Where To Find Cheap Cars For Sale

It is a fact of life that cars are expensive. You pay so much money for a product that will only last a limited amount of miles, even with proper care and maintenance. No one wants to drive a clunker but some new cars are just way out of a person’s price range. Not everyone can afford a luxury car fresh off the lot.

There are cheap cars out there that are reliable and affordable. But to find them you may have to do a little hunting to track them down. You don’t want to buy the first cheap car you come across, either. You need to know what you are buying and if it is the right car for you.

Previously Owned

It is a no-brainer that the cheaper cars on the market are going to be previously owned. Any car that already has some miles on it along with the usual wear-and-tear from being driven is going to cost less that a brand new car. Don’t even bother going and looking at the new ones.

Previously owned cars can be financed just like new cars. The drawback to previously owned cars is, of course, that they have more miles and there is more of a chance that something may go wrong down the road and it could need some mechanic work done.  This brings up our next point about cheap cars.

Is There Any Work Needed


Before you buy any cheap car, you need to have it checked out for possible repairs. If you don’t have any mechanical inclinations, have a mechanic look at the car. Make a note of things that could use some work. This could be a possible negotiating point when discussing price later.

When buying a cheap car, consider what is an acceptable level of defects or wear. You don’t want to buy a car that you may have to sink a lot of money into just to keep it running. Most car dealers sell used cars with an “as is” clause and no warranty. This means if the car breaks down the next day after you bought it, the dealer is not liable for it.

I should note that some car buyers like cars that they can fix up. If that is your intent, then price is everything. Find the cheapest car you can and buy it.

Newspaper Classifieds

Your local newspaper is usually full of car ads from area dealers as well as private sellers. When looking at ads from car dealers, be careful not to take some of them as gospel. Often those ads can be misleading with wording like “As Low As…” and “With Approved Credit”. These are not quotes that are set in stone and can vary.

Car dealers will often have a used car section listed and you can get a good idea of what kind of used cars they have available. They may not be able to list every used car they have in one ad but if you like their prices, you can check them out and see what else they have.

The good thing about newspaper ads is that you can use them to help negotiate with other car dealers and sellers. If you find a car at one dealer that you like but another dealer has a better price, you can show them the ad to see if they will come down and match their competitor’s price.

Used Car Dealers

Most car dealerships, even though they are full of bright, shiny new cars, will have a lot full of used cars. This is a great spot to check out for a cheaper car. However, new car lots do most of their business selling new cars. If you go there looking for a cheap car, many dealers will try to talk you into a new car. Why? It means more money in their pocket. When looking at car dealers, don’t disregard the smaller used car dealers.

Small, used car dealers are a good place to shop because the cars on a small used lot will often have higher mileage which brings their price down more. Used car salesmen are generally more interested in making a sale at any price and are often (but not always) more willing to negotiate. Plus, used car lots are a good place for buyers who have bad credit.

Private Sellers

An alternative to shopping at car dealers is to find a private seller. This is an individual who is selling their own car. It may be an older vehicle that they are trying to get rid of or a leased vehicle and they are looking for someone to pick up the lease.

Private sellers are easier to negotiate with because you only have one person to negotiate with, not a salesperson plus their supervisor and financial agent. Cars from private sellers have the best prices but unlike a dealership, the car may be in any kind of condition. Dealerships at least make sure the car can be driven off the lot and are relatively safe.

If the owner is leasing the vehicle, you can pick up the lease without a down payment. The monthly payments are usually lower than if you were buying it and all it takes is a small transfer fee.

Car Rentals

Car rental companies such as Enterprise and Alamo Rent-A-Car keep their vehicles in pristine shape. The cars are fiercely maintained and kept in top condition. However, when rental cars reach a certain mileage or age, the rental companies pull them from the fleet and sell them. Most of the cars are immediately bought up by dealerships. However, some rental companies sell directly to the public. Check at your nearest rental company for information on what they may have.


Public auctions are everything from wholesale auctions, government auctions with seized cars, auctions with vehicles that have been repossessed by the bank, salvage vehicles, police-seized vehicles, and theft-recovered vehicles. These types of auctions have vehicles at wholesale prices or less. Some even have financing available on site.

While cars at auctions are probably some of the cheapest that you can find, you should realize that the cars are not under warranty and come in a variety of conditions. Not all conditions may be readily apparent. So be careful what you buy.

The Internet

With today’s information technology, you can find a lot of bargains on the internet at online auction sites such as Ebay and used car sites. There are numerous sites for used car listings. Some encompass local or state listings while others are from all over the U.S. The way some of these sites work is you enter your zip code and the site searches for used cars listed in your area. If you want to know what some used car sites are, do an online search for used cars and see what comes up for your area.