Car Buying Options: Comparing Private Sales, Dealerships & Auctions


Oct 26th, 2020

Car Buying Options: Comparing Private Sales, Dealerships & Auctions

If you’re looking for something new to drive, there are several ways you can go about getting your next car. Buying a brand new car from a dealership might be the first and most obvious option, but is it the best? Well, that depends. You could also get a car from an auction or through a private sale. Each of these three options has pros and cons, and all of them offer you a car buying experience that’s different from the other. 

Here, we’re going to compare buying a car through a private sale, a dealership, and through an auction. By the end of it, you’ll know which option appeals to you the most, and where you can start shopping for your next car.

Let’s get started.

Buying a Car from a Private Seller

Buying a car through a private sale means dealing directly with its owner. That means you won’t have any middlemen involved, which cuts down on the final cost. You can inspect the car with your own two eyes and even take it for a test drive to see if it’ll work for you.

When you buy a car through a private sale, the first benefit you get is a more direct negotiation process. You’ll be dealing with the owner of the car who can decide how much they’ll accept for the vehicle. Depending on your negotiation skills, you might even convince them to lower their price further, which is something they have the power to do (unlike a salesperson at a dealer, who will need his boss’ approval). As a result, you could get the car you want at a lower price than anywhere else.

Still, car buying through private sales has its drawbacks.

Firstly, you might have to spend a long time searching for an owner who has the exact car model that you want. Then, cross your fingers that they're willing to sell it to you at a price that fits your budget. Depending on how discriminating your tastes are, you may spend weeks or months looking for the vehicle you want.

Once you find it, though, you might then have to deal with an owner who is less-than-honest. Sure, some owners might try to cheat you outright. Others might try to be ‘smart’ and forget to mention crucial info to you about the car.

So, even though you have more power to negotiate when you buy a car through a private sale, you’ll also need to be extra vigilant at the same time.

Getting a Car Right from a Dealership

Of course, if you want to go somewhere and buy a specific car model without much fuss, you can head over to a dealership. Here, even if they don’t immediately have the model you want right on the lot, you could still order it through them. 

Best of all, a dealership will handle all of the paperwork involved in the sale. All you have to do is sign on the dotted line, and they’ll make sure to sort everything out for you.

One of the best things about a car dealership is that they are, after all, a business. Businesses have reputations that must be protected, so they’ll go above and beyond to provide you with the best service possible. If anything doesn’t go well, you can always file a complaint with their customer service department, who will work to make things right. On top of that, some dealerships will also offer additional services to you to win your business and positive reviews.

All of that sounds great, right? So what’s the tradeoff? Well, if you buy a car through a dealership, you’ll probably have to pay slightly higher prices. Don’t forget: a dealership is a business, and businesses have bills and salaries to pay. They pass those costs down to you through the final price you pay for your car. 

While dealerships do offer a broader range of vehicles to choose from, you might not find the precise model that you want. That usually happens if you’re shopping around for a niche or slightly rare car that manufacturers aren’t selling to the mainstream through their dealers.

Purchasing a Car at Auctions

Auctions are another place where you can get great cars, and often at a lower price than usual. At an auction, the organisers put a car up for sale, and buyers like you will try to outbid each other. You might find an in-person auction, though there are websites that host online auctions as well these days.

At an auction, you might get a much better deal on the car than anywhere else. That’s because no matter what happens, that car will go home with whoever places the highest bid. If you’re lucky, you might bid on a vehicle that other people might not want that much, and walk away paying so much less than what it sells at or is worth on the market.

Plus, cars that go on auction are typically checked by independent inspectors who will make sure that it’s roadworthy and worth buying.

The downside? Whenever you outbid someone for a car, you’ll have to pay a hefty deposit to secure the vehicle for yourself. Worse yet, you won’t get a chance to test drive the car before placing your bid on it.

Worst of all, in all the excitement of the car auction, you might end up bidding a price that's higher than what the car is worth. Remember: at a car auction, the final price might be much lower than the market rate, but it can go much higher as well. All of it depends on how far the bidders are willing to fight for the item on sale.

Check Out Used Cars or Auto Parts at!

Whether you’re looking to buy a car in its entirety or just the car parts needed to build one, has got you covered. Check out the website for car parts that are currently on sale, or use the Auto Parts Finder to source the parts you need. All it takes is a simple form to help you get whatever you need from suppliers from all across the country. 


By Ray Hasbollah