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A Guide to Finding Used Cars for Sale On Craigslist

By Mike Richards Updated: 11/05/2019 Posted: 06/26/2019

In today’s world, where there are so many ways to buy a car or even a product, what works? Perhaps you have heard of an online site known as Craigslist. Like many online sites made for buying and selling, Craigslist has a peculiar way for individuals to buy and sell on that platform. There are of course no guarantees that every deal will be straightforward, but it is one way to get the car you want. So this will be a guide for those who do not know what Craigslist is and for those who want to get a good deal on a car.

What is Craigslist?

Right off the bat, the major question on anyone’s mind is, “what is Craigslist?”. According to Wikipedia, Craigslist is a “classified advertisements website with sections devoted to jobs, housing, for sale, items wanted, services, community service, gigs, résumés, and discussion forums”. Regarding cars and auto sales, this means that it is a place where both individuals and professional companies can put items up for sale as well as make postings of items they want. Furthermore, there are many ways to acquire items from Craigslist: from trading to bartering to offering services in exchange for an item. However, even with all the good things about Craigslist, there are scams that occur on Craigslist, which I will cover later in the article.

Salvage Cars Online

An important thing to note is that the idea behind Craigslist can be summed up in one word: reachability. People who work with Craigslist want to see the other party in person, whether it be seller or buyer. Being that all transactions are done between two parties, Craigslist’s only function is to serve as an intermediary and thus offers no guarantees or securities. This means that Craigslist does differ very much from auto auction sites like AutoAuctionMall.

Dealer auctions like AAM, where you would buy a vehicle online and not in person, offer you a great deal of security and information at your disposal to deter possible scamming, while Craigslist does none of that. The positive for Craigslist is the ability to see the product in person which does deter people from buying used items online, but the savings are not as good as the ones you might find on auto auction sites like Auto Auction Mall.

How Does Buying Used Cars for Sale On Craigslist Work

As stated before, buying on Craigslist has many options with it like the traditional buying and selling as well as trading and possible bartering; there is a section dedicated just to bartering. The way the Craigslist is structured is in person-to-person transactions. What this means is that you will not be receiving items through the mail and you won’t be paying for things in any other way except for with cash. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, but in reality, people, especially with cars, just want to sell the item and get all the money they can.

So how does this work with Cars? Well, buying a car or item of great value is always, at times, an arduous and time-consuming experience. However, there are benefits like cheaper deals and great opportunities, while on the opposite side you can get a very bad deal. Not only can you buy vehicles from individuals, but you can also find professionals selling such vehicles. It is important to know that you can choose to search for cars being sold by professionals as well as individuals or only one of the two. This, however, does not come with risks from either of the two seller types.

Online Cars Montage

The Risks

Here are some risks associated with buying at Craigslist that you should be aware of:

  1. Scams

Some scams you may find at Craigslist are fake ads or people trying to sell products without providing sufficient information. This involves misleading on the product condition or even entirely fake products, like false car parts. In some cases, the scammer may try to steal the buyers identity, which leads to a lot of money lost. On the seller’s end, this may involve paying with counterfeit money or fake checks.

  1. Criminal Activity

One major deterrent for people that think of using Craigslist is the risk of being a victim of crimes, such as theft and assault. These are dangers associated with meeting people that you do not know personally in obscure places to buy or sell a product. Often using common sense can be enough to avoid these scenarios, but there are situations where the criminals can be more clever. This, of course, can be avoided by taking proper precautions.

Pros to Expect from Craigslist

  1. Good Deals

When it comes to cars, we all look for the best possible deal. Though notorious for the aforementioned reasons, Craigslist is very well-known for being a site where you can find cheap deals and where you can even bargain for the item you want. This means you can acquire a great vehicle for much cheaper than you would at a dealership.

buy used cars online

  1. The Ability to See the Product Before Purchasing

While many sites can offer cheaper deals online, what deters individuals from those sites most of the time is the inability to see the item beforehand. For those looking for cars, especially those with little experience in car purchasing, or little knowledge of cars aside from driving, being able to see the vehicle before buying is an advantage. Craigslist allows you to do this because you will be dealing with people from your own local area. This gives you the ability to meet the other party in person and inspect the car for yourself.

  1. No Obligations to Purchase an Item before Testing

As an extension to the previous point, having the ability to see the vehicle entails the option of testing the vehicle with no obligation to purchase. Though not always allowed by the seller, it is very recommended to always do so. Being able to test drive and also take the vehicle to a review with no obligation to purchase is a safe way of making sure you do not lose your money.

