There are countless online sites where one can scout for potential deals such as eBay Motors, Craigslist, AutoTrader, Facebook Marketplace, CarGurus, TrueCar, and so on. No matter which platform you value the most, the cars themselves are the reason to pick one over the other.
In this article, we will discuss why you should look for your new car online, how to do it, and where to do it. Even though these sites seem similar at first glance, they differ significantly when it comes to site traffic, listing prices, customer support, and payment security.
As such, you need to make sure that you are well aware of all the risks associated with these types of sites and how to deal with them accordingly. Some sites cater towards certain niche cars and sportscars such as Carsandbids or offroadautosales, so be sure to check those out if those cars interest you.
Either way, protect your privacy and personal info whenever you inquire about an automobile on any site, especially so if you are negotiating with private owners. Carefully check all the documents about the car and be sure that you can test-drive the car the moment you see it.
eBay Motors – The Go-to
eBay is one of the most popular online purchasing sites ever which means that there are many items that might interest you. Even though eBay does not specifically focus on cars, there is a large selection of all kinds of cars on the eBay motors section, and maybe one of them might be your next new car.
An obvious benefit of shopping through eBay is the ability to look for past sales of similar cars. This will show you the price fluctuations and what to look out for, and more importantly, this will tell you what to avoid. Sellers are often not disclosing potential foibles, so be sure to thoroughly inspect the car before you pay for it.
CarsDirect – a place you need to check too
CarsDirect, an American online portal for automotive research and car buying, is based in El Segundo (California). It allows customers to search, price, buy, finance, insure, and insure a vehicle online.
When looking for a used car, we recommend that you always also do a search here, to compare prices.
Craigslist – For the brave
Countless horror stories are roaming the automotive sections of the internet about dissatisfied customers who bought lemon cars on Craigslist, and it seems that’s often the case with this website. However, buying cars sight unseen is never a good idea, so even if the deal is top-notch, it’s highly advisable to inspect the car personally.
It’s essential to go through the seller’s profile in order to establish that the seller is indeed a real person. Look for location data, e-mails, and phone numbers, and don’t hesitate to give the seller a call if you are interested in buying the car. Craigslist is not perfect, but if you are knowledgeable enough, it might be.
AutoTrader – The industry standard
AutoTrader is probably the most popular online car selling website in the English-speaking world which means that the number of available cars is extremely high. If you are a seller, you might be disappointed that there is no option of a free listing, but the large number of potential buyers scrolling through AutoTrader daily should help ease the pain.
AutoTrader has an extremely intuitive and easy-to-use interface that enables you to filter out all the specifics in order to look for the right cars. As such, it’s always good to look for cars on AutoTrader, especially so if you are buying cars for personal use.
Facebook Marketplace – Stalk the seller
Facebook Marketplace is not exactly an automotive-only marketplace, it’s literally a subsite of Facebook which specializes in selling all kinds of items. As such, the number of car listings available are not all that high, but the ability to know everything about the people interested is a huge advantage.
As mentioned previously, people are suspicious about cars such as Craigslist because they offer superior levels of anonymity. This is a benefit whenever you wander the depths of the internet, but it’s not exactly something you want when you plan on spending your hard-earned money.
CarGurus – Highest traffic
The CarGurus online car selling website is the most traffic-heavy online car listing site out there which is extremely important if you are a seller. If you are a buyer, this means that there should be many cars listed, but it also means that there are many interested customers.
The site looks more or less like any other larger online website that specializes in selling cars, but it should also be able to let you know if the price of the car you are interested in is high or low compared to similar listings.
Is it a good idea to buy used cars online?
Buying used cars online saves you the time and effort of visiting countless dealerships and arranging multiple different collections. If everything goes according to plan, buying online is a great way to choose the right car out of a large collection of potential cars.
If the seller enables you to do all the necessary pre-purchase inspections and test drive sessions, it’s probably the best method to buy used cars in general. However, buying used cars online is not perfect, and you should always keep a sentient eye for potential scams.
Is it a good idea to buy used cars?
Buying used cars enables you to save money and skip the dreaded new-car depreciation curve. Even though the new car smell is extremely satisfying, it’s not worth it to buy cars brand new if you are not able to do so comfortably.
Even if you are, a three-year-old car is likely to be 98% of what a brand-new car is, but the price difference between the two is way larger than 2%.
How safe is online payment?
Online payment is safe for the most part, but it is still not as safe as hand-to-hand offline payment. You need to make sure that all of your data is protected, and never give out your personal or credit card info, no matter who it is you are talking to.
You may never know who the seller is, and that’s fine if everything goes according to plan, but if it does not, it usually means you got scammed. Beware while trading online, and always try to inspect the item in real life before you do anything.