back to articles | May 07, 2024 | Moses Mwangi

Categories: Tips & Insights For Car Buying

10 Most Affordable Cities to Buy a Used Car


Buying a car is a major purchase for many Americans, and considering the higher sticker price of a brand-new vehicle, most people find it sensible to opt for a used car. The prices of used vehicles have reduced since their highs during the apex of the Covid-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, they are still unpredictable, and the affordability of a used car largely depends on location. For instance, last year (2023) recorded the most significant decline in average used vehicle prices, reaching $28,371 in the last quarter from $29,690 the previous year.

Nonetheless, these prices are still too high for an average earner in the US. Thankfully, with the rise of online car marketplaces and dealerships, used car buyers are no longer limited to purchasing cars within their geographical areas. You can extend your search to neighboring counties or states. Here is a list of cities where you can snag a great deal on a pre-owned ride.

Cleveland-Akron (Canton), OH

Ohio is a top contender among states with inexpensive used cars, with the Cleveland-Akron area being the overall winner. The average used vehicle price is $31,458, which is $2,769 or 8.1% cheaper than the national average. For instance, a Ram 1500 buyer in the Cleveland-Akron area will pay $39,364, while a buyer in Denver, CO, will pay $47,159 for the exact vehicle. This amounts to a $7,795 or 16.5% savings for the Cleveland-Akron buyer.

Cincinnati, OH

This is another great city in Ohio to visit if you are looking for a low average price on a used vehicle. Cincinnati is the second most affordable city to buy a used car, with an average price of $31,622. This is $2,605, 7.6% lower than the average price and $164 higher than Cleveland.

Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, VA

In Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, VA, buyers will pay an average price of $31,901 for a used car. This is 6.8% or $2,326 cheaper than the national average. However, it's still $443 higher than the most affordable city.

Fresno-Visalia, CA

If you are looking for a used vehicle within California, the Fresno-Visalia area is the best place to start. Unlike Los Angeles, with an average price of $35,420, which is $1,193 higher than the national average, the Fresno-Visalia area has an average price of $31,912, which is $2,315 or 6.8% lower than the national average.

Orlando-Daytona Beach, FL

Orlando-Daytona is the best destination if you are looking for a cheaper used car in Florida. The average price is $31,971, which is 6.6%, or 2,256, lower than the national average and $513 more than the cheapest city.

Typically, it makes more sense to buy a used car here than in Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Miami-Ft. Lauderdale is one of the most expensive cities to buy a used car, with an average of $35,479, which is $1,252 or 3.7% higher than the national average.

Detroit, MI

Detroit is another deal-friendly place for used car shopping. Buyers in Detroit, MI, pay an average of $31,990, 6.5% or $2,238 lower than the national average. Nevertheless, this is $532 higher than the cheapest city.

Columbus, OH

Columbus and Cleveland, OH, are nearly close-grained when it comes to average vehicle prices. The price difference is up to negotiation at the dealership because there has been a slight lack of used vehicle lots. Furthermore, Ohio is the least expensive state in which you can buy a car. The average price of a used vehicle in Columbus is $32,177, which is $2,050, or 6.0%, lower than the national average and $719 higher than the cheapest city.

Pittsburgh, PA

Besides being one of the cheapest cities to live in, Pittsburgh boasts of being one of the cheapest cities to buy a used car in the US. The average price of a used car is $32,177, 5.7% or $1,942 lower than the national average.

Indianapolis, IN

If you already live in Indianapolis or are willing to drive there, here is a good place to start looking for a used car. Indiana residents drive a lot, approximately 18,000 miles compared to the national average, which is between 13,000 and 14,000 miles. However, the average price for a used car in Indianapolis is $32,418, 5.3% or $1,809 lower than the national average.

Oklahoma City, OK

Oklahoma City closes the list of the top ten cities with affordable used cars. Buyers here part with an average of $32,443 to own a used car. This is $1,784 or 5.2% lower than the national average and $5,189 less than the most expensive city, West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce, FL. However, it's still $831 higher than the cheapest city.

Factors to consider before buying a used car away from your area of residence

Buying a used car offers potential shoppers many benefits. For instance, with the help of auto financing, you can enjoy smooth sailing behind the wheel of a high-end used car within your budget. However, before you hit the road to test drive or pay for the vehicle, you must consider logistics and convenience.

How do you ensure the car is the right one for you?

While price is a significant factor in purchasing a car, it's not the only aspect to consider. You must ensure the vehicle is exactly what you are looking for. If you are buying from a dealership, it's a bit simpler. Most dealerships have virtual test drives where you can test drive a car from the comfort of your house.

However, this might not be the case if you buy from an individual seller. While you can request photos or a video call for the seller to walk you through the car's features, there's still a possibility you will miss something. For instance, the seller may not disclose that the vehicle has been in an accident. If this is a concern for you, use third-party verification services to ensure the car is in good condition before buying. This means sending a professional inspector to assess the car's condition on-site.

How will you get the car home?

This is a big aspect to consider since it will affect the total amount you spend on the car. Usually, most people who are satisfied with a virtual inspection prefer that the vehicle be delivered via car transport service. Others will prefer to check out and physically test drive, which means traveling to the seller's location. This means you will incur transport costs when visiting the area and must fuel the car to return. There might even be an accommodation fee if you stay overnight.

Always add these costs to the car price to determine its worth. You might be surprised that it's more than you would pay in your home area.


Looking for a used car doesn't have to end in your city. Broader searches can uncover hidden gems to save money, as you have seen in these ten most affordable cities to buy a used car.

Fortunately, there are so many online resources to help with the search. Car buying websites like CarMax, Edmunds,, Carvana, and TrueCar have a collection of used cars for sale nationwide. The best part is you can filter results depending on model and location to find the one closest to you. However, before settling for a used car far from home, consider the cost of bringing it home, as it will affect the total cost of car ownership.