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How To Buy A Car Online – Everything You Need To Know

Table of Contents

Buying a car online 10 years ago seemed a bit crazy, but nowadays it’s becoming the norm. Large online car dealers are selling 100’s even 1000’s of cars  each day.

People are also turning to eBay. eBay has become extremely popular for both buyers and sellers to buy/sell their vehicles.

Buying  car online might be a new experience for you, but I’m here to help you do it right.


Buy From Dealers

Buying from car dealers online is your best option.

Car dealers are reputations to uphold as return customers are key for their business survival.

When car dealers establish a good relationship with their buyers, oftentimes they become long term clients.

Dealers also offer more benefits such as long term warranty, guarantees, and free car service, etc.

There number of online retailers to choose from.

AutoTrader

Massive Vehicle Inventory – AutoTrader is one of the best sources for buying a car online. AutoTrader has one of the largest vehicle inventories online from both dealers and private sellers.

Buyer Tips – AutoTrader offers excellent tips for buyers to help them make the best purchasing decision possible. You can also use their research tools to compare prices, reviews, photos, and videos.

Exclusive Pricing – AutoTrader will also get your access to some exclusive pricing due to their massive network of dealer partnerships.

Vehicle History Reports – Vehicle history reports are very important, especially when buying a used car. AutoTrader can provide excellent vehicle history reports so you are fully informed about your vehicle before you purchase.

Edmunds.com

One-Stop Shop – Edmunds is one of the best one-stop shops for buying a car online.

Edmunds is the perfect option for anyone who does not want to spend weeks checking the depths of the internet to find a good car deal, finance plan, and more.

Honest Reviews – Edmunds offers extensive car reviews that will highlight the pros and cons of your vehicle you are thinking of buying online.

Edmunds will show you the money you are saving purchasing through them and the different specs available.

Once you are happy with the vehicle of choice, they will locate the nearest dealer to you.

Exclusive Pricing – Edmunds is partnered with over 13,000 car dealerships.

Through these partnerships, Edmunds can offer exclusive pricing and free extras at no additional cost. Edmunds

Customer Support – What I like about Edmunds is the customer support they offer.

If you are not sure what the right car is for you, they offer live support to help you with your decision.

Pick up the phone or drop them an email and they will help you make the best decision for you.

Kelley Blue Book

Everything You Need – Kelley Blue Book is one of the best online sources for buying a car.

They will provide you key pricing info, price comparisons, and find local car dealers in your area.

Pricing – KBB really are the bees knees when it comes to pricing.

Kelley Blue Book has years of pricing research and data to give you an accurate estimate of what you can pay for the type of car you are looking for.

Expert Reviews – KBB offers excellent honest reviews by the experts.

They have an extremely active blog and review pretty much every type of car available.

I also like how they don’t just review the top of the line showroom cars.

They offer insightful reviews for every type of buyer.

For example ‘10 Coolest Cars Under $25000‘.

eBay Motors

Buying a car on eBay has grown in popularity so much with both buyers and sellers.

In fact, 1000’s of cars are sold every day on eBay.

There are 1000’s of dealers using eBay to sell their vehicles and why wouldn’t they.

eBay is a fantastic place to go and find a great deal.

eBay Motors is more suited if you are buying a used car online rather than a brand new car.

The Auction and ‘Make An Offer’ buying platform allows consumers to really find a great deal.

eBay also has procedures in place to protect buyers and in many ways is safer than your everyday face-to-face private sale.

I have done a more in-depth guide to buying a car on eBay here.

Cars.com

Car Dealer Reviews – Cars.com is an excellent site to help you buy a car online.

What I really like about Cars.com is the reviews of each dealership.

When you search for a car and are shown the car dealerships, you will see that most of the dealerships have an extensive amount of reviews.

This is really helpful.

The reviews remind me of amazon.

You can read real reviews from real people letting everyone know how good or bad their experience was with that dealer.

In fact, it goes a little further.

You can actually pick the car salesman you would like to work with.

Each individual car salesman also has their own personal reviews.

I love the reviews.

I mean real reviews.

Not the cheesy testimonials some companies have sprayed all over their websites.

Price Comparison Tool – Cars.com has an excellent price comparison tool.

The tool is simple and easy to use.

It takes into consideration your budget, type of car, and location.

