7 Steps to find the hottest used car deals in Ecuador

“This country never ceases to amaze me.”

I thought when I saw a 2009 model of a vehicle just $1000 less than the 2012 version as I used-car-shopped earlier this week.

Due to the high import tariffs and restrictions on vehicles, cars are not only more expensive than they are in the US, they also retain their value.

It’s true.

It’s not uncommon for folks to buy a used car, use it for a year or two and sell it for about what they paid for it (especially if they got a bit of a deal).

Based on the advice of several locals and my own experience in Ecuador, here’s what I did to find the best deal on the car purchase made this week.

1. Establish what make, model and year you are looking for and browse a few of the most popular websites in Ecuador to determine market value of the car in Ecuador. The most popular sites in Ecuador to find used cars for sale (and where I found the best deals) are:

PatioTuerca.com – Website dedicated to the sale of cars nationwide in Ecuador. Vendors must pay to advertise.
PatiodeAutos.com – Website dedicated to the sale of cars nationwide in Ecuador. Vendors must pay to advertise.
MercadoLibre.com.ec – The eBay of Ecuador.

2. Go to Quito. Here you’ll find the largest selection and the highland people in Ecuador are renowned locally for taking better care of their cars (and belongings in general) than the coastal people in Ecuador. Plus, it helps that the car hasn’t been eroded by the salty, ocean air.

3. Skip the used car lots. I went to about 10 and they were an enormous waste of time if you are looking for something very specific. Chances are they won’t have it, or if they do, the deal isn’t that great or the car is not in very good condition.

4. Visit the car fairs. In Ecuador, these fairs are open to not only dealers but the public too. The most popular ones are in POMASQUI near Quito on the road to the Mitad del Mundo and GUAMANI exiting the south of Quito on the Panamericana on Saturdays and Sundays from 9a-5p.

5. Check the El Comercio Quito paper on Sundays. The other days will have very thin car listings at best.

6. If a deal still hasn’t been found continue searching on the net on the sites mentioned above and always be sure to ask “Cual es lo ultimo?” (What’s your best price?) All the cars I found in Ecuador were negotiable by about $200-1500 off their asking price on cash purchases.

7. Remember it’s a common practice in Ecuador to fiddle with or set back the mileage on a car. Focus on things like the wear on the tires and brakes or have a mechanic check the car to determine true mileage.

Using the above strategy I helped find, and pull the trigger on a 2011 Chevrolet Aveo with AC in ‘like new’ condition with under 30,000 km for $11,000 after a friend and I had determined the average market value of the same car with AC in Ecuador to be $11500-13000.

That’s how you find a used car deal in Ecuador.

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