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buying a car online

Facts About Buying a Car Online

by Austin Peters

Technology has enabled a lot, mostly for good. Tired of going grocery shopping? Well, you can now order groceries online and get them at your house. Don’t want to leave your house or apartment to get take out food? Easy, just order it on Uber Eats or GrubHub. Technology has also changed the way many of us buy cars. Instead of going to a dealer lot and inspecting a vehicle in person, many turn to their computers or phones. So, what’s the deal with buying a car online?

Buying a car is a big deal.

A car is usually the second biggest purchase anyone will make in their lives. This comes behind buying a house. There is a lot you need to do before you shell out your hard earned money for your next car.

The first thing you need to do is assess your financial position. Maybe you don’t have the money for a car right now. Instead, you should be focusing on building up your emergency fund. Or maybe you should work on improving your credit score. This way if you do buy a car you will be able to get better financing options.

Once you get your finances in order, you can start researching your next vehicle. First ask yourself if you want to get a new car or look at the used market instead. The amount of money you have to spend will be a big factor in this decision. If you want the newest technology and don’t want to worry about maintenance costs, get a new car. If you don’t want to have to pay for a new car considering how much they depreciate, and aren’t worried about possible repair bills because you get a used car warranty, then a used car is the perfect choice.

Fortunately for everyone looking to buy their next car, technology has made this process so much easier. Not only can you use certain apps and platforms to search for cars in your area, but you can also buy cars directly online. You can even get them delivered to your house!

Finding a Car Online

Part of the car buying process is to do your research and to test drive a car. Do not rely on YouTube videos or the opinions of automotive journalists alone. These resources can be helpful, but make sure you get physical seat time before buying a vehicle.

If you have an idea of what type of car you want, you can use several online tools to locate one. There are many sites that can help you do this. Once you find the car close to you, go look at it. Make sure you take it on a test drive as well.

Even if the car isn’t the exact one you are looking for, it may be advantageous to take a look at it anyways. For instance, maybe the car is missing heated seats. Heated seats aren’t going to change the driving dynamics of a vehicle. Go look at it. If you definitely know you want this car, just wait until you can find one with the exact specifications you are looking for.


AutoTempest is a great tool that can help you find your next car. This site aggregates car listings from multiple sources all in one place. This is a great time saver. Instead of conducting multiple searches on different sites, you can do it all in one place.


Another site that you should leverage during while you are searching for your next vehicle is Cars.com. Dealers can create listings on this site for cars they have in their inventory. There are hundreds of thousands of car listings on this site. It can help you locate one close to you so you can check it out.

Buyer Beware

There are many other sites out there that can help you find your next car. These sites include Facebook Marketplace as well as Craigslist. While you may be able to find a decent car at a great price on these sites, the majority of the time the listings you see are created by individuals. In some cases you will find listings from dealers. However, the majority of the time the listings are created by individuals.

If you can, you may want to try to avoid these sites. Although you can find what you are looking for, you can also get burned buying a car from a random person. Dealers have a reputation that they need to live up to. They also can be legally liable for anything that goes wrong with the car. Buying a car from a dealer is usually a better option.

However, that doesn’t mean you can’t go test drive a car you find on one of these sites to see if you like it. If the price is right and the car is in good shape, consider taking it to your trusted mechanic to look it over first. This is known as a pre-purchase inspection.

Buying a Car Online

Over the last couple of years, many companies have popped up that give you the option of buying a car directly online. They can even deliver the car right to you. This is different than many of your local dealerships who can accept payment online to hold a car for you until you can go in and look at it. These companies specialize in selling cars online.

While there can be many advantages to this, you should be aware of some of the downsides. The biggest benefit, which can also negatively affect you, is that it is so easy these days to buy a car online. Because it is so easy, you may not have conducted your due diligence. Even if you want to buy a car online because it is so easy, be sure you test drive it first. Pictures of a car can’t tell you how good it drives. The listing may also be hiding up some paint issues that will only be made apparent if you inspect the car in person.

That being said, here are some of the companies that let you buy a car online without ever even seeing it!


CarMax is if not the largest, then one of the largest used car dealerships in the US. They have tens of thousands of cars in their inventory and have a car for a wide range of customers. Not only can you get a truck for work or a mini van to haul your family, but they even have more sport vehicles too.

One of the great benefits of CarMax is that they conduct intensive safety checks before they sell you a car. They will then fix any issues to make sure your car is in top shape.

Another benefit of this company is that you can purchase a used car warranty right from their site. You can even create personalized alerts that get sent to your phone. For instance, if you are looking for a certain make and model that they don’t have in their inventory, you can create an alert. CarMax will then email or text you when they get one on their lot. Even if the car is at a CarMax location in a different state, they can ship it to you or hold it at that location until you can take a look at it. Even though CarMax has made strides in making the car buying process as touchless as possible, you can still go into one of their many physical locations for a test drive.


Another industry giant in the used car space is Carvana. They made a lot of headlines when they opened up the first car vending machines!

Carvana is very similar to CarMax – they perform car inspections before they sell you a car, you can return your car after a couple days, or even have it for an extended test drive. Carvana also offers extended car warranties just like CarMax.

One of the key differentiators of Carvana is that they do not have any physical showrooms. This means that you can’t go in and physically look at the vehicle. If you have taking a similar car on a test drive and are just waiting for one to come up with the right specs, then this shouldn’t be too big of a dealbreaker for you though.

What You Should Know About Buying a Car Online – Summary

Buying a car can be a stressful process. You may be wondering what the best ways to buy a car are in the first place. No matter what type of car you decide to get make sure you conduct your research. Ask yourself where you are going to be in your life in the near future. Make sure the kind of car you want can support your future lifestyle. If you plan on having children, you may want to opt for an SUV instead of that two seater Porsche.

There are many websites, apps, and companies that are optimized for the technology enabled world we live in today. Buying a car online is something that will be here to stay – so use these tools to make the most out of it.

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