These days you can buy a new car without leaving the comfort of your couch. Let’s look at the best ways to do just that.
Dealerships these days still want your money, but they realize how easy it is to be a savvy customer with online cross-shopping. They know that you can easily Google other dealerships. As a result, most dealerships have set up online sales departments that show a complete inventory, offer prices, and even financing. Another bonus is the internet sales division typically will not use the high pressure tactics of the traditional sales lot.
Keep in mind that you do not have to go with the dealership’s finance division. That is primarily where the dealership makes their money, so they may skip a bit on the vehicle price, if they know you are going to get a loan with them and they can make back the difference.
Location plays a factor too, so some cars will be more expensive in different states and at different times of the year. A convertible sports car will cost more in LA in May than the same car in Seattle in October. Consider buying out-of-state or off-season for the best deals.
If you have a trade-in, you should get an idea of what it is worth before buying your replacement. Check Kelly Blue Book and National Automobile Dealers Association for an idea of what you would get for trade in value. Also, check the private party price, to see if it would be worth your time and money to sell it yourself. Usually, you can sell a vehicle outright for more than what a dealership will offer. Check AutoTrader to see what owners of similar cars are asking.
If you are buying used, take a look at eBay, as they have been selling cars online for over a decade and offer buyer protection. Stick with established eBay stores for expensive vehicles, and look for high seller feedback ratings.
Also, consider checking in the classifieds section of a vehicle forum. Enthusiast models like the Chevrolet Corvette, Toyota Supra, and BMW 3 Series all have dedicated forums with very knowledgeable contributors. Most offer For Sale sections, and you will know you are buying a decent car from a fellow aficionado. You can pester the seller with questions, or just use the site as a reference library. Without the use of owner forums, you might not know that the 1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse suffers from expensive crankshaft issues, or that the 2005 Corvette’s brake rotors were installed incorrectly. This kind of information could save you thousands down the road. Looking for an average commuter? Honda Civics, Chevy Cavaliers, and even the Oldsmobile Alero have their own dedicated forums. Go there and ask away.
Research is the key to successfully buying a vehicle online. You are going be living with this vehicle for the next few years, so buy smart.