You can refine the search as much as you like to find the perfect car for you.

CarsDirect.com

CarsDirect.com is one of the leaders in buying cars online.

Their website is really a one-stop shop for buying a car online.

They cover everything from new/used vehicles, trade-ins, car loans, and insurance.

CarsDirect.com really has everything you need in one location.

There’s a good chance you would have seen CarsDirect featured somewhere online.

High profile features include CNN, NY Times, CBS, LA Times and TC.

CarsDirect offers both new and used cars.

The new car feature allows you to build what you want and finds a dealer for you that can supply.

If you have the cash to splash, CarsDirect has catered to high-end markets such as Ferrari, Porsche, and Aston Martin.

CarsDirect.com really lets you find exactly what you want.

You follow 3 step process.

Step 1 – Shop

This is where you browse to find exactly what you want.

You will be shown some of the best deals in your area.

Read their extensive buyer guides and ranking.

Check out some vehicle comparisons.

Read honest and detailed reviews of the vehicle you are interested in.

Step 2 -Build & Price

Choose the desired features of the car that you want.

Such as car color, car specs like leather seats, alloy wheels, engine size, etc. 

You can also see what it will cost you.

Step 3 – Buy

This is where CarsDirect.com really shines.

They connect you with a trusted car dealership in your area.

CarsDirect will have provided you with a price that should be used as your target price.

CarsDirect’s extensive data will know the current market price of your desired vehicle to make sure you get a great deal.

From there the dealer will discuss financing options and trade-in info for your current vehicle.

Check The Market

ideas for Market Research. Businessman thinking a business solution.

Do some research on the type of vehicle you are interested in.

This is especially important when buying a used car online.

If you are buying a brand new car online, it’s likely that there’s a MAP pricing (minimum advertised price) in place.

This generally means that all the sellers should have it advertised at the same price.

However, if you love haggling and getting the best sales price possible nothing is stopping you from picking up the phone and speaking to the dealer.

If you are buying a used car online, you should take some more time to research the market value of the car you are looking to buy.

Kelley Blue Book is one of the most accurate and trusted websites for doing this.

It also has one of the largest portfolios so you will most likely find the market value for your car you are potentially looking to buy.

Check You Financing Options

Once you have decided on the type of car you want to buy online, it’s also time to decide how to finance your purchase.

Luckily nowadays there are plenty of options available to buyers to help them buy their dream car.

Purchasing On Finance

When you are buying a car on finance, you need to take your time and do your homework.

It’s very easy to get carried away and take the first finance option you see.

Many banks have dropped their interest rates dramatically to compete with car finance offers being offered by car dealers and third-party companies.

If you are buying a car from a car dealer, you don’t have to take their finance offer.

Shop around to find the best deal for your long term.

Let’s face it, you want to save as much money as possible.

Keep an eye out for 0% finance options also.

It’s one of the most popular offers by new car dealers right now that can save you a lot of money overall.

Bank Loan

As I just mentioned, banks dropped their car loan prices a lot in the past couple of years.

So don’t rule them out right away.

Contact your local bank branch to find out what offers are available to you.


How To Sell Your Current Vehicle

Now that you have decided to sell-buy a car online, it’s time to also decide how to sell your current car.

You may be keeping your current car as an extra vehicle for your spouse or selling it locally.

Here are a couple of options for you to sell your car.

Trade In

Check with the dealers you in contact with about their trade-in policy.

Most car dealers should accept trade-in, especially against a new vehicle.

It’s very common for car dealers to have scrappage offers or offering guaranteed trade-in values.

This will save you a lot of money if you own an older vehicle.

Sell The Car Privately

You can list your car online using a local paper or website and sell the car quite quickly.

It’s pretty common to list a car for sale and sell it within a couple of days.

This a quick way to gather some cash to secure a deposit if you require financing for the car.

Sell To A Used Car Dealer

If you want to sell a car quickly, there’s plenty of dealers who are happy to buy your vehicle.

You might not get the same value that you might get from selling privately, but you can check online what you can expect to receive.

CarMax is a great option available to consumers to sell their car.

You can schedule your car appraisal online, visit a local dealer, get confirmation of your offer, and decide whether or not to take the deal.

If you say yes, you walk away with cash in hand. You can find more info about selling a car with CarMax here.


Disclaimer

Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission.

Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases.

The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

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