As exciting as it is to buy a new car -- err, at least one new to you -- the process of finding and purchasing any vehicle can be quite the headache. No one enjoys having a high-pressure salesman breathing down their neck, trying to get them to drive home a car that's just not what they're looking for. Thankfully, the best used car sites on the internet are lined with everything from midsize sedans to all-terrain pickup trucks.
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These virtual car lots allow you to swap the salesman and pressure-laden environment for a comfortable desk chair, while providing you with all the necessary information regarding each car's condition and history. But the question remains: Which site is the most competent and void of scammers, crooks, and the like? Here is our selection of the best used car websites for a stress-free online shopping experience.
Few sites surpass AutoTrader.com when it comes to advanced search tools. Like most sites on our list, Auto Trader's initial search lets you choose the make, model, and price of your desired car. It also lets you filter your results based on fuel economy and a host of other specifications. For instance, do you want a car with an intuitive navigation system? How about a sedan with four doors and keyless entry? Then check the box for either option and let the results come to you. AutoTrader.com even gives you the option to search for Business Elite model Chevy or GMC commercial vehicles.
Simple and straightforward, CarsDirect is all about the basics. You can choose to search for used cars within your area based on body style, price, or make and model. Search results include offerings from both dealers and owners, with an option to view your desired car's Carfax report. CarsDirect also allows you save your favorite cars and search history when deciding between different vehicles, and each search result provides a slew of images detailing the selected cars' condition. You can submit an inquiry about the particular make or model your looking at, or choose whether you're look for special financing. There are links to car dealers' websites, as well as comprehensive maps with directions to the dealer's location.
Regardless of your online shopping expertise, there's a good chance you're at least somewhat familiar with eBay. Well, eBay motors is no different than any of the site's other services, allowing you to easily shop for used cars. The site lists whether each vehicle is from a classified advertisement or part of an online auction, as well as sellers' feedback score. The seller also provides vehicle information and a history report, along with the desired price and various shipping options.
Contrary to what the website's ridiculous commercials make you believe, navigating to Cars.com won't lead your conscious to manifest itself as a second head on your body. Rather, the site is a deep and extensive resource for anyone shopping for a used car. Filters allow you to search based on make, model, and price for any used or certified pre-owned car in your area. The website also provides links to Carfax reports. You also have the option to instant message or email the dealer or owner directly. Cars.com's simple navigation and robust resource selection make it one of the best for first-time buyers.
Nadaguides is an official website of the National Automotive Dealers Association that features private party listings as well. The combination of the two gives the website a significant pool from which to draw that includes cars, motorcycles, RVs, boats, classic vehicles, and even manufactured homes. Despite the impressive amount of information, Nadaguides is still an intuitive and user-friendly shopping tool. Interested parties can search by make, model, body style, price, and even fuel efficiency rating, and the website also offers a comparison service that can pit up to four cars against one another. Nadaguides also includes a monthly payment calculator, a vehicle record search, and a car loan approval resource
Hemmings is a classic car collector's dream. The website provides a blast from the past, reveling in everything from 1960s Chevy Impalas to Studebakers from the '30s, while also offering tools for locating specific parts or services pertaining to a car you may already own. Hemmings also offers a Daily News Letter, an updated blog, and several other resources for the classic car owner. The site even touts its own webstore where you can buy diecast models, Hemmings apparel, collector car books, or a wall calendar. Hemmings is an excellent resource for supplementary buying tips and links to upcoming local auctions.
Autolist looks similar to other entrants on our list at first glance, but it has a leg up on the competition when it comes to mobile connectivity. While the Autolist website is attractive and easy to use, the Autolist app is one of the most popular used car resources currently available for Android and iOS. The mobile software allows you to scour the databases of other used car apps, as well as dealership websites. It also provides helpful information, such as how long the vehicle has been on sale, how its asking price has fluctuated over time, and what its Carfax report looks like. For those who prefer to shop for their next ride on the go, this may be the resource for you.
Bring a Trailer (BAT) may be the best-kept secret in online car-buying sites. BAT is a specialty search engine, meaning you won't find many Toyota Camrys or Volkswagen Jettas here. The backbone of the site is an enthusiast community with a particular taste for classic and rare vehicles. There's only one way to end up on BAT, and that's to submit a vehicle for review. Often, submissions come from those who discover a clean or unique car on Craigslist or another site. If the BAT moderators are impressed, they'll put together a listing for the vehicle with the owner's permission. At that point, the vehicle owner has the option to set a reserve price before opening an auction. This structure results in some killer deals for collectors, and some solid profits for sellers.
Carvana is one of the new kids on the block in terms of online auto sales, but the brand is making a name for itself with its unique user experiences and clever marketing strategies. Carvana launched back in 2013 as one of the few companies to offer a true digital-to-driveway dealership in Atlanta, one that allows customers to search for, finance, and arrange delivery of their cars without ever leaving their home. Last year, the brand launched the world’s first car vending machine in Nashville, Tennessee, which lets adults feel like kids again by “buying” their car with an oversized coin. They must purchase their vehicle online, of course, but the delivery experience is like no other.
If you're looking for a bargain, Cargurus is your best bet. Why? Because Cargurus itself ranks ads based on dealer reputation (if applicable) and price. Cargurus then goes a step further to educate buyers with information about a vehicle's true market value. That way, you'll know whether or not now is the best time to shop, or if you need to expand your search area. You can also see how long a vehicle has been listed on Cargurus and how its list price has changed over time. This gives you negotiating power on cars that have been listed for a while, or lets you know when it's too soon to ask for a big price cut.
