How to save money buying Facebook Marketplace cars and trucks used

Facebook marketplace cars - how I found my Dodge Dakota truck!

Want to save money buying a used car or truck? Facebook Marketplace cars and trucks can save you thousands of dollars! Follow these tips to ensure your buying goes smoothly.

Yesterday, I did a thing. A BIG thing. I bought a new-old truck! With a twist.

This new-old truck looks exactly like my old truck. Make, model, colour… but the main difference is, the new one is in better condition!

But there’s so much more to this transaction. It’s about how to land car listings ending up with a sound vehicle for a fair price. And from a private seller that isn’t a scam.

Truth be told, I never thought I’d be one of those buyers that purchased Craigslist, Kijiji, or Facebook Marketplace cars or trucks! Buying used can be absolutely scary. Especially if what you’re looking for projects low prices that may seem too good to be true.

However I think that knowledge is power. If you go in this kind of transaction with the right facts and expectations, you just may land that used vehicle that can save you lots of money.

I’ve owned one brand new vehicle in my life. And perhaps my choice was poor, so this does not speak for all new vehicles. But it was one of the worst vehicles I’ve ever had! I’ve just been much happier with purchasing used vehicles. And as a result, have managed to stay payment-free for many years.

I don’t profess to be an expert on how to purchase a used vehicle, especially with Facebook Marketplace cars and trucks. There are plenty of books to pick up on the topic. However, I can share my own story, along with some wise advice my brother guided me with, in case a used vehicle crosses your path you’d like to buy.

So here’s my own story, with tips to hopefully remove fear out of your own purchase!

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How to save money buying

Facebook Marketplace cars and trucks


How to buy used Facebook Marketplace cars and trucks

My truck story


Why another truck?


About 2 years ago, my old Dodge Dakota truck started losing its clearcoat. (I’ve since learned they can be notorious for this issue) 

However, once the clearcoat started burning off, it was like it was on fire, and within a couple of months, the paint resembled matte black cow print. Classy.

And yup. It needs a winter wash. If I had time, I would have used the below products… ha! I’ll write another post about cleaning a vehicle sometime soon.

How to buy used Facebook Marketplace cars and trucks

Calculating all the issues


I’ve been wanting to get the truck repainted, but repainting a vehicle is expensive… especially for an older truck. 

It’s also had some mechanical issues, so I finally got a bumper-to-bumper inspection, that resulted in costing me $4k. Ouch, right? 

But it was a good move, because it runs great now! And is still much cheaper than purchasing a new vehicle through a dealership.

Then when it came time to replace the tires to a tune of $1200, I hesitated. New tires on a beat up looking truck?! I’d better really decide if I’m going to keep the old truck if I’m going to continue to improve it vs. replace it first!

Time to make a list of all the repairs it still needed.

Oh yes, the fabric ceiling of the cab was falling down too. The material let go, now resembling a falling circus tent that hit your head as you drove. High end all the way here.

Right… and don’t let me forget to mention the headlights. They keep yellowing. I get them buffed now and then but they dull so quickly really reducing headlight illumination. I’ve already upgraded the lightbulbs, but when I searched for the replacement of light covers, they could only find one. Drat!

Do you have a complete picture now of what I was living with? My son called it a Halloween truck. ‘Nuff said.

How to buy used Facebook Marketplace cars and trucks

The thing is, I secretly loved my truck. They don’t make this same Dodge Dakota body style any longer so a good truck in this model that isn’t driven into the ground with super high mileage is hard to find.

I also love the feel of it… it’s compact enough to not feel too big, yet gets the truck job done well. Plus… it’s a nice smooth ride. With a good set of tires, this truck drives like a luxury car.

How to buy used Facebook Marketplace cars and trucks

The Facebook ad that changed everything


And then completely out of the blue, I was scrolling through Facebook Marketplace cars and trucks, and a picture popped up that grabbed my eye… “That looks like my truck…”

It was a picture of a truck just like mine, same color, make, model, and even with a nice canopy, but this one had good paint. REALLY good paint. 

And it also came with 4 new summer tires and 4 new snow tires. Whaaaat?

I immediately messaged my brother with the link.

“I want it!”

“Whoa. That’s a great looking truck! I can come with you if you want…”

“Yes, I would love that so much! Thank-you! Making an appointment now!”

“OK! Let’s go buy a truck!”

How to buy used Facebook Marketplace cars and trucks

How I shopped for the truck


Turns out someone was already going to look at it, so I asked if I could come earlier than that to hopefully get first dibs. I made sure there was plenty of time for an insurance and bank run too!

So the next day, we took it for a drive.

When I climbed in, it felt so clean. The seats were a warm and cozy plush fabric, in very good condition! My old seats were leather which were hot in the summer and cold in the winter. I was falling in love already.

And yup! Driving the same truck as I had, it felt like pulling on an old pair of broken-in jeans. It felt right.

While driving, I still had doubts though. I hated the thought of having to start all over with potential big repairs, but I was already assuming the worst, wasn’t I? 

So I reasoned, if I got it, I’d get it inspected at the least, so I’d know. And this time, get some good roadside insurance so I’d feel ultimately safe. Then get the list of things fixed a little at a time. If it needed it at all.

Being that it was in such nice condition, it really appeared like the owner/s treated it well. That’s worth something too.

And then I did the math.

