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It’s never too late to foster a strong love for RC cars and whether you’re a pro or a newbie, this hobby is loads of fun for everyone. The passion for radio-controlled cars generally starts with finding the best models as the better the RC car the more fun you can have. No matter if you are after the best gas powered RC car or the best electric RC car, where you find one should be the first priority.
Of course you can find new RC cars virtually anywhere but finding used models and trying to save some money or buying better quality models can be difficult. Knowing where it’s best to buy used models at, as well as some pitfalls to avoid when buying used models is incredibly important.
Some of the best places to buy a used RC car at is
- Facebook Marketplace
- Yard Sales
Each of these places have pros and cons to them which we will discuss in greater depth in this article. If you are buying locally through Facebook or one of the many local selling apps it is all about actually testing the vehicle thoroughly before paying. If the person who is selling the RC vehicle isn’t willing to let you test it or wants to ship it instead then it isn’t a deal that you want to make.
To see the current prices of some of the new and used best selling models on Amazon just click here.
When buying online however you are protected from loss either through the platform (eBay and Amazon) or through your payment method (credit, debit, or PayPal). Buying anything online is 100% safe as you always have a way to get your money back if the RC car seller tries to scam you.
Buying a used RC car on Facebook, Craigslist, or OfferUp
There are many things to consider when buying locally from people that you don’t really know. The biggest issue is that you get absolutely no warranty from any of these places so what you see is what you get.
When buying locally like this testing is the absolute most important part of the buying process (and not meeting in dark alleys!).
You will want to test EVERYTHING and make sure that the car is working exactly how it should. Make sure nothing is sluggish or non responsive but also check the distance from the controller that the vehicle will still work.
Anything and everything that you can check should be checked when buying locally because once you hand over your money you now own the vehicle and any problems that it has. If the person is unwilling to allow you to fully test out the RC or if they won’t meet somewhere where you could test it fully then walk away from the deal!
Of course your safety is another issue when meeting locally so only meet in a public place at a busy time of day such as a park near a play area or something like that. It’s also a good idea to take along a friend if you are a little bit scared or if something seems a little “off”.
Buying a used RC car at Yard Sales
Obviously buying a used RC at a yard sale is still a local sale however being that you know where the seller lives they are much less likely to try and scam you. You will still want to put the RC car through its paces and test it thoroughly but buying in this manner is safer than buying anonymously through for sale sites.
Often you can find better deals when buying at yard sales as well since the only people who will see the RC car are those that actually go to the garage sale. That also means there is a lot of legwork involved in driving to multiple yard sales every weekend so unless you regularly go out to yard sales this method of buying a used RC isn’t very practical.
Buying a used RC car on eBay or Amazon
This is by far the easiest and safest way to buy a used RC car but this method will also be the most expensive. Since you will be going up against EVERY other RC buyer in the entire USA (or world) that will drive up the prices.
This is certainly not the cheapest way to get a used RC car!
The safety of buying from online stores that have return policies however is something that you have to take into account. Being able to return a car that doesn’t work after running it once or one that was described incorrectly is worth the added cost of buying for many people.
If you want a deal from either of these places you will have to keep an eye on the listings all of the time. For eBay that means constantly checking the new buy it now listings that are posted and also looking for listings that have misspellings in the title that other people might have missed.
For Amazon it literally just means checking the prices of the used models that you are interested in multiple times a day and hoping that you get lucky in finding someone that lists an item below it’s going price.
Things to consider when buying a used RC car
When looking at used RC cars there are a few things to consider such as:
- The brand
- The price
- The type of vehicle
- The discount compared to new
- How safe the purchase is
Each of these should be things that you should carefully consider before buying a specific used RC vehicle. Let’s take a look at each of these in more detail now.
The brand of the used RC car
If the model that you are considering buying is a generic that you have never heard of then you are almost always better simply buying a new model instead. That is because generic RC vehicles are not normally made of very good materials so they will break quite quickly.
Because of this buying a used generic brand just really isn’t worth the small savings you will get.
The price of the used RC
Another thing to consider is the price of the RC vehicle. Often people will choose to buy a used RC vehicle to try and save some money so the price is a big factor in that decision. You have to determine if the price of the used model is worth taking a chance buying used over new.
There isn’t really a way to tell what is and isn’t a good price as there isn’t a website that gives used RC car model prices so you will have to decide what is and isn’t worth it to you. If you love the model and are happy with the price then go for it!
Type of RC vehicle
Prices of RC cars typically vary a lot depending on the type of model that it is. Smaller RC cars will obviously be cheaper than the larger ones but also RC trucks are typically more expensive than regular cars (unless you are talking about the Traxxas XO-1!)
When looking at different types of RC vehicles it is important to compare what that type of model costs new compared to what it is on the market for as used.
The discount on a used RC car
This goes hand in hand with the pricing mentioned above however it is slightly different. When buying a used RC car you will want to look at the price of that exact model new and compare it with the price of the used model.
If the price is relatively close and you aren’t getting a very good discount for buying used then you will not want to buy the used model. That is simply because the discount for buying used needs to be enough to make it worth your while.
In most cases you will not want to buy a used RC unless it is 50% or less of the original cost but this can vary depending on the condition of the RC vehicle. If the model is only a few months old and looks and functions just like new then you might be happy settling for 30-40% off of retail.
How safe the purchase is
When purchasing a used RC car one important thing to consider is how safe the purchase is and what recourse you have if something goes wrong.
When purchasing locally from Craigslist, Offer Up, Facebook Marketplace, etc. if something goes wrong with the vehicle 2 days after buying it then you are stuck with the non-working vehicle.
If you purchase a used model online through places like Amazon or eBay they will have return policies (and quite good ones on Amazon) that will allow you to return the vehicle if something goes wrong in the first 30 (or more) days.
The peace of mind that comes with having that return policy is certainly worth something so if you are buying locally you should make sure the price is enough of a discount that it is worthwhile for you to take the risk.
There are many different places where you can buy a used RC car but no matter where you buy it at there are many things that you should consider as mentioned above.
Ultimately only you can decide if the discount for buying used is worth the hassle and possible complications that come with it.