How to Find a Cheap Car that Runs Well

Car PhotoBuying and maintaining a car can be expensive. Depending on where you live and what your needs are, having your own car may be a necessity. If you depend on your car to get you to and from work or to drive your family around there’s probably no way you can get rid of your car and ride a bike around the area to save money.

I know for me personally, riding a bike is not an option for me to use to get to work and around my area since I live in a large suburb and my job is about 30-40 minutes away when driving.

However, I don’t want to consider taking out a car loan ever again if I need a new car. Getting a car loan is just a good way to get into debt. A lot of times, people finance cars they can’t afford and if you are paying interest on your loan, you’re losing money.

Having a car loan last year was the source of a lot of stress, and I spent way too much money than I’d like to admit between paying off my car, and paying for repairs and maintenance.

I figured there just has to be a better way, and there is. It’s possible to buy a cheaper car in cash that still runs well.

Look at Cars That Are ‘For Sale By Owner’

Getting a new or used car at a dealership is one of the priciest routes to take. To save money, you may want to look for owners who are selling their cars. You can search online or even in your neighborhood as there are probably a few cars for sale that are being advertised around town.

If you are searching online, you can set up Craigslist alerts to assist with your search and compare pricing on sites like Kelley Blue Book.

When considering to purchase a car directly from the owner, you must not assume the owner will openly tell you about any issues with it and they might be oblivious to the fact that the car might have some issues. This is why it’s always best to have a mechanic check the car out thoroughly and provide you with a report.

If everything checks out, you can move forward with closing the deal and you may be able to ask for a discount if there is no warranty offered etc. If something is found during the mechanic’s assessment and you’d still like to purchase the car, you will have more bargaining power to secure a lower price.

Ask Friends and Family Who Are Selling Their Cars

You may not have to purchase a car from a stranger if you know someone who wants to sell their car. This is how my husband got his latest car. His boss’ son was selling his vehicle and my husband needed a car at the time so he decided to purchase it.

I’ve also had uncles, friends etc. who had cars to sell or get rid of. Since you know the seller well, they may offer you a big discount on the vehicle. As always, you should still have a trusted mechanic check out the vehicle to make sure everything is running well.

The seller should be cooperative and shouldn’t have any problems with this. You can also take the car to AutoZone to check out the battery on the car and other functions.

Consider a Car That is Missing Something Unimportant

You may not find a perfect car for a cheap price, but you can still find a car that runs well and gets you from Point A to Point B with no problem. One of my coworkers was in the market for a new car last year but he was on a budget and wanted to purchase a car in cash. He ended up finding the perfect vehicle for his budget, but it only had one problem – the car didn’t have air conditioning.

Purchasing and installing air conditioning in the car would cost almost as much as what the car is actually worth so my coworker had to decide if he wanted to drive a car with no air conditioning for a few years or keep looking. He chose to purchase the car in cash and just do without the air conditioning issue.

I can’t say I blame him because would rather drive a car with no air conditioning forever if it meant I didn’t have to take out a car loan to purchase a car. In the Chicago area, summer weather can be brutal but not as bad as winter which is why having heat is more of a necessity than having air in your car. I probably only run the air in my car for 3 months out of the year.

If you are on a budget but need a car, you may need to make some compromises as well but consider what you absolutely need and what you don’t mind going without.

Flock to ‘Must Sell’ Situations

If you are searching for individual sellers to purchase your next vehicle from, consider ‘must sell’ opportunities for a quick opportunity to obtain a quality and affordable vehicle. Sometimes sellers are in a hurry to sell their car for a variety of reasons whether they are moving soon and no longer need a car, need cash fast, or can no longer make their car payments anymore.

Given the rushed nature of must sell vehicles, you may be able to score an extreme discount after you’ve assessed the value of the car and the condition. The seller will be less inclined to counter your offer or drag out the process if they want the car sold yesterday.

Be Willing to Negotiate

As you can see, there are quite a few ways to obtain a cheap car that runs well but you must be willing to negotiate and ask for the price you want to pay. If you don’t ask for a suitable discount, the answer will always be no and you will be stuck spending more money than you intended to spend on a car or worse, you might have to take out a loan.

If you head straight to the dealership first, you won’t be able to secure a big discount as easily as you would if you work directly with the seller.

Have you ever used any of these techniques or options to purchase a car?

Posted in: Auto, Saving Money

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