Are you looking to buy a used car? Today we’ll be looking at some of the best websites where you can search for a used car.
Let’s get started!
Best website to buy a used car in 2020.
Our favorite website to buy a used car in 2020 is Facebook Marketplace. You may not think of Facebook Marketplace to buy or sell a car, but in the last few years, it has become the best place to buy a used car or sell one.
When you visit Facebook Marketplace, make sure to click on the Vehicles category so that you can see all the vehicle filters.
Facebook Marketplace is quickly overtaking Craigslist and CarGurus as both these sites started charging sellers money to list a car.
One significant advantage of Facebook Marketplace is that the used car scams are much lower compared to Craigslist.
An added benefit of Facebook Marketplace is that you can see the profile of the person who is selling the car, which you can not get from any other website where you search used cars. If the FB profile was created only a few months ago, it is a good indication the seller is not legit.
We strongly recommend that you arrange a pre-sale inspection for cars you find on the Facebook vehicle marketplace. Ask the seller if you can take the car for an inspection to a local auto repair shop.
You will be paying for the pre-purchase inspection, which typically runs between $80 and $150, so make sure only to do this for a car you are serious about buying.
One downside of the Facebook Marketplace is that sellers tend not to include a lot of pictures of the car that is for sale, and in some cases, they may not even post enough details about the vehicle. If that is the case, you can ask a question to the seller, and typically you will get a reply in minutes.
Best website to buy a used car from a dealer
Another great website to buy a used car is CarGurus. It used to be even better when you could list a car for free, but that is not the case in 2020.
CarGurus is the best website to buy a used car from a dealer. The majority of car dealers in your area will also list their vehicles on CarGuru.
Even though private sellers can list a car on CarGurus, there are very few individuals deals listed for sale by a private party on CarGurus. There used to be a lot of private sellers on CarGuru when it was free to list a car.
Since CarGurus started charging to list vehicles for sale, private party listings have gone down.
CarGurus has a nice feature that shows if the listed is a great deal. At the same time, a nice feature doesn't base your purchase just because it is marked as a Great Deal.
A car that is shown as a great deal on CarGurus may be totally beaten up and have hidden mechanic problems. That Great Deal on CarGurus may turn into Sour Lemon very quickly.
We recommend getting a pre-purchase inspection from an independent mechanic, especially for those cars that CarGurus has listed as a great deal.
Even if the sellers are a dealer, they allow you to take the car for an inspection to a nearby mechanic before you decide to purchase it. If they refuse to let you complete a pre-purchase inspection, we would not recommend buying that car, unless you like throwing good money after bad.
Next up is Craigslist. You can buy anything here, from bedsheets to machine guns. You can also buy used cars.
Craigslist isn’t the best site to buy a car from, as it’s still prone to scammers, but licensed dealers advertise fairly often on Craigslist, and you could find something through them.
Unfortunately, you do have to pay to put up a listing if you want to sell a car, and as I mentioned before, it's still quite prone to scammers. However, if you need a cheap car for a project, Craigslist works just fine.
The fourth website on the list is AutoTrader. Like Cargurus, this also deals with used automobiles and automobiles only. You aren’t going to find a $1500 car on AutoTrader, but you will find some good deals if you’re willing to pay for them.
They also allow you to sort by pre-owned, for sale by owner, used or by a dealer, so there’s something for everyone. It’s free to list your car as well, although you have to pay if you want to sell it to a private party through the website.
AutoTrader is a reliable place to start.
The fifth website on the list is CarFax. CarFax is a cross between AutoTrader and Craigslist in that they have many features to deal with buying and selling cars, but you are also likely to run into some problems.
They allow you to sort by make, model, used or pre-owned, etc. They also have their CarFax Report, which shows you to see the service and accident history of the car you want to buy.
The sixth and final website on the list is OfferUp. This is much like Craigslist, only more streamlined and professional. OfferUp has just about everything for sale, but they also have cars on offer.
Offerup allows you to list a limited number of cars for free, or you can register as a dealer and list unlimited cars.
Bring A Trailer
Bring a trailer is a great website to buy a used project car. Here you will find vehicles for sale by private sellers and dealers. What is unique about BringATrailer is s an auction-based website.
You find a project car and bid on it to win. Similar to eBay Motors.
At Bring a Trailer you will find a lot of non-running cars, restored cars, and classic cars. Worth checking out if you are looking for a project car.
Bring A Trailer is not the best website if you are looking for a daily driver.
Our favorite website to buy a used car in 2020 is Facebook Marketplace.
Not only can you find a great deal on a used car, but you can ask the seller any question or request more details about the car and get a response within minutes.
CarGurus is another site worth checking out, especially if you want to see what local car dealers have for sale.
You will still need to set up a time to go look at the car, take it for a test drive. We recommend arranging a pre-sales inspection as well when you find a car that you really like.
If you want to avoid all the hassle of buying a used car and really want to buy a used car online, another alternative that we didn't cover here is Carvana. While they have a large inventory of used pre-inspected cars and you can complete all the purchase online, you do end up paying more for cars sold by Carvana.