You’ll get the lowest price on a used car from private sellers
If you want to boost your savings on a used set of wheels, buy it from a private party.
The easiest way to do that is to find a ride you like and then head over to Edmunds.com to determine how much it's really worth.
Edmunds has an "Appraise Your Car" tool on their "Used Cars" page that will take you through a number of questions about the vehicle, such as its year, make, model, style, color, mileage and condition. Kelley Blue Book (kbb.com) has a similar calculator.
After you answer the questions, the site will give you a few different values for the car in your area of the country.
The lowest price is the car's worth as a trade-in, and the two others are its value when sold by an individual or a dealer.
The private-party price is the one you're looking for. It will be lower than the dealer price.
For example, Edmunds says you should expect to pay an individual owner $14,875 for a 2011 Honda CR-Z Hatchback, assuming it's the basic model in outstanding condition and with 70,000 miles on the odometer.
(You might get a slightly different price depending on where you live and the vehicle options you choose).
If you go to a dealer, the fair market value for that Honda increases to $15,971, or nearly $1,500 more than the private-party cost.
That’s because buying from a private party is a little risker than buying from a new-car dealer.
You won't get a warranty (unless some of the original factory warranty remains), and most new-car dealers limit their preowned inventory to well-running, well-maintained cars and trucks.
Looking for more tips on buying a used vehicle? Check out 10 smart moves for buying a used car.