It's often difficult to wade through the sea of garbage populating Craigslist, but that doesn't mean the site can't be an excellent resource. Even with a less than desirable search function, there's no better option when it comes to local shopping. The site grants you access to thousands of cars, whether you're looking for local dealers or merely owners in your area, along with the ability to sort pages based on location. Like most items found on Craigslist, you need to be wary of the seller and item in question, but the site typically offers the most versatile selection of vehicles on our list. Plus, it's one of the few sites where bartering and trades remain a viable option.
If you've ever used sites like Kayak or Sky Scanner, then AutoTempest is right up your alley. The site combines search results from eBay Motors, Cars.com, AutoTrader, CarsDirect, and others, casting an all-encompassing net over a smattering of other used car sites on our list. AutoTempest's home page also features buying guides, checklists, and advice, as well as tips on negotiating and how to avoid purchasing a lemon, among other topics. The site even provides specific buying guides for a selection of car makes and models, along with comprehensive car reviews and a compilation of frequently asked questions. The site also saves search results for easy access later, while offering several suggestions for top-notch shipping services.
CarSoup.com is yet another familiar used car website, but this one also allows you to price and sell any used car you may be looking to part with. The website recognizes your respective location, providing the top daily deals and budget-based specials currently offered in your area, while also showcasing an assortment of buying guides, advice, reviews, and previews to ensure you make the right decision when buying a car. If you're just beginning your search for a used car, CarSoup.com also offers a collection of top-10 lists spanning a variety of topics. Lists range from "The Top-10 Most Loved Vehicles" and "The Top-10 Most Affordable Cars" to more niche topics such as "The Top-10 Spookiest Sounding Cars." It's not a vast departure from other online services on our list, but CarSoup.com still offers a dependable set of tools and a broad selection of used cars.
CarMax.com may look nearly identical to the CarSoup, AutoTrader, and CarsDirect, websites that came before it, but the site also exclusively searches its own CarMax lots across the country. That essentially makes CarMax a national dealer, as opposed to one working with independent owners and dealers alike. The site offers a "no-haggle price" it deems to be a fair upfront offer, thus eliminating the need to negotiate with a salesperson. A team of technicians runs each vehicle through a rigorous 125-point inspection, and CarMax works with multiple financial institutions to offer tailored financing when you purchase a vehicle through the site.
The Kelley Blue Book is the ultimate car-buyer's website. It offers pinpoint accurate estimates on what your car is worth, how much you should pay for a used car, and a deep selection of used and new car listings. You can quickly browse their top picks and tips, calculate a monthly car payment, and even compare several cars. Expert and consumer reviews are also available, along with options for finding local dealers and checking your credit score. Like CarSoup.com, you can even browse an assortment of top 10 pages.
In many ways, TrueCar has changed the game when it comes to buying a car. By offering comprehensive pricing information -- the price dealers are charging compared to prices people paid elsewhere -- TrueCar empowers shoppers to get the best deal on a new or used vehicle. TrueCar doesn’t charge for its service and certifies dealers (11,000-plus of them) to give users a better experience. By signing on, these dealers get TrueCar’s stamp of approval and have a better shot at earning your business.
Sure, the site name looks like someone fell asleep on their keyboard, but Kijiji is actually one of the most popular buying sites in Canada. The service has been around for more than a decade and mirrors Craigslist’s model, putting real people in touch to buy, sell, and trade cars, goods, housing, jobs, and services. At present, more than 16 million Canadians use Kijiji in over 100 communities.
Autobytel is one of the biggest search engines on the planet when it comes to finding both new and used vehicles. Since the site launched in 1995 (aka, the internet dinosaur age), Autobytel has expanded to include new and used car reviews, research, price quotes supplied by vehicle sellers, and vehicle listings. Autobytel also features information and links to providers of insurance, auto financing, and other products and services. Even after you’ve found your car, Autobytel offers tips for proper vehicle maintenance. It’s basically a one-stop-shop for all things automotive. Chances are, you’ve probably read a "Top 10" or "10 Things to Know" list on the site, so why not check out their used car inventory?
If you’re not just on the hunt for a used car, but a classic car, then sifting through ClassicCars.com can reveal some excellent vintage metal across the entire spectrum. The website averages around 25,000 to 30,000 classic and vintage cars for sale at almost any given time. That’s because it taps into a network of more than 500 vintage automobile dealers around the country. Being included in its dealer network requires candidates to go through a vetting process, minimizing the possibility of encountering with shady sellers.
Vroom.com surfaced more recently as a new way to buy a used car -- completely through the Internet. That means you get to skip the middle people and the staff at the site takes care of all the paperwork. Vroom doesn’t focus as much on older used cars as they do on newer vehicles, such as lease returns or more recent vehicles with low milage. For example, one can find a 2017 Toyota Camry with 21,182 miles or 2015 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe with 41,000 miles, as opposed to a 1992 Toyota Tercel that drove the same distance between the earth and the moon and back. As an added attreaction, Vroom ships the car to you or a nearby location of your choice. It’s also backed by a free limited warranty, good for 90 days or 6,000 miles, free roadside assistance, and flexible financing options, all on one site.
Although it’s easy to search the nationwide databases of listings for used cars by make, model, year, and options using many of the websites previously listed here, there’s no harm in concentrating your search. If you’re looking for something very specific, don’t be afraid to check out the online car owner and enthusiast groups associated with what you’re seeking. By searching the vehicle you seek on Google, and appending “forums” or “owners club” to the search term, you’re likely to stumble upon an online-based owners’ community or forum websites. Whether it be classic Porsches, or even cars from the defunct AMC brand, there’s a community for almost every car out there. For example, searching “BMW forums” reveals its most popular sites, lincluding BimmerForums.com, Bimmerfest.com, and Bimmerpost.com. Searching such sites increases your chances of finding a good example.
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Update: Added Vroom, ClassicCars.com, and car enthusiast sites.