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Purchasing Craigslist Used Cars for Sale

by craigscars


If you are considering purchasing a used car and are not sure of the best way to go about it, then you should read this article.  We will outline to you the benefits of using Craigslist.org to help you find and purchase a used car. We will explain the process, give you tips on how to deal with the cars owner and advise you on how to close the deal.  Purchasing Craigslist used cars has many benefits and after reading this article you will have the confidence to use Craigslist.org.

How to Search for a Vehicle on Craigslist

To start the process of looking for a used car you should search online for Craigslist used cars.  Use search terms that will help narrow down the type of car or vehicle that you are looking for.  For example, if you are searching for a 1991 Ford Taurus that costs less than $5000, then all you need to do is enter “1991 Ford Taurus” into the search field.  Make sure to add $5000 in the maximum price range so that the search engine knows to search for cars that costs less than $5000.  Here is a search query result for the keyword “2008 Mitsubishi Lancer” within the New York City vicinity.

Notice that my keyword search is limited to 2008 Lancers in New York.  If you are not stuck on a specific year and would like to search Lancers from all years, then simply delete 2008 from your search.  However, if you are more focused on price and other criteria, then make sure to specify your criteria in your search.  Let’s say you are looking for a Lancer with low miles and below $10,000.  Simply enter in $10,000 as the maximum price and type in “Mitsubishi Lancer” and “low mileage” into the query.  These are the results that got.

I got fairly decent results with this query, but I suppose that what others consider “low mileage” is considered high by others.

How to Value a Used Car

When you have selected the vehicle that most interests you, find out what its estimated value should be.  A good way to find out a vehicle’s estimated value is by going to Edmunds.com or Kelly Blue Book.  Make sure to include all specifics about the vehicles when getting online car estimates as these will help determine the exact negotiating price.  If you do not have all the information about the vehicle, then it’s OK to contact the owner through e-mail or by phone to get additional information about the vehicle.  Some information that may not be included on the ad is overall condition, accessories and mileage.  All of these factors are important when valuing a vehicle.  Make sure to print out all this information as it will help with the negotiating process.

How to Talk to Seller

Now you are ready to contact the owner.  Make that call or send that e-mail, tell the owner that you have spotted the vehicle on ‘Craigslist.org’ and that you have a few questions for the owner.  Ask any questions you like in order to satisfy your curiosity regarding the vehicle.  Your really are trying to find out has the vehicle been in any accidents, has the owner had any problems with it, why the owner wants to sell and any other information that will help you.  Make sure to check whether the vehicle has been salvaged.  A way to do this is by checking a CarFax report.  Many people do not buy these reports because it’s an extra expense, but this report could save you from purchasing a potential lemon.  Carfax reports also show previous owners, mileage recorded by the DMV and whether the car has been in major accidents.

If an owner is slow to get back to you with information then maybe he or she is not that serious about selling, so do not waste too much time on them.  If you decide to move on to the next phase, meet the owner,in a public place and with a friend if possible and seal the deal.  Even though it will cost you and extra $150 (roughly), it’s good to check out the vehicle with a local mechanic.  A private seller that has nothing to hide will gladly oblige to this request.  Taking a vehicle to a mechanic can save you hundreds of dollars in the long run.   Think of this as a small investment.  Remember to never send money to the seller before checking out the vehicle.  Craigslist cars is not obligated for any fraud that is committed on behalf of the seller.  It is up to you as the buyer to perform due diligence.

Advantage of Using Craigslist Over Using Traditional Auto Websites

The big advantage to purchasing Craigslist used cars for sale is that you can do a huge amount of research on the vehicle you are interested in before you have to contact the owner.  Also, there’s a large variety of vehicles that websites such as Vehix and Lotpro will not have.  The majority of cars offered on theses websites are from dealerships.  These websites make a profit from selling advertisements, and the majority of advertisements are bought by car dealers.  Whereas, a large amount of private owners sell their vehicles on Craigslist because it provides a way for private car sellers to solicit their car online for free.  This means that you will find a large amount of private car sales on Craigslist and less cars for sale by owner on commercial used car websites.  Remember, a large variety of vehicles sold by owners means a higher chance of purchasing a used car within your budget.   Also, many buyers find that they are very comfortable with purchasing cars on Craigslist because they do not have to deal with pesky car dealers.

