Buying a car used to be a real hassle. You had to go from dealer to dealer and put up with a lot of pitches from slick talking salesmen and hope you could hold your own and get a great deal. Now the whole car buying process has taken on a new look, with a bunch of websites dedicated to buying and selling cars online that allow you to do everything from the comfort of your own couch.
Here’s a look at a few of the top sites online:
1. Cars.com – this is the go to site for first-time buyers. If you haven’t shopped for a new car online before it can be a little intimidating, but Cars.com takes the worry out of car shopping. With an easy to navigate site and a broad selection, you can tailor your search based on make, model and price and once you select a car, Cars.com offers you instant access to its Carfax report. You can also contact the dealer or owner directly if they’re online or email them for more information.
2. AutoTrader.com – This site is perfect for the more advanced car buyer. It has some of the most comprehensive search tools among online car buying sites, allowing you to pinpoint not only make, model and price but also more specific features such as fuel economy or particular specifications. You can even pick out individual options such as an intuitive navigation system and plug them into your search criteria to narrow things down even more. The complexities of the search system might be intimidating to first time or novice buyers but for those who are more comfortable with the process, this can be a great choice.
3. CarsDirect.com – The big advantage to CarsDirect is that you can narrow your search to your local area. Rather than wading through broader national listings, this can help you locate the car you want as close to home as possible. You get all of the search options that the other sites offer plus instant access to Carfax reports. And you can save your search results which makes it that much easier to comparison shop. You can even specify whether you are looking for special financing to help further refine your search.
4. eBayMotors.com – This is the automotive branch of eBay, one of the most popular online marketplaces. Here, you can peruse offers from dealers or individuals and find great deals. The site will let you know whether each offering is from an online auction or a classified advertising and sellers will provide a history report, desired price and shipping information. Of course, as with any eBay experience, there can be unscrupulous individuals among the legitimate sellers. You need to be on your toes and do as much homework as you can before closing any deal.
5. Craigslist.com – Yes, it is possible to buy a car through Craigslist. In fact, Craigslist offers one of the better options for local shopping. But as with any Craigslist experience, you’ll need to wade through a lot of junk to get to the good stuff. And one of the big advantages here is that it is one of the few sites that offers bartering and trading as viable buying options.
While these are top options, there are a few other good sites out there for more experienced buyers or those looking to buy in a specific market, such as classic cars. CarMax.com is a national dealer that offers a “no haggle price” system, intended to let you avoid having to negotiate with a sales person. Hemmings.com is one of the best places for classic car buyers as it not only offers deals on classic cars but resources for locating hard to find parts and connecting with other car enthusiasts.
Finally, KBB.com is the Kelley Blue Book site, and as their name suggests, they over the most comprehensive resource for car buyers, complete with expert and consumer reviews to help you make an informed choice. If you’re looking to buy a car, don’t waste your time doing it the old fashioned way, take a look at the options online and find out just how easy car buying can really be!