Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Buying A New Car: Tips For Online Car Shoppers

Gone are the days where you have to physically travel from car dealership to car dealership in order to determine what car you want and which dealerships have the best deals. Instead, you can now do all of this shopping from the comfort of your own home.

Most car dealerships have their inventory, both new and used, located on their websites, so you can easily find the car you want at the dealership with the best offer. If you don’t want to peruse a multitude of dealer sites, you can also turn to all-inclusive databases like or AutoTrader, which allow you to search for specific cars in specific price ranges.

Although car shopping online can be a giant convenience, it can also be a bit overwhelming. Instead of becoming lost or confused with online car shopping, use the following tips to help you have a better online car shopping experience.

Research the car you want to buy.

You may not know the exact make and model you want yet, but you probably know what type of body style you’re looking for: SUV, van, coupe. Use this basic information to do some general online research for the best options. For example, if you want an SUV, you may want to look for an SUV that offers exactly what you want, whether it be a low price, good gas mileage or great safety features. Instead of trying to find this information out on dealer sites, choose to visit each make’s respective website or turn to trusted auto sites like Edmunds.

Know what you can afford.

Before you start shopping, it’s always a good idea to know what you can afford, whether it’s buying the car outright or making monthly payments. You can then use this information to help you weed through all your options and make the best choice. For example, you may really like the way the new Lexus model looks, but knowing that it’s out of your price range will keep you from wasting time looking at it.

Thoroughly compare deals.

Every car dealership wants to make a sale, so it’s important that you thoroughly compare the deals they’re offering. If you find a car you want with competitive pricing at multiple dealers, compare the actual cars with one another as well as the deal. For example, you may notice that the cheaper car has more miles or that the more expensive car has a better warranty, and knowing this information can help you make a better decision.

Check review sites.

Before going to a certain dealership, it’s important you check out reviews on the dealership on sites like Yelp or Dealer Rater. You may find that everyone loves dealing with this company or that they’ve been scolded multiple times for poor business practices. Use this information to help you determine exactly what company you want to do business with and who specifically is worth your time.

Get a background on the car.

If you’re buying a brand new car, you don’t really have to do this, but if you’re buying a used car, it’s important that you see the CarFax report. Most dealerships will offer this service for free, but if not, you can always run the report yourself for a small fee. And that small fee is definitely worth knowing if the investment you’re about to make is worth it.

Take your time.

You can’t assume you’re going to spend ten minutes online and find the car of your dreams. Researching and shopping for cars online is a time consuming process, so make sure that you understand what you’re getting into if you want to make a smart purchase.

Joshua Reynolds works as a manager at a car dealership in Greenville, SC.  He is currently teaching others about car dealer review tracking tactics.