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Buying a Second Hand Used Car? | Dealership or Private Seller?

As all of us know that the used car market in India is achieving new heights but people are still confused about many aspects. We have already given you the best options to buy from the used car market in the lowest price ranges. In this article, we cover the most commonly asked question. Used car dealership vs private seller. Which one should you choose and why? Read on to find out a detailed comparison on how your buying experience will be different when you buy from a dealer and from an owner. Before starting, we would like to tell you that all the information you see here has been sourced from general buyer and seller trends and is not meant to defame any means of buying or selling. So, let’s get started and make you more aware of the current scene in the used car market!

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Used Car Dealerships

Factory Second Maruti Suzuki WagonR
Maruti True Value Used Car Dealership

Buying a used car from a dealership is just like buying a new car from the respective brand’s retail showroom. A used car dealership is basically a toned-down version of the new car showroom. Seeing the market surge in recent days, brands have started investing in used car dealerships very much. We have seen brands like Spinny and Mahindra First Choice emerge in the market. During the pandemic times too, First Choice was seen setting up new dealerships across India. Not only these big brands, but the used car market has got some small dealerships too which operate on individual capacities.

Read 10 Best Used Cars Under 1 Lakh | Budget Car Ownership

Buying from a brand may let you trust it easily but is it the same case with small-level dealerships? Let’s have a look at all the pros and cons of buying a used car from a dealership.

Why Buy from Dealership?

  • Warranty

    When you buy from a dealership, most of them readily offer you a warranty on the car. although the warranty can range from a 30-day period to over a year. Most of them do offer a warranty which makes the people prefer dealerships for the used car buying experience. It might not be a full warranty but can be beneficial to the customer in many ways.

    Warranty on used car
    Warranty on a used car
  • Trust & Accountability

    Be it a small dealership or a brand, the shop has been there physically for years. People know about the exact location and trust it. If you buy a car from the dealership, most of them already carry out the repair work beforehand and if you still feel like something’s wrong, you can go back to them and ask them to help you to with the vehicle!

  • Wide Variety with Reliability

    Whichever dealership you might choose to complete your purchase, they will offer you a wide variety to choose from. In the discussion of used car dealerships vs sellers, variety often gives an edge to the dealerships. You can choose from a large number of options for the same model. Also, they have built a reputation and will obviously like to maintain it so are less likely to sell a car which will cause you problems later on.

    Used Car Dealership Variety
    Used Car Dealership Variety
  • Ease of Paperwork

    Usually, the dealership does all the paperwork for you. By this, we mean that they take all the hassle of the ownership transfer, finance and all the other legal formalities. You just have to go and collect your vehicle just like you would go to a new car showroom and sign the stuff!

Suggested Read 10 Not-To-Buy (Worst-Rated) Second-Hand Used cars in India

Why not buy from the dealership?

  • High Prices

    Honda CRV
    Honda CRV

    While the dealerships offer you a wide variety of cars, their prices are often higher as compared to the private sellers. It is quite obvious. They have to pay the dealership maintenance costs as well so they charge it from the customers only. Nothing comes for free. Even the paperwork they do is charged extra. The only difference is some of them are transparent about it while some of them are not.

  • It’s business for them

    Used Car Dealers
    Used Car Dealers

    Buying a car is an emotion for us Indians. the dealerships might try to hide some faulty parts or details behind that flashy car that might look good from outside. Dealerships are often blamed for reversing odometers and changing certain parts with lower quality replacements. Their only target is to sell the vehicle anyhow so they may not always be honest with you regarding the vehicle.

  • Confusion

    Used Cars for Sale

    With huge variety comes great confusion! A used car dealer might show you 3-4 different variations of the same spec car and believe me it would be really difficult to judge each and every car on each and every aspect. All of them have their own pros and cons!

Private Used Car Sellers

Used car Seller
Used car Seller

Another way how you can own a used car is by purchasing it directly from its owner. You may search for such cars on online portals or can simply spread the word in your circle and you might find a buyer/seller. While the pandemic is still on, you may need to follow certain protective measures if you are going to buy a used car directly from the owner. Let’s get started with the pros and cons of buying a used car directly from the owner.

Why buy directly from car owners?

  • Lesser Prices

    Buying used car from owner
    Buying a used car from the owner

    If you buy a used car directly from the owner, you will get a cheaper price than the dealership. Obviously, they have no extra expense to pay. You can check this yourself> Just head to an online portal and search for a particular car. If you ask a dealership for the same spec vehicle, you will realise the price difference! This is a major aspect that gives the private owners an edge over the dealers in the used car dealership vs seller battle!

  • Emotional Connects

    Used Car Private Seller
    Emotional Connect

    While it’s pure business for the dealerships, a car forms an integral part of the family of the owner and therefore, there is a very less chance that that will hamper it before selling. We are not saying that you won’t find genuine pieces at the dealerships, but the higher probability of finding good, well-maintained cars still lies with the private sellers rather than small dealerships. I can still recall an instance where the owner got emotional while transferring the ownership as it was his first car! How can someone replace parts or tamper the do in such cases? Come on!

  • Simple judgements and quick decisions

    Buying from a private seller
    Buying from a private seller

    Unlike visiting dealerships, you don’t get confused when you go to a private seller. this is because you go to see and judge a particular vehicle and the decision could be a quick yes or no. Also, you will be able to judge the vehicle properly as there will be no other similar models distracting you! The only downside here is that if you don’t like it in the first go, you will have to visit someone else and it is not a good decision for sure considering the COVID outbreak!

Read 10 Best Second Hand Used Cars under 50k | Desperate Motoring

Why NOT buy from private sellers?

  • No Accountability

    No accountability Private Sellers
    No accountability Private Sellers

    We know we said that most owners maintain their cars well but what if some major part fails after you buy it? It may not be noticed by the seller or even you can miss out certain aspects when you buy the car. Who’s responsible after the deal is made? It’s you only! The previous owner won’t hold himself responsible for anything once the deal is made. They can easily ignore your calls or even you. Just be aware that they are not answerable to you once the deal is done.

  • Paperwork Hassle

    Car Paperwork

    In case you are buying a car from a private seller, you will have to do all the paperwork by yourself. Unlike the dealerships, no one will help you out in this one. You will have to be at the RTO and get the transfer done by yourself. For this, you need a lot of time and patience considering the country we all live in!


The used car dealership vs private seller comparison is the most talked about thing in the used car market. However, as a customer, you need to be aware of both of them. You never know who might cheat you! Don’t go for the flashy clean look that the cars at the dealerships boast. At the same time, do not go for the family atmosphere that the private seller might provide you. Just do your research properly. Measure all the parameters properly and judge if paying extra money to the dealership is worth it in your case. After all, you are the best judge and get to decide for yourself!

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Vishal Khanna
GoMechanic's OG Content Creator | Automobile Enthusiast | Automobile Engineer | Blogger | YouTuber | The DIY Automotive Guy


  1. It’s a great source of knowledge; I think it will be helpful for lot of people who are looking for learning more about used car dealer vs private seller . Thank you very much for sharing this article.


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