plenty of options on which used car to purchase.

Buying from a car dealership will require you to sign a legally binding sales contract. Read the contract thoroughly and make sure that you understand all terms, including the fine print. If anything is unclear to you, ask for legal advice or discuss it with the dealer before signing the contract.

Some final words

If you are just starting your search for the right used car, it can help to search online. There are many websites today that advertise and sell cars. You can browse and research on various makes and models without the pressure to buy immediately. Used cars for sale are also advertised through the local paper. Wherever you choose to buy your car from, make sure you are completely satisfied with your purchase. Keep in mind that if you are not happy with a particular used car or if you doubt its condition, then do not buy it.