Simplifying the Internet Auto Buying Experience
Many of our customers seek us out because they’ve bought a car online and are looking for a way to move it without adding too much onto the cost of the vehicle. As a service to our readers and customers, we’ve compiled a list of resources and helpful information to help guide you through the process--and avoid the pitfalls--of shopping for a car on the internet.
Most new purchases, no matter how big or small, start with internet research. As with anything else, some websites are better and more trustworthy than others and that holds true with online car buying sites too.
In this blog post, we’ll review some of the primary websites and what they have to offer. We’ve also included a section about how to protect yourself as a consumer when buying a car online, as well as a guide to what you should know when making a major online purchase.
During the research phase, it’s important to remember what you’re looking for and what matters to you. That may sound obvious, but it’s easy to lose sight of what you should be looking for when presented with the countless options you’ll find online.
Taking a moment to look familiarize yourself with what’s offered from different manufacturers can be a helpful step early in the process. There are plenty of places online that you can find reviews so we’ll just briefly go over two important websites that you may find helpful.
Kelley Blue Book - One of the most definitive places online to quickly and easily find values for any vehicle. It’s a great way to get an idea of what you should pay for a certain type of vehicle with respect to condition, make and model.
Edmunds - Like the Kelley Blue Book website, Edmunds also has information about prices, but the information goes well beyond that. You can find resources to help you with almost every aspect of buying a new or used vehicle.
Discussion Forums - If you like a particular style of driving or a particular car, there’s a discussion forum out there that that focuses on it. From off-road enthusiasts to environmentally conscious drivers, there’s something for everyone and it’s usually one of the best places to get specific information or have your questions answered.
Reviewing Popular Online Auto Market Places
eBay Motors - eBay Motors is one of the most popular and trusted online resources for buying a used vehicle. Not only is the website easy to use and find what you need, but you can also find information and feedback about the seller, which many buyers find comforting. Remember that eBay uses a bidding system to sell most of the items on the website, which is also true for vehicles.
*It should be noted that while eBay partners with the auto transport company uShip, users do have the choice of going with other options.
Craigslist - Craigslist is the old standby when it comes to finding a used vehicle, especially if you’re looking to buy something locally. With its simple, straightforward design and ease of use, it’s no wonder that the website is so widely used by both buyers and sellers. Craigslist offers an open search (by both owner or dealer owned vehicles), as well as a multitude of other search options. For classics and car collectors, most savvy web searchers tend to favor Auto Trader or Hemmings over Craigslist (see below) AutoTrader.com - Auto Trader is one of the most well-liked online spots when it comes to searching for a new or used vehicle. They tend to offer slightly better conditioned and more high-end vehicles than you’ll find on Craigslist. One thing that users appreciate about using the site is that it allows them to save searches so they can effectively “keep an eye out” for a particular car or truck.
Cars.com - A website similar to Auto Trader, Cars.com also has a search feature with a large database of vehicles to choose from using several different filters. Like the other popular sites, results can also be filtered by zip code and distance, price, make, and model.
Hemmings - Hemmings is the best place to look if you’re searching for a classic or collector car. While the other options mentioned above are helpful, there’s simply no comparison when it comes to finding news, information, and a marketplace for classic vehicles.
Online Car Buying: Consumer Safety Issues
Any time you buy a vehicle, you need to take some precautions--doubly so online. Some of them--like a test drive--may not be an option when buying remotely, but there are some basic steps you should follow to ensure you get a good value. This section will focus on buying a car online; you can find general information about buying a used car here.
A lot of the fraud that occurs in the online auto market involves payment transactions at the point of sale. Sometimes this takes the form of a payment request that’s harder to trace, such as a money order or wire transfer. Either of these should be a red flag. It’s typically best to make online purchases with a credit card so that you have some form of consumer protection from the company that issues the card.
Click here for information about online security tips for buyers and sellers.
If you are submitting a payment online, be sure that you’re using a secure internet connection. It is not advisable to make online payments with public internet connections or Wifi hot spots.
One of the most important, though sometimes overlooked, aspects of buying a car online is the paperwork. All of the documents pertaining to the sale will be digital and it’s essential that you print out and save all paperwork in case it’s needed in the future.
A-1 Auto Transport is a leading nationwide car shipper for collectors, auto auctions, and online vehicle shoppers across the U.S.! Contact us today for a FREE estimate or call us at the number at the top of the page with your questions!
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Written By:Joe Webster
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.