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Finding the Best Used Car Dealership in Baltimore, Maryland

Finding a good used car dealership can be tough. You want to find one that treats you well, makes good use of your time, and can sell you a quality used car at an affordable price. As you’ve probably heard on the news, supply chain issues with automotive chips have caused the price of used cars to rise significantly. With rising car costs and limited inventory, you want to find a used car dealership near Baltimore that has a good selection of cars at an honest price. The goal of this article is to teach you more about the different kinds of car dealerships near Baltimore, with their advantages, and disadvantages, and give you some good food for thought as you begin the search for a vehicle to get to work and play.

Types of Used Car Dealerships in Baltimore

There are lots of car dealers in Baltimore. As a large metropolitan city, you can find car dealers that sell trucks, cars, or SUVs just about anywhere in Baltimore. Depending on your current financial situation, you might benefit from a car dealer for bad credit. We’ll also talk about franchise dealers like the Toyota dealership near Baltimore.

Independent Used Car Dealerships near Baltimore

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Big Variety and Selection

One of the best parts of shopping at an independent used car dealership is the big selection of different makes and models of vehicles. Independent dealers don’t have ties to a particular manufacturer, so they can offer anything from a Toyota to a Chevrolet and a Kia. While this holds true of franchise dealers too, you’ll likely see an even bigger mix at independent dealers. 

Why is this important? First, there aren’t any new cars at an independent dealer – so all the cars you see are preowned. This alone gives you many more options – and half the lot isn’t taken up by cars you either couldn’t buy or would pay way too much for. Second, if you haven’t decided what kind of car you want, there are more used cars to try out.

Multiple financing options

Independent dealers offer a variety of financing options, including for bad credit. While dealerships often have the franchise finance company in their back pocket, independent dealers can pick and choose which lenders they want to work with, which includes an array of lenders that can help people with poor credit. Ever been sent away from a franchise dealer, shaking your head because you didn’t have quality? Head to an independent dealer.

Local Support

Most independent dealers are owned within the community. You are supporting someone who spends their money in the community, and sends their kids to school nearby – and dealers often sponsor local initiatives and organizations, like Little League baseball. 


No Certified Pre-Owned

Certified Pre-owned cars from most manufacturers have an extended warranty and have been inspected by the dealer. Drivers seeking extra peace of mind like this, especially for late model pre-owned vehicles. Realistically, these drivers do pay a price. The inspection isn’t free, nor is the warranty – the whole thing is built into the higher price of the vehicle. Independent dealers inspect the vehicle anyway.

Franchise Used Car Dealership near Baltimore

A franchise dealer usually has a giant manufacturer logo. You could probably find a Ford dealership near Baltimore, Maryland just by driving on a busy highway and looking for a sign. These dealerships sell both new and used vehicles.



Franchise car dealerships can have a good reputation. Note that we used the word can – not all do. Franchise car dealerships often have a carefully crafted reputation online and have at least 4 stars on Google (to be fair, many independent dealers get great reviews too) because they ask for reviews from the people they treat well. To be fair, you are just as likely to find a poor review for a franchise dealer.



The inventory at a franchise used car dealer depends. Your local Chevrolet dealership near Baltimore might have lots of pre-owned Chevrolet vehicles. This isn’t a great thing if you don’t like Chevrolet. Generally, a franchise dealer carries more of their own brand, which limits the kind of brands the dealer carries.

Price Gouging

We’ll try to be nice while explaining this. Dealers try to explain the market price for cars and their fees while sounding transparent when they really aren’t. Car listing websites like CarGurus and have entire initiatives designed just to clarify which prices are fair and which are not. Before the Internet became a household utility, price gouging was easy. Now it’s more subtle. Just watch out!

Expensive Financing

Franchise car dealers advertise enticing APRs constantly. Not everyone qualifies for these offers, and the fine print is so small you’ll want a magnifying glass, but the offer is out there. Franchise car dealers do try to help finance cars with bad credit – but you’ll pay for it with a higher APR.

CarMax Near Baltimore

CarMax is a nationwide chain of used car dealerships that both sells and buys used cars. Their commercials are on TV. You’ve probably seen them, whether you wanted to or not.


Big Selection

Like an independent dealer, CarMax has a nice, wide selection of vehicles. Their lots are often quite full and have plenty of cars to choose from.


CarMax dealers are one-price used car dealers. These kinds of dealers don’t negotiate, which saves you the time and anxiety of negotiating. Some people might consider this a good thing.


CarMax does have a built-in warranty that covers limited vehicle issues within 90 days of purchase. This can be helpful in the event that the vehicle has issues right away.



CarMax is a big dealer with a big advertising budget. Like a franchise dealer, you shouldn’t expect the best deal on a preowned vehicle from CarMax.

No negotiations

No negotiations might be good for some, but for others, it means you won’t likely get a discount even if you ask for it. 

Limited finance options

CarMax has its own auto-finance accounts. From the perspective of trying to find the best deal, this might not be good because there aren’t as many competitors finding the best rate. They make money off their own finances – why would they seek more options for you?

Online used car dealership near Baltimore

Vroom, Carvana, and other online vendors let you do most of the work of buying a vehicle online.


Great Selection

Online used car dealerships often have a nationwide selection that gets transported to you, so the variety of makes and models can include just about anything.


Limited financing

Vroom and Carvana offer pre-approvals online, but they don’t tell you how many lenders they request.

Only photos

You can buy just about anything online. But should you? Relying solely on photos to buy a car doesn’t sound like the best idea, especially if it has to get shipped to you. You can’t just hear the car.

Price Gouging

Offering a unique method of delivery means that it’s hard to tell what the actual market price in your area should be. Beware of how much delivery and other fees cost.


Look online and you’ll find plenty of people complaining about service, cars, and poorly timed deliveries from online dealers.

Best Bad Credit Used Car Dealerships

Buying a car when you have poor credit can be difficult. Car buyers with a bad credit history can face some roadblocks in terms of getting approved and finding a good car at a fair price – with fair financing. Most dealers or lenders will want a down payment and may have an unfavorable high APR that will make you pay more in the long run.

Dealers that accept bad credit in Baltimore

Independent Used Car Dealers

Independent used car dealers are often your best option when purchasing a used car with bad credit. They offer the greatest number of finance options, balanced with the best selection of high-quality preowned vehicles – all without paying extra for certification or a warranty.

Franchise Used Car Dealers

Franchise used car dealers like Ford or Toyota are also a viable option for financing a car with bad credit. You might have a larger challenge with limited used car inventory and fewer lenders who are willing to work with bad credit. 

CarMax for Bad Credit

CarMax does work with bad credit, but they are similar to franchise dealers in their use of often exclusive lenders that have higher APRs.

Online Dealer for Bad Credit

Unfortunately, Vroom and Carvana aren’t really built for people with poor credit. While they offer selection, they are designed more for mid to higher credit tiers and their prices reflect that.

Final thoughts

Getting auto finance isn’t always easy. Independent dealers are most often able to help though, with the ability to use a range of finance options, they also offer some of the best value vehicles for a person looking to fix their credit. Other car dealers like franchise dealers are an option, of course, but tend to offer a balance of benefits and drawbacks that might steer you toward an independent lot.

For the best used car dealership experience in the Baltimore area, Trust Auto has you covered. We stock a winning selection of pre-loved vehicles that are ready to take your Baltimore adventure to the next level. From luxury SUVs to sports cars and everything in between, Trust Auto is your used car destination in Charm City. 

Check out the incredible selection online, or come visit us in person. We can’t wait to take care of you!

Posted Friday, April 1, 2022