HomeCar NewsBuying a Car: Dealerships vs. Private Sellers?

Buying a Car: Dealerships vs. Private Sellers?

You may even regard the color of the automobile as a major consideration. Those are all valid considerations, but perhaps one of the toughest decisions that you’d have to make when buying a car is whether to purchase from a dealership or a private seller. Both options have their pros and cons, which are outlined below.

Dealerships have a lot of positives going for them. For one, they’re highly reliable. Since dealers are licensed traders and abide by ethical business practices (the reputable ones anyway!), you can be confident that you’ll be in good hands. For instance, if you’re buying used, you won’t run into problems such as missing documents or records. It will be roadworthy (a qualified technician checks and works on the vehicle before it’s made available at a dealership) and you’ll get the opportunity to review the history of the car. In addition, you’ll usually get at warranty with your vehicle purchase – which applies to new and used automobiles alike.

The downside of buying in dealerships is usually the price. Because they have overhead expenses to deal with, you’ll most likely shoulder a tiny percentage of these when purchasing a vehicle from them. Yes, the higher cost may sting a little, but the flexible payment options that are offered by dealers make up for that. This is a bonus if you don’t have enough money to buy one outright, as installment plans are available in dealerships. What’s more, if your credit history is good, you can often get an even better deal.
For best results, always go for tried and tested dealerships, such as Cars.com (U.S.), AutoCanada (Canada), and DVG (Australia).

Note: Some dealerships also offer trade-ins for your old car. This is yet another huge benefit, as you’ll be saved from the hassle of finding a buyer for it.

Private Sellers

The clear advantage that you get from private sellers is that you can get a more economical price for your chosen vehicle. You’ll have a better chance at haggling with private owners than the sales personnel at dealerships as private sellers are often more desperate to sell their pre-owned vehicle.

The catch with private sellers, though, is that you’ll be putting your investment at risk. As you know, not all sellers will give you an accurate account of the car’s history. And due to the absence of a warranty, the expenses of mechanical problems that may arise in the future would have to come out of your pocket.

If you’re going this route, make sure that you purchase from a reputable private seller— someone you can trust (again, testimonials would be of great assistance in this regard).


Basically, there’s no right or wrong answer in the “dealership vs. private sellers” debate. If you want peace of mind, go with a dealership. If you’re ready to take a bit of a gamble and save cash in the process, then seek a private seller. Regardless, be smart and do your research so that you can get the best deal.

Happy hunting!

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