Where to Buy Affordable Used Cars?

Paul Mangione
2 min readFeb 15, 2022

Many Americans are concerned about the high cost of used cars, especially after seeing a 45% year-on-year increase according to the Manheim Used Vehicle Index. They are asking: “Why are used cars so expensive?” The main reason was that in the last two years, a continuing shortage of computer chips reduced the quantity of new cars automakers can build as well as ship to dealers. This led to an increased demand of used cars.

The public rarely looks at another option for buying used vehicles. One of the best places to buy reasonably priced used cars is municipal auctions — auctions for vehicles from small cities and towns.

Example used car at a municipal vehicle auction.

You can an example link to a past local auction here. These sites allow you to bid online after providing your payment information. You (and your mechanic) are allowed to see the car ahead of time, start it and sometimes even drive it a short distance at their location. It is a bit more difficult, but you are going to save over 30% versus buying from a dealer lot and no concern communicating with strangers on the internet.

States and municipalities are limited to use a small number of approved auction houses. These auction house sites are less trafficked than the dealer auctions because they sell a comparatively smaller number of cars. Dealers typically want to buy a large number of cars at time. The consumer is only looking for one.

The auction houses will be professional and provide all the information they have. They want to continue working for the municipalities (it is a good gig), so they are there to provide a fair process. They make it clear if they have a working vehicle, keys and title information. Normally, he public does not know about these auctions, or they just do not think about them.

Feel free to reach out for more information and if you had an experience or a site you wanted to share, please reach out.

Paul Mangione

Fort Schuyler Advisors




Paul Mangione

Fort Schuyler Advisors www.ftschuyler.com, ex Apollo Management, MIT EECS BS/MS. Not investment advice or an offer to buy. ftschuyler.com/disclaimer