The car buying process works differently in 2022 compared to decades ago. With so many more resources available on the Internet, it’s easier to compare the best used car prices. You can bypass the dealership and pushy car salesmen by buying your car online.
Websites like Autotrader and Carfax have listings where you can buy cars directly from reputable dealers. You don’t have to visit a dealer if you buy a car from Carvana or CarMax. Buying a car online still has risks – always take a few precautions if you choose this route.
Many cars are on the market today, so finding the best one for your lifestyle is crucial. If you have a growing family, it might make more sense to buy an SUV than a two-row sedan. Drivers with long commutes may want to consider more efficient vehicles, such as hybrids and electric vehicles.
Once you know what car you want, you can search for it at various dealerships with online search tools. Most dealers list their available cars online or through a third party like Carfax. These listings also usually tell you if the vehicle has been in an accident or has any major problems.
If the car you want isn’t available at a dealership, you may be able to buy it from a private seller. While it is possible to legitimately purchase a vehicle this way, there are also many scammers out there looking to take advantage of innocent drivers.
When working with a private buyer, always ask for the car’s VIN. It is recommended that you run that number through the NICB checker to ensure it is not stolen.
You’ll also want to document the full details of your transaction in writing. Ask the seller to show you the vehicle’s title and make sure your name matches on the document. Always have the car inspected by a professional before you commit to buying it.
Many car dealers that operate exclusively online will ship a car to your home, often for free. However, if you buy a car online from an out-of-state dealership, you may need to hire an outside shipping company. When looking for a car shipping service, your first priority is to find one with good reviews.
Access Auto Insurance advises readers to check if a transport company will transport the car to their area. Ask the carrier how much it charges for shipping, including any additional fees. Confirm when the car will be picked up and how long it will take to arrive at your address.
Cars are expensive purchases, so you don’t want to skimp on safe transportation. If you want your car to arrive in the best condition, work with a shipping company that provides closed transportation. Your car will be shipped in a boarded up trailer with full protection from the elements.
Each auto transport company must also ask the dealer to sign a bill of lading. This confirms the condition of the vehicle before it arrives at your home. If the car is damaged before or during transit, that document will help you get your money back.
Pictures from a dealership often don’t tell the full story of a car, so don’t hesitate to ask for additional details. A dealership associate might be more than happy to give you a “tour” of the car via video call.
Although there are some exceptions, you usually can’t test drive a car you bought online before it’s delivered to you. With that in mind, check to make sure the dealership has a return policy valid for at least seven days. This should be enough time for you to spot any noticeable performance issues and return the car.
RELATED: These Are the Pros of Buying a Used Car Online (And Some Cons)
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