Cheap Cars for Sale in Chicago: Your Ultimate Guide


Greetings Jake! If you’re looking for affordable cars in Chicago, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about buying cheap cars in the Windy City. From where to find them to the pros and cons of owning one, we’ve got you covered. Let’s dive in!

Where to Find Cheap Cars for Sale in Chicago

Chicago has a thriving used car market, and there are plenty of options to choose from. Here are some of the best places to start your search:

1. Craigslist

Craigslist is a popular online marketplace where people can sell their cars directly to buyers. You can find a wide range of vehicles in different price ranges on this platform. It’s always important to exercise caution when buying from private sellers on Craigslist. Always inspect the car thoroughly and take it for a test drive before making any purchases.

2. Used Car Dealerships

If you’re looking for a more traditional car-buying experience, used car dealerships are a great option. Chicago has plenty of dealerships that specialize in pre-owned vehicles, and many of them offer financing options. Do your research beforehand and read reviews to find a reputable dealership.

3. Online Car Marketplaces

Websites like CarGurus and can help you find great deals on used cars in your area. You can filter your search by price, make, model, and more. Many of these sites also offer financing options and extended warranties.

4. Auctions

Car auctions are another option to consider if you’re looking for a bargain. You can find auctions in the Chicago area through websites like Keep in mind that auctions can be competitive, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll get the car you want.

The Pros of Owning a Cheap Car

Buying a cheap car can have several advantages. Here are some of the most significant benefits:

1. Affordable

The most obvious advantage of owning a cheap car is the cost savings. You can save thousands of dollars by buying a used car instead of a new one. This can be especially helpful if you’re on a tight budget or don’t want to take out a car loan.

2. Lower Insurance Costs

Another advantage of owning a cheap car is that your insurance premiums will be much lower. Insurance companies base their rates on the value of the car, so a less expensive vehicle will cost less to insure.

3. Less Depreciation

New cars depreciate quickly, losing as much as 20% of their value in the first year. Used cars, on the other hand, have already gone through this initial depreciation period. As long as you maintain the car properly, you can sell it later for a similar price.

The Cons of Owning a Cheap Car

While there are several advantages to owning a cheap car, there are also some drawbacks to consider. Here are a few of the most significant disadvantages:

1. Higher Maintenance Costs

Older cars require more maintenance and repairs than newer ones. Even if you buy a used car in good condition, you’ll likely need to spend more money on maintenance over time.

2. Less Reliable

As cars age, they become less reliable. You may experience more breakdowns or issues with an older car than you would with a newer one. This can be especially frustrating if you rely on your car for daily transportation.

3. Limited Features

Older cars often don’t have the same features and amenities as newer ones. You may miss out on things like Bluetooth connectivity or advanced safety features. This can make your driving experience less enjoyable and less safe.

Price Range
$5,000 – $8,000
$6,000 – $9,000
$7,000 – $10,000
$5,500 – $8,500


1. What should I look for when buying a cheap car?

When buying a cheap car, it’s important to inspect the vehicle thoroughly for any signs of wear and tear. Bring a mechanic with you if possible to check the car’s mechanical systems. You should also ask for a vehicle history report to see if the car has been in any accidents or has any outstanding issues.

2. Is it better to buy a car from a private seller or a dealership?

Both options have their pros and cons. Private sellers may offer lower prices, but you’ll need to exercise caution and do your research to avoid scams. Dealerships may offer financing options and warranties, but you may end up paying more for the car.

3. Should I get a pre-purchase inspection?

Yes, it’s always a good idea to get a pre-purchase inspection before buying a used car. This can help you avoid any surprises down the road and ensure that the car is in good condition.

4. How much should I budget for maintenance and repairs?

It’s hard to say exactly how much you’ll need to spend on maintenance and repairs, as it can vary depending on the car’s age and condition. As a general rule, budget at least $1,000 per year for maintenance and repairs.

5. Can I negotiate the price of a used car?

Yes, you can often negotiate the price of a used car. Do your research beforehand to find out what similar cars are selling for in your area. This will give you an idea of what a fair price is.

6. Should I buy a car with high mileage?

Buying a car with high mileage can be risky, as the car may have more wear and tear. However, if the car has been well-maintained and has a good service history, it may still be a good choice. Always inspect the car thoroughly, and bring a mechanic with you if possible.

7. Do I need to pay sales tax when buying a used car?

Yes, you’ll need to pay sales tax when you buy a used car in Illinois. The tax rate is 7.25% of the purchase price, and you’ll need to pay it when you register the car.


Now that you know everything there is to know about buying cheap cars in Chicago, it’s time to take action. Whether you decide to browse online marketplaces or visit local dealerships, be sure to do your research and take your time. Remember to inspect any cars thoroughly and take them for a test drive before making a purchase. Good luck!


Buying a used car can be risky, and there’s always a chance that you’ll encounter unexpected issues. Always exercise caution and do your research before making any purchases. This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal or financial advice.