One of the chief benefits of buying a cheap car is not having to make monthly payments. Even without having to worry about a car note, you still have to spend hundreds of dollars every month on fuel, insurance, and maintenance. So, if the opportunity arises to purchase a car with cash, then you should jump on it.

While there are a lot of benefits to paying the total amount of a car in cash, you still need to be careful. Paying cash for an automobile—even for a cheap car—can be a risky investment. Continue reading to learn 5 rules for purchasing a cheap car with cash.

1. Shop at an auto auction.

Buying a car with cash can be a frivolous investment if you’re not careful—especially if you’re buying from a private owner. One thing about buying a car from a person off the street is that you don’t have any idea of the type of care they took of the vehicle. Often times, people sell their used vehicles when they no longer function properly, and they want to avoid losing the car for nothing.

A great way to avoid the pitfalls of buying a cheap car from a private owner is to shop at auto auctions. Many of the cars at auctions are either repossessed or are gently used rental vehicles. That means you can find a car that still runs like new for the same price you would pay for some hoopties. It all depends on the luck of the bid.

2. Scour the internet.

In this new age, one thing is certain: if you can’t find what you’re looking for locally, you can find cheap used cars online. You might as well consider the internet as the world’s largest car lot.



You can find great deals on cars for sale from private owners, dealerships, and even online auctions. The information superhighway is where smart buyers do their car shopping.

3. Get a collision and repairs report.

There’s nothing like paying cash for a car only to find out that it has unseen, permanent, or structural damage from an auto accident. Maybe it’s even had the engine rebuilt or blown gasket seals. In either case, that car will probably never run the same again.

One of the best things about the information age is that you can find out the history of an automobile before you purchase it. Get a report that details all collisions and major repairs so that you can have a full picture of the vehicle you’re considering buying.

4. Have a mechanic look at the vehicle before you buy it.

Automobile sellers have one goal in mind, and that’s to get rid of their vehicles. Sometimes they may inadvertently—or purposely—overlook mechanical problems in the name of making a sale. With cash cars, once the money, keys, and title have been transferred, the deal is final—so you’d better buy wisely.



Even if a car has a clean collision and repair history, it could still be a lemon. The only way to make sure that you get exactly what you pay for is to let a mechanic check the car out before you buy it. A mechanic can not only point out mechanical issues, but they can also act as an appraiser to give you a better idea of the car’s true worth.

5. Don’t use actual cash.

Even though buying a car with cash implies that you show up to sellers with thousands of dollars in hand, you shouldn’t do that. Carrying around large sums of cash is dangerous no matter what you plan to do with it.

If you’re looking to purchase a car outright, then you should go to your bank and get a cashier’s check in the amount of the vehicle. You may also be able to pay with a wire transfer, but this option is more costly. However, both of those options are worthwhile in light of all that can go wrong with carrying around that much cash.


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