Buying a used classic car can be extremely tricky and confusing, especially if you end up spending a lot of money on a vehicle that is actually junk. However, we do not discourage buying a car from a private seller, in fact, your perfect car might just currently be owned by a random guy who lives two blocks away. Going to a dealership is fine, but buying cars from a private seller is an adventure on its own. The trick is – you have to possess the necessary know-how on the art of assessing used vehicles.

So, is buying a classic car from a private seller something you should get into?

Our answer is – YES, if you are certain that you are getting the best deal possible and that the classic car maintenance is cheap then you are good to go.

But first, let’s go over some of the main pros and cons of buying a used classic vehicle:

Pros of buying a car from a private seller:

  • You can get a good price through negotiation as private sellers tend to leave enough wiggle room and are usually highly motivated to sell their cars.
  • Private sellers generally have lower prices as they don’t have to invest in advertising and there’s no commission involved like it is the case with the dealerships.

Cons of buying a car from a private seller:

  • There are fewer protections as you don’t have any backing of a dealership in the form of warranties, money-back guarantees, etc.
  • Unlike the dealerships, private sellers don’t always sell cars that are in good condition.
  • All the paperwork, if everything goes well and you do buy a car, is on you. When you buy from a dealership, all the necessary paperwork is taken care of by them.

Tips on How to Buy a Classic car

When buying cars from private sellers, you must be able to recognize a good car and be extra vigilant when it comes to assessing the real market value of a classic car you are buying.

Here are 4 basic steps you need to take if you want to protect yourself and your money:

Conduct a proper research

Before you go out to buy a used car, make sure you do a thorough research on that model to see what the usual price of the car is so you can have a solid starting point for the upcoming process of negotiation.

woman in classic car

Meet with the owner under the right circumstances

Ideally, you should make an arrangement with the car owner to meet in a neutral/public place, and it should be during the daytime. Daylight is your friend here as it allows you to do a better inspection of the car you are buying. Look for any signs of a collision, water damage, dents…  

Test-drive the car

You should never buy a car without testing it first. Go for a test drive and make sure you:

  • listen closely for any odd sounds that can be coming from the engine or anywhere else
  • test air conditioning and heat (should the car have those)
  • pay attention to brake responsiveness
  • test the transmission for shifting smoothness
  • test the suspension by driving over speed bumps

Bonus tip: be sure not to let the seller chat too much during the test-drive as this can make you not notice potential major issues with the car.

Have your mechanic take a look at the car

Bring your own mechanic along with you so he can thoroughly inspect the car. Your mechanic is more likely to notice any hidden damage and potential issues, so if possible, be sure to bring him along.

Note: if the seller recommends his own mechanic, make sure you don’t play along.

What are your experiences with buying a car from a private seller? Feel free to leave a comment below. For more articles like this one, and top-notch towing service in Tempe, phoenix and Mesa – visit Phoenix Towing Service website!