Buying a Used Car for Under $3,000: What to Expect

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12 Used Cars You Can Buy For $3,000 or Less

The need for super-cheap used cars has never been greater. In addition to the usual demand for low-cost pre-owned vehicles, the coronavirus pandemic has commuters fleeing mass transit for the safety of private cars. 

Can you buy a used car for less than $3,000? Yes, you can, but there are trade-offs when you’re looking for a car that cheap. The lower the price of a used car, the older it will be, the higher mileage it will have, and the more chance for damage or title issues. With a $3,000 budget, you shouldn't expect to find a late-model luxury car or SUV. You'll need to go back nearly a decade to find a variety of vehicles to choose from. 

Here’s the challenge, though, with vehicles that old. Many aren’t even worth the little money that dealers are asking. You need to be especially vigilant. That means checking vehicle history reports, taking a thorough test drive, and getting any vehicle you’re considering checked out by an independent mechanic.

We’ve scoured our used car listings to find a dozen used cars that were available at the time this article was written. Because of that, it's likely that the exact used vehicle you're looking at has already been bought. When you’re ready to buy, simply go to the U.S. News used car listings. There, you can enter your zip code, how many miles you’re willing to travel, and your budget. You can use the results to find your own inexpensive used car. 

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