Car Dealer or Private Seller: Where to Buy a Used Car?

Purchasing a second–hand or used vehicle is a tricky business. In fact, even the thought of dealing with a used car salesman can already make you reach for your headache medicine. However, if you don’t like the idea of going to a dealership, you can always buy a used vehicle from a private seller. Private sellers can be found anywhere- online classifieds, news papers and the cars that have the “For Sale” sign in their window.

A lot of car buyers stick the dependability of purchasing from a dealer while those hunting for bargains usually swear to the private sales’ benefits. The fact is that there are both benefits and drawbacks to purchasing from a dealership versus purchasing a car from a private seller.

Private Sellers are Nearly Always Cheaper

Dealers tend to have access to big inventories of second-hand cars, majority of which they can purchase at auction or wholesale and then sell to consumers directly. AS the dealerships take the hassles of looking for cars, maintaining an inventory and accepting trade-ins, they are expected to charge higher mark-up than private sellers who have little to zero inventory cost.

Row of new cars on lot


It is not Possible for Dealerships to Knowingly Sell a Broker Vehicle

Due to the warranty of merchantability, dealerships can’t sell you a vehicle that does not met quality standards. According to law, if you purchase a car which has a fundamental operating issue at the time you buy it (cracked engine, broke axle, non-functioning brakes, etc.) you have a legal recourse. Unluckily, in case the air conditioning fails one month following the purchase, you would need to prove that such condition took place at the time you purchased the car.

2007 Toyota Corolla LE.


Private Sellers Can Sell Broker Cars

It is a must for dealerships to legally register with their state, offer a Buyer’s Guide with each used car and adhere to the warranty of merchantability. However, private sellers do not have to do anything. In some cases, car buyers who found bargain deals on their used car end up with a salvage or stolen car or one that does not even pass emission tests.

Buy a Used Car

The Time you Spend in Doing Research and Purchasing is Nearly Equal

For a number of car buyers, getting a second-hand car is just about visiting a dealership and driving enough vehicles until they could find the right one. However, cost- and research-oriented buyers often do plenty of research before they seal a deal.

If you want a specific kind of car, you will want to spend the same amount of time to purchase a car no matter where you want to get it from. Compared to the inventory of the entire community of private car sellers, the inventory of individual dealers is limited, thus, you will have to hop from place to another. Each car that you check out will include a test drive, a rough inspection and a professional inspection if you are close to purchasing it.

Dealers and Private Sellers Can Be Either Good or Bad

Know that regardless of your destination, you will find someone who will not consider your interest. Also, there are a lot of reasonable people who do honest business. Check out Make sure you keep your guard up and realize that most people you deal with are not aimed at pulling a fast one.


Monika is a journalist, stylist and blogger. He is a aesthetician by heart who often writes about Art, Fashion, decorating and DIY ideas, health. He loves sparking creativity and giving them ideas for their own spaces.

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