Here is an example of the selection offered on Craigslist used cars for sale compared to Lotpro.  Let’s say I’m searching for a used vehicle under $5000 in Minneapolis.  I want to only search for vehicles sold by the owner — which website will offer more results?

Craigslist results for cars between $1000 to $5000, in Minneapolis (there were over 1000 results)

Here are the results for cars  between $1000 to $5000 using the Lotpro website (830 results)


As you can see, the Craigslist Minneapolis website shows more results than Lotpros AND all of the results are cars sold by owner, not by dealerships.  The cars listed on Lotpro are vehicles sold by used car dealers.

When you have decided to purchase the vehicle, it’s vital that you have all your information with you to transfer the title.  To register the vehicle you will need the bill of sale, odometer reading, title transfer and the vehicle VIN. It is important that you register the vehicle with the DMV, or else the car is not legally yours.  This post is just an overview of how to buy cars on Craigslist, for specific information you can review my other posts for helpful tips and tricks on using the Craigslist used cars website.

By the way, if you have a used car that you would like to purchase or sell.  Please your information in the comments section below and I will approve them as fast as possible.  There are many readers that come to my website and are eagerly waiting to purchase and sell used cars.  Let’s create a community of “hybrid” buyers/sellers that do not need to rely on sleazy car dealers to buy/sell cars!

Now, that you know how to buy used cars on Craigslist, it’s time to search for a used car. Use this customized Craigslist Used Cars search engine to find any car within the United States. Type in your search query — and remember, the more specific your search, the better the results.

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

loonsulsenild February 23, 2011 at 8:03 am

The price of gas is continuously fluctuating. Most occasions, its sky higher!

Here are some strategies for you to save gas.

1. Tune up your car always. Poor running condition eats up more gasoline.

2. Plan your route forward of time. This avoids taking pointless driving.

3. Use your aircon sparingly. You are able to flip the aircon on for a few minutes then flip it off
and let the fan circulate the cool air in the automobile. Do not open the windows when you aircon is on.

4. Keep the windows closed when travelling at higher pace for much less air friction.
Open windows drag the speed and lower gasoline mileage.

5. Do not idle your engine for lengthy intervals of time.

6. Do not journey at quick speeds in low gears unless of course you need the compression to slow down.

7. Attempt driving on allowed pace restrict.

8. Don’t rev the engine when not necessary.

9. When the price for gasoline is high, don’t fill up. Wait till it goes down.
You do not wish to give an impression to oil companies that you are prepared to pay for gasoline at any cost.

10. Lastly, purchase autos which have great gas mileage.

11. Do not forget to cover your car.

Goodluck!

joan June 26, 2011 at 12:08 pm

how do I sell my car on craig’s list
it is a 2005 Dodge Magnum with a Hemi engine, V-8 engine.
thanks, joan.

dale kesterson June 27, 2011 at 4:17 pm

My sister has a 2001 signature lincoln continental, 4 door pearl white, good condition with 96,000 miles on it. Good rubber, ac, power everything , beige leather interior. She would like to sell it on craigslist what is the next step. Living in naples fl

Carol Schopff June 28, 2011 at 2:48 pm

I want to sell my car its a chevrolet maliboo 2008 it has 7,900 kl
could you pleasetell me how to advertise also a chevrolet silver truck thankyou C Schopff

J. Rezab July 1, 2011 at 4:02 pm

I have a 1970 VW bug that I would like to sell. Please tell me how to list it on craigs list, thanks.

J. Rezab July 1, 2011 at 4:10 pm

I would like to sell my 1970 VW

Bill Newton July 12, 2011 at 8:34 am

I would likw a toyota, honda, or nissan with pretty good gas mileage. It can be a small suv, car, or minivan. My price rance is $4,000 to $5,500

Bill Newton July 12, 2011 at 8:38 am

I would like , a toyota, honda, nissan with pretty good gas mileage. It can be a small suv, car, or minivan. My price range is $4,000 to $5,5000

Jamie Harvey July 28, 2011 at 3:39 pm

I have for sale a silver 91 Ford Mustang 77000 miles with a 5.0 and a 5 speed, sun roof and a hatchback. ask $4200 or best offer

m August 8, 2011 at 10:52 pm

was a toyota highlander for less than 13,000 or a hona crv for same price

Sandra Morris August 14, 2011 at 3:02 am

I’m looking for a chevrolet 1960′s impala if body work needed no problem

Leone Erickson September 2, 2011 at 11:16 am

I have a 2005 Subaru Forester for sale. It has just over 101,000 miles.
It gets aroung 25-27 mpg around town and 31 on highway
It’s color is silver . It’s using some oil and it needs new tires. It’s been a great car but it’s time to update.
Price: $9,000 or best offer

