If you have bad credit, and don't qualify for a loan from a traditional lender, you may be tempted to buy a car from a private seller. Although this will temporarily solve your transportation issues, there are several things that you need to keep in mind.


There are many benefits to buying a car from a private seller. One major benefit is that a private seller will know much more about the car's history than a dealership will. They will also allow you to make a one time cash payment and can drive away the same day.

Avoid being Taken for a Ride

Auto Credit Express wants to remind you that while most private sellers are honest, you do need to be on the lookout for con artists. Curbsiders often pose as private sellers, in an attempt to sell illegally obtained vehicles. There are also people who will post phony Craigslist ads in an attempt to steal your money or your identity.

Whenever you buy a used car, you can avoid being taken for a ride if you keep the following tips in mind:

  • Be wary of any price that sounds too good to be true.
  • Always meet the seller in a public place. It's also a good idea to take someone else with you, just in case there are any problems.
  • Visually inspect the vehicle for rust and damage, especially in places where there shouldn't be any, which may indicate that the vehicle was in a flood or other natural disaster.
  • Take the vehicle for a test drive under your typical driving conditions, keeping the radio off, so that you can listen for unusual noises.
  • Have it inspected by an independent mechanic, who can spot damage that was never reported and inform you of repairs that it may need in the future.
  • Check the VIN on the title, dashboard, and driver’s side door to make sure they are all the same.
  • Check for any tampering that may indicate the VIN was changed.
  • Confirm that the name on the title and the name of the seller match, and that the VIN matches the VIN on the car.
  • Obtain a vehicle history report through a company such as Carfax.
  • Get the seller's contact information in case there is a problem with the vehicle or title.
  • Do not provide a private seller with your bank account number, PayPal information, or Social Security number.
  • Obtain a bill of sale from the seller, and keep it in a safe area.

As We See It

Buying a car from a private seller can be a good way to get a cheap vehicle, without the hassle of getting an auto loan, if you go about it the right way. However, unless you can come up with a large sum of money, you are limiting your vehicle choices. There is another option available to you, even if you have bad credit, bankruptcy or even no credit at all.

Our network of lenders match people that have experienced difficulties with their auto credit with new car dealers that can offer them their best chances for approved car loans.

So if you’re ready to reestablish your car credit, you can begin now by filling out our online auto finance application.