  1. Trade as Well as Pay

You can acquire a vehicle not only by using money but also by trading with another or, an extension of making a trade, bartering for the car by offering services or even a different kind of item. Online auctions and dealerships do not give you these options.

Further Reading

Strategies For Buying Used Cars for Sale On Craigslist:

inspecting salvage car

  1. Take Caution and Avoid Possible Scams

There is danger around you at every corner, especially when dealing with strangers in an unprofessional setting. Be careful and always take careful steps when dealing with strangers.

  1. Make Sure to Know Why They’re Selling and Get a Good History

Great deals are too good to be true at times. Some are so good that doubts will without a doubt rise up. Make sure that you know exactly why the car is being sold. A simple excuse is too strange, you might even be getting sold a stolen vehicle, caution is a must.

  1. Insurance, Test Drive, Inspection and Thorough Reviews

To avoid putting yourself at risk or possibly breaking the law make sure to know in what circumstances the car is in. Even if you need to call a mechanic, spending extra money to save more is always a must. This also includes knowing the laws in the location that you are in.

  1. True Values Are Important

A great deal comes from knowing what can put you at an advantage. If the seller needs to sell the car, and you know that he is asking more than its worth, you can push for a lower price tag and still get the deal. You might even get the car for lower-than-market value.

  1. Checks Are a Must

Bringing physical money is just like asking for an assault. Even if the person looks honest, an honest deal and an honest transaction, especially for cars, requires records and the best record is a bank account transfer. Even if by check, make a way to make the deal at a bank to avoid any surprises for both you and the seller.

A Great Alternative to Craigslist

Online Car Sales

On the other hand, if you really want to save money and you are looking into buying used vehicles, take a look at what you can find online on places like where great prices are offered and great support is available.

Online dealer auctions allow you to buy vehicles for prices usually only available to dealers. They offer a great set of tools and a personal adviser to make your transactions much smoother. Not only will you save money, but you also may even be able to acquire the vehicle you want while saving up to 70% off of the market value. Therefore, if you are interested in saving money on a future car and you want the most lucrative way to do so, check out an online auction site today!

Why Choose Auto Auction Mall?

Most of the vehicles that we sell have previously been titled as salvage cars. They are generally sold on by insurance companies for next to nothing, after the previous owner has received an insurance payout in exchange for the vehicle. This sounds like the end of the road, but it isn’t. These cars come in various conditions, and the majority could be repaired and re-titled as roadworthy again. Sometimes these cars have very little damage at all, after being recovered from criminal action, or maybe the insurance provider deemed genuine new original parts to be too expensive, when in fact, you can buy used parts or from a cheaper manufacturer at low cost.

Our website gives you a chance to bid on, and buy, these vehicles. You will be amazed how low these prices are, and even with repairs and parts factored in, you will be saving thousands on the cost of your next car, as compared to buying a similar used model on a website like Craigslist.

Example Auctions Currently Live

There are a few tricks to buying cars this way, but the savings make it worthwhile:


One of the most important things you should do when buying a car is to check its history. You should find out how many owners it has had, whether it was involved in any accidents and if there is a record of structural damage. To do this, you can do an online check using the car’s VIN (Vehicle Identification Number).

It is also important to consult insurance companies to find out if you will have any problems getting coverage for the car. Rebuilt salvage cars are more difficult to find insurance coverage for, because many insurers are reluctant to offer it. It is possible to get it, though. However, you may have to have your vehicle inspected by an agent of the insurance company. In any case, this will ensure that future issues you may have will not be traced back to past (and now repaired) damage.

All in all, you need to be careful when setting up your budget. Consider not only the cost of buying the car, but also the costs of making the necessary repairs and the whole legal process of getting the vehicle back on the road.

How Auto Auction Mall Can Help

You will find that the process of buying a salvage car will be a lot easier if you use Auto Auction Mall. Auto Auction Mall offers you a powerful search function that allows you to search for the repairable cars for sale closest to you at any given time. This will help you save thousands of dollars on your purchase. Auto Auction Mall will also give you access to auctions that are usually barred to the general public and only open to dealers. These auctions are the best source of repairable vehicles online. The way Auto Auction Mall will help with this is by acting as a ‘proxy bidder’. This means we will bid on your behalf on the cars you are interested in, within a bidding limit you set.

If you are interested in our help in finding repairable or salvage vehicles, you only need to contact us for more information. We will get back to you as soon as possible.