Buying Used Car Audio Equipment

If you're on a budget you might want to consider buying used equipment. It can often save you a lot of money on your system or at least allow you to buy a better brand of equipment. You must be careful about the equipment you buy of course. There's usually no guarantee on the equipment so if it breaks tomorrow you're probably out of luck. Caveat Emptor (Let the buyer beware).

Classified Ads

Classified ads, usually in your local newspaper, are one place to shop for used equipment. The main advantage being that you'll be able to view the equipment first hand and maybe even test it out. The danger comes from meeting someone you don't know who knows that you are going to be bringing lots of cash with you. How do you know they're not going to rob you at gunpoint? If you need to make a local transaction then you should bring one or more people with you for safety and close the transaction in a public place.

eBay and Online Auctions

The same advantages that online auctions have for buying new gear also apply for buying used gear. Ebay will have the best selection simply because it is the largest online auction site. You'll have to do your homework and make sure you know what the used value is of the equipment you're looking for. Check the completed items (auctions that have already closed) and see what similar equipment has been selling for. If the seller does not specify the shipping charges then find them out before the auction ends. Sometimes the listing will state something like "Buyer agree to pay all shipping charges". Some sellers will jack up these charges in order to make a little more profit on the deal. For tips on using eBay check out the chapter on buying used equipment.


  • Will have a large selection of used equipment
  • Low starting bid auctions may not get many bids and you can pick the equipment very cheap


  • Reputation of the seller could be questionable (check their feedback rating)
  • No warranty, most items sold "as is"
  • Shipping charges can negate some of the savings
  • You'll probably have to install it yourself as most shops won't install equipment you buy from other sources
  • Seller may require a money order rather than a credit card

Don't forget the FTC guidelines for buying from Internet auction sites.


Most newsgroups and forums will have areas that allow readers to list items they have for sale. The same notes of caution apply for newsgroups. Basically you can think of the newsgroup listings as a cross between a classified ad and an online auction. You can also post "Wanted to Buy" messages if you're looking for a certain type of equipment. Start the post with the abbreviation "WTB". Make sure you post in the right area to keep from getting flamed.


A good place to buy your equipment is from friends. You should trust them, you can see the equipment, you know it works and they'll probably give you a good price. They might be able to help you install it and they might also accept a trade rather than cash. This can work to the advantage of both you and your friend.


  • Someone you can trust
  • Equipment can be checked out
  • Can possible trade rather than pay cash


  • If the equipment goes bad there may be some tension between you and your friend. There's an old saying about not mixing business and pleasure and that goes for friends too

Check out each option and choose the one that works best for you. Also make sure you read the tips in this chapter.

Buying Used Car Audio Tips

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