Andie September 2, 2011 at 9:31 pm

Looking for a used car low miles zephyr hills area

c garcia September 4, 2011 at 6:16 pm

i would like to by car from owner w payments.i have 500 cash and can pay 300 a month.i perfer olds,buick,cadilac

Michael Pursifull September 5, 2011 at 6:14 pm

I have a 1992 BMW 525i for sale. It is in great condition. 110,000 mi. Silver in color, automatic, black leather, brand new power steering gear box and power steering pump,18-inch wheels off a 06′ BMW 525i, sunroof and body is in great shape. Asking 6000.00. Call 513-301-9532 or email.

John Patterson September 6, 2011 at 10:53 am

I have a 1999 Chevrolet S10 Stepside pickup truck for sale. It is navy blue. It has 220,000 miles, automatic and is a 4-cylinder engine. It has a bedliner, am/fm radio, air conditioner, good tires, body is in good shape. It has a hole in the radiator and the engine is rattling and running rough. Email me at jpatters@mtsu.edu or call 615-477-3290.

Joshua September 20, 2011 at 10:48 am

I have a 96 dodge ram for sell or trade. It runs great needs wheel barrings.and a transfer case for the four wheel drive. Its a 1500 extened cab ac and heat. I only want 1250 for it. Great work truck .317 413 6128.

Eugene Covington September 24, 2011 at 4:28 pm

I have a 2006 Chrysler 300 touring, midnight blue, 74,000 highway miles FOR SALE ! Asking $11,500.00 Call 765.621.5771

lewin andaya September 28, 2011 at 9:03 pm

im looking for a honda or toyota around $ 1000 to$3000 worth 4 door ,no damages ,low mileages car

ROBERT SWAN September 29, 2011 at 7:42 am

2007 BUICK LACROSS CX 4 DR 52000 MI. EXCELLENT COND. #$12200.00

ashley plummer September 29, 2011 at 7:47 am

i am looking for a impala for about 2,000 year 1999-2000.

Bobby Wilfork October 4, 2011 at 6:34 am

I am looking for a 2001-2004 2door Montey Carlos in the price range of 1500 dollars and in great condition(body & engine).

linda hall October 11, 2011 at 3:46 pm

I have camper shell for sale for a 4×4 short bed, grey ford. It is only a yeasr old. I am asking 1200.00 for it. I paid 1800.00 for it. The truck is no longer with me. You can reach me by my email if you are interested.

manjit singh October 12, 2011 at 1:49 pm

i am intrested in purchasing a used car ,make honda civic,tyota crolla,hyndai assent,price range c$4000 to c$7000

Dennis October 13, 2011 at 12:55 pm

I have a 1997 ford F150 ext-cap W/200,000 miles , drive it daily, maintained very well. ac,heat,new tires, evrythings works. must sell need money $2500.00 cash.

Chuck Meyer November 11, 2011 at 8:13 am

I would like to sell a 2009 Acura TSX for $19950, 61000miles just purchased with dealer warranty and clean car fax.

dave leslie November 24, 2011 at 3:38 pm

1990 or newer toyota car or truck under $4000 near chicago il or southbend in

David Gezon December 7, 2011 at 3:27 pm

I have a 2003 Buick LeSabre ltd. It has 111,000 miles. In very good condition. Location: Grand Rapids Michigan. $6690 GETS 29 MPG on highway.

David Corey Sr. March 20, 2012 at 8:40 am

looking for a used Jeep Wrangler or a used convertible with over 100,000 highway miles on it.

Mary Clark March 21, 2012 at 7:14 pm

i am looking for a reliable car for about $500 to $1000 that i can take care of my personal business.
Not a high mileage car or too damage, fixed income. Chevorlet Corseca orToyota that get good MPG on road.

Georgia Ford July 22, 2012 at 6:39 am

im looking for a nice car 4door some between $500 and $1000 in good shape

cheryl P. September 27, 2012 at 10:42 pm

i am a student and grandma looking for small gas saver car $500. to $1000.

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