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Ask Dave

Getting a Good Deal On Cars

Chris wants to know the best way to sell a car and the best way to find a deal on a used car. Dave gives Chris some tips.

QUESTION: Chris on Twitter wants to know the best way to sell a car and the best way to find a deal on a used car. Dave gives Chris some tips.

ANSWER: The best way in both cases price-wise with some exceptions is individual to individual. You’re going to get more for a car selling it to an individual. If you go to—Kelley Blue Book—and look at what’s called private sale pricing, that’s when you put the car on Craigslist, you advertise the car on eBay or on or whatever, and you’re trying to find an individual to individual deal. They’re going to give you more for the car than a dealer will because a dealer—they’re not evil. They’re just buying a car at wholesale because they want to sell it at a profit later. When they buy a car, these different companies that advertise they’ll buy your car and that kind of thing, that’s fine, but understand that they’re not ripping you off. They are just buying at wholesale. You’re selling at wholesale—not at an individual price or a retail price. That’s going to be your best bet as far as selling something goes.

As far as finding a great deal on a used car, the answer there is for you to become very knowledgeable about that particular car. You need to do research. You need to go to Edmunds Car Guide. You need to go to Kelley Blue Book. You need to go to You need to go to the different websites and really learn what a certain vehicle that you’re looking for is selling for.

Do you remember when gas shot up to $5 a couple of years ago? I bought a killer Chevy Silverado used. It was an older truck—five years old or something and had 90,000 miles on it, but it has the big engine in it. My goal is to personally mess up Al Gore’s life, so I want a big carbon footprint. I want to burn big engines—lots of gas, a gas hog. I like big engines. I’m a boy. I want a truck that I can put a Prius in the back of it. That’s what I want. You drive what you want to drive. If you drive a Prius, that’s okay. I’m not mad at you. That’s just what I was after, and I got the biggest honking engine that Chevy makes and puts in there. It’s awesome. And I was looking for a red truck—yes, I’m a redneck. I’m a hillbilly. I wanted a red truck, and I put so much chrome on it that it’s ridiculous. I had so much fun with it. It’s a blast. I love this old truck. But I’m shopping, shopping, shopping Craigslist, hitting all the dealers, looking at the websites, and boom! One pops up, but it’s at a dealer. It wasn’t an individual. It happened to be that dealer that had that truck on the lot for a while—big truck engine—and big trucks with big truck engines with $5 gas weren’t selling. He was getting ready to wholesale the truck, so guess what? I bought it from a dealer at a little below wholesale, but it was the situation and because I shopped and because I knew the market and I knew what was going on. Knowledge is what gives you power in a negotiation. That combined with patience and combine that with cash—those three things, knowledge, patience, and cash—and that’s how you buy a car at a deal.