Buying a Car Online
Shopping for a Vehicle Online
The Internet has revolutionized car shopping. More and more car purchases are now completed online. It offers convenience, lightning-quick comparison shopping and, best of all, savings. Dealership Internet sales departments garner their commissions based on volume rather than price, making the Internet a car-buyer's market.
Even if you don't end up buying a vehicle online, shopping for a car online will allow you to get an idea of the current price ranges and exactly what you are looking for in a car.
On this page you'll find a general overview of online car shopping and some things to think about before you buy.
Shopping for Used Cars Online
If you're looking for a used car, here's what to do:
- Visit an online car sales website.
- Depending on the site, choose your preferred vehicle by make, price, or category (compact, pickup truck, convertible, etc.).
- Make your selection and type in your zip code.
- A list of vehicles matching your choice will appear, displaying photos, usually several from different angles, and pertinent information like make, model, mileage, price, and contact numbers.
- After choosing a vehicle, you'll be given the choice to either call or e-mail the dealership, expressing your interest.
- If you're certain the vehicle is right for you, you can purchase it online. Although, it is highly recommend to visit the dealership and test drive the car before making a final decision.
Shopping for New Cars Online
The process for shopping for a new car online is identical to buying a used car, only you have more websites to choose from. In addition to car dealership websites, you can also directly shop and order from a car manufacturer's website, allowing you to customize color and accessory choices. You can find more information on our Buying Online or at the Dealership page.
After deciding on a vehicle, make an arrangement for a test drive. While doing so, ask to inspect the vehicle's service records. If the seller refuses, interpret it as a warning sign and walk away.
Regardless of how certain you feel about the car, it's imperative you run a vehicle history report before signing your name to a used car deal. A vehicle identification number (VIN) check, or vehicle history report, should show any problems with the vehicle, such as odometer tampering, accident history, and how many people have owned the vehicle.
If you need help financing your car purchase, most online car buying sites also offer online car loan applications. It's a user-friendly process, allowing you to easily calculate potential loan-amount scenarios. This way you can confidently decide if your car of choice meets your budget or if leasing would be a better option.
Or, to ensure finding the best loan at the best rate, consult Bankrate.com. This site allows you to research the current rates local and national lenders are offering.
Advantages of shopping for a car online include:
- No shadowing by trained sales teams.
- You can shop at your own pace from the convenience of home or work.
- No closing hours.
- You can compare prices from a number of sellers.
- You can define the size of your search area.
- Save yourself some money on gas.
- Empowers you with market knowledge.
- Online prices are generally lower.