To paint my old truck, get new tires and the ceiling fabric fixed, it came to the same price as another whole truck, that already had it all going on!

It was an absolute no brainer. I knew right then, if I got the new truck, it would be like it was free, I could swap parts, canopies if I wanted, and even sell the old one if desired to make up for any new repairs to come.

So here’s my list of suggestions if you’re shopping for Facebook marketplace cars or trucks…

How to buy used Facebook Marketplace cars and trucks

Tips on purchasing a truck


  1. Compare the vehicle you want to others elsewhere.
  2. Look over the seller’s profile. See if they have any reviews, other listings, or if they are new at it.
  3. Do your homework and know the used value before you purchase.
  4. What extras come with it? Do you want them? What are they worth?
  5. Take someone else with you who’s more knowledgeable about vehicles if possible.
  6. Try and see the vehicle first before anyone else, so you have first dibs. 
  7. Is the vehicle in good shape? Remove covers, floor mats, etc so you can inspect anything that may be covered up.
  8. Book the appointment as early as you can, leaving room for a bank and vehicle insurance paperwork with the previous owner.
  9. Request time to purchase a bumper-to-bumper inspection if they are willing. This would have been my preference.
  10. Ensure you have enough funds in your bank account prior, and an instant way to access it just in case you go for it.


What to do on a test drive


  • Remove any covers, floor mats, etc that could be covering up issues.
  • Test drive it on the side streets and highway.
  • Try all the options, such as reverse, window wipers, 4 wheel drive, radio, etc. Try it ALL.
  • View the dashboard lights during the day. (turns out some bulbs were burnt out in mine)

How to remove the fear of buying a used vehicle


I admit, there’s something very safe and attractive with the thought of purchasing a new vehicle. But unless you have lots of cash on hand or don’t mind financing, it goes without saying that brand new vehicles are a LOT of money that depreciate the instant you drive them off the lot.

You will absolutely save money on buying used. And you may even find if you maintain it properly, it may run a lot longer than a newer model with all the latest digital features.

I’ll admit, my bravery to buy used is thanks to my brother. He only buys used vehicles but really knows how to get the most out of them.

Here’s a few added tips on how to feel a little safer choosing a used vehicle:

Over-service them


You know those mileage service stickers reminding you of the next service? Get yours serviced before it’s due. And get the oil changed before it’s dirty. Twice as often as they recommend. Your used vehicle will love you forever.

And if you hear any new clicks or groans that should not be there, get it looked at and don’t take no for an answer.

I had a saturated carpet for years… until I got it taken care of at another place. Boom! All dry.

Get exceptional roadside insurance


He also carries good roadside insurance, just in case it needs to be towed for a great distance. So I will be purchasing what we call BCAA in Canada for the same reasons. It’s just a good idea. Especially if you plan a road trip.

But don’t go the cheapest route. Get the best so you are covered.

Anticipate it will require some work


I’m not even sure it’s possible to purchase a perfect used vehicle unless it just came out of the shop! So if you go in it anticipating it’ll need some work, you will likely be less shocked. Especially if you can’t get it fully inspected prior.

And when you do get it inspected, take it somewhere that’s well known for this kind of service.

I took my truck for years to a local mechanic and they claimed nothing was wrong with it. When I kept running into issues, I took it elsewhere… to the tune of requiring $4k needed work! And I haven’t had any issues since.

It appears some shops are geared to work quickly, while others focus on thoroughly. 

Facebook marketplace cars - how I found my Dodge Dakota truck!

After I got home, I did start to notice some little quirks which I fully anticipated. So I’m going to drive it for a little bit longer to really give it a fair test run, then get the truck fully inspected so I really know   what to report.

Regardless, I still can’t believe I finally have my original looking truck back! It’s so pretty once again!

Which is now leading to another big project. Now I don’t WANT to park the newer one outside. So I’m working at getting my single car garage / workshop cleaned up to accommodate indoor parking.

You can watch the progress on Instagram stories HERE

Wish me luck… because now I think I need to build a new bigger workshop in the yard!

Egads. I wonder where ‘this project’ will ultimately end?

Other vehicle tip posts you may enjoy:


How to winterize your vehicle when parked outdoors

How to winterize a vehicle that is parked outdoors

My best travel trailer tips – backing up, great gear and more!

How to winterize a travel trailer by blowing out the lines

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Categories: Junk Drawer

6 thoughts on “How to save money buying Facebook Marketplace cars and trucks used

  1. Donna,

    How exciting for you. I am sure you will have a place in the garage to park it in no time. Thank you for sharing the tips on buying used vehicles.

  2. Donna – love that you found a truck you enjoys. We need to replace a vehicle or two around here and it is hard to find something that is right – we are not gong to buy new because we really cannot find anything new we like. I am going to say that a single garage is just that – a single. It is almost impossible to have truck storage and a workable workshop. I do think you are do for a lovely little shop out back and to have a garage for your truck. I bet it will last longer and live happier in a garage – and the west coast is having more snow in the past few years. Am I being an enabler lol. You will make the right choice for you no matter what. Enjoy your new wheels!

  3. here’s a big tip on buying used. take off the oil cap and look at the underside, if its oily your ok, if it has a white film that means water is mixing with your oil (which is a big no no) and probably has a cracked block.

  4. I think your old truck was so “Funky Junk on wheels”! I love a good deal and, on a vehicle, it’s even more fun! Enjoy! You deserve it.

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