Buying Used Cars Privately or with a Dealer –Pros and Cons

Three basic sources of used cars are dealers, private advertisers, and auto auctions Each has advantages and disadvantages and used car enthusiasts usually have their own favorite method of purchasing used cars.


The pros of purchasing a used car from a dealer includes:

  • Large choices of cars in one location. You do not have to run around looking for the car you love, just go to the dealer and browse their lots.
  • A dealer may take your car in trade for a used car. Dealers may not want your car for their own lots, but can always sell them for parts and through trade sources.
  • Used cars at a dealership have usually been prepared for sale. Faults have been corrected and the car is always clean and presentable.
  • You should be able to inspect and take a used car on a dealer’s lot for a test drive.
  • Most dealers will allow a car to be professionally inspected by a mechanic of your choice.
  • There will always be some form of guarantee for the car. It may be only 90 days or a year; but you have the option to purchase additional warrantees at a dealership.
  • If the car does not work out, you do have the Sale and Supply of Goods Act to provide restitution. Keep all paper work in a safe place to prove that you purchased the car in good faith.

There are definite cons when purchasing a car from a dealer.

  • Buying from a dealer mean higher prices and very little negotiating room. You may want to investigate trade dealers for lower prices.
  • Little previous history will be available at the dealership. You will have to do your own investigating. There are very good car dealerships; however who will offer you a Carfax report upon request.

Private or Individual Sellers

  • The best advantage about private car sales is the price. You should be able to get a car from a private individual for about 25 percent less than at a dealership. Private sellers realize that they will always have to negotiate to get the best sale.
  • You can always talk to the previous owner about the history of the car as well as the care of the car. Most private owners will inform you about accidents and “quirks.”

The disadvantages of purchasing a used car from a private party include:

  • Little opportunity for the car to be inspected. Sellers may not allow you to take their car to your mechanic to check out the engine. They just want you to buy right now.
  • Taking a test drive might be difficult. A seller’s insurance policy may prohibit unauthorized drivers to run their insured vehicle. Before test driving a used car from a private owner, research and see if your insurance will cover test drives.

If the used car you purchase from an individual is faulty you are more limited in your restitution and returns. When you negotiate a deal with a private seller, do sign a contract, take a third party with you to the negotiations, and keep all documents regarding the transaction safe.

Stay safe when purchasing your next used car and be sure to use a proper HPI vehicle check website, this will help save yourself the stress and hassle of buying a dodgy motor.

Categorized as Autos