If you're looking for cheap, reliable transportation, you may be surprised to learn that you'll find many used cars under $1000. They say you get what you pay for, but in the case of used cars, that old adage doesn't always apply.
Sources for Cheap Used Vehicles
There are several sources for affordable used vehicles. Each source has its advantages and disadvantages, and you're most likely to get a great deal if you try several different avenues at once. Here are a few of the best places to shop for vehicles costing less than $1000.
Although they aren't limited to cars costing less than $1000, eBay Motors is a great way to find a car within your price range. Since you can choose whether or not to bid on the car, you get to decide your budget. Cars often sell for under $1000, especially if they are classics requiring restoration or older cars in need of a little mechanical work
Cars for a Grand
For more than five years, Cars for a Grand has been collecting and organizing automotive classified ads for cars that cost $1000 or less. You can find cheap cars near you by searching with your zip code. The links on this site will take you to the site actually selling the car, often eBay Motors or another auction-style site.
1000 Dollar Autos
1000 Dollar Autos does the searching for you, filter the results from several websites to offer you a good selection of cars for less than $1000. You can choose results in your state or select a specific make or model. Since this site does not actually sell you the car, you'll need to work with the seller directly.
Cars Under 1000
Although the user interface on Cars Under 1000 isn't particularly attractive, the site functions well and provides you with a list of cars for less than $1000. The cars are listed directly by the owners, along with mechanical information about the vehicle and contact information for the seller.
The ultimate online classified marketplace, Craigslist is another great source for used vehicles. Local sellers list their vehicles on Craigslist, and potential buyers can easily sort through and peruse the options. You can often negotiate on the price of used vehicles listed on Craigslist, and if you keep an eye out for good deals, you're sure to find something for under $1000.
Newspaper Classified Ads
Even in the age of the Internet, newspaper classifieds may be one of the best sources for cheap used autos. Because these vehicles cost less than $1000, sellers may not want to invest a lot of time and money in marketing them for sale. It usually costs only a few dollars to list a vehicle in the local classifieds, so this is a great place to find good deals on cheap vehicles.
Friends and Family
Don't overlook one of your best sources for affordable transportation. When friends or family members are upgrading to a new vehicle, they may be willing to sell you their older one. Since you save them the hassle of listing the vehicle, they may give you a good deal. When you buy from friends and family, you also get the peace of mind that comes with knowing the history of a used vehicle.
What Can You Buy with Less Than $1000?
When it comes to buying a car, $1000 may not seem like much of a budget. However, according to AutoTrader, you can get these and many other vehicles for $1000 or less:
- 2001 Dodge Caravan SE with very high miles
- 1994 Ford Ranger 2WD with moderately high miles
- 2000 Chevy Cavalier Coup with moderately high miles
- 1992 Mercury Grand Marquis with very low miles
- 1998 Ford Taurus with moderately high miles
- 1999 Plymouth Voyager with moderately high miles
- 1994 Toyota Tercel with moderately high miles
Later Model Years
When your budget is under $1000, you can expect to choose from cars that are usually at least ten years old. Depending on the quality of the vehicle, the number of miles on the odometer, and how the car has been maintained, age may not detract from its ability to provide reliable transportation.
Most cars for sale in this price range have 100,000 or more miles on them. Many have very high miles, sometimes over 200,000 or even 300,000. However, if you take the time and shop carefully, you may find a much older vehicle with very few miles. These can often represent a good investment.
More Domestic Cars Than Imports
Because imported cars, especially those from Japan, tend to hold their value better than their domestic counterparts, most cars in this price range are American-made. If you have your heart set on a Honda or Toyota, you may be able to finder a later model vehicle with high miles.
Tips for Buying Vehicles Under $1000
When you've found a used vehicle you like, it's time to do a little research. Keep the following tips in mind:
- Consider having a mechanic go over this vehicle from top to bottom. While you'll pay for this service, which often costs about $100, it could save you from buying a used vehicle that needs a lot of work.
- You may want to get a CARFAX report for your used vehicle. Even for vehicles under $1000, a CARFAX report is likely worth the money. It can clear up any mysteries about your new car or truck and put your mind at rest.
- Check for recalls. Automakers issue recalls on a regular basis, and it's a good idea to make sure your used vehicle has had any safety issues addressed. You can check for recalls on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Office of Defects Investigation website.
- Find a way to give your cheap used vehicle a little personality. Consider getting some fun car accessories, such as seat covers, dashboard trim, and vehicle organizers. You don't have to spend a fortune to have a stylish ride!
Take Your Time
If you don't need your $1000 car right away, it pays to take your time when shopping. You can compare prices and vehicles, and jump on a good deal when it comes along. Soon, you'll be driving a new-to-you car without the hassle and expense of a car payment.