Here Is What You Should Know Before Buying Used Cars Online

Buying online isn’t just limited to supplies and equipment. Today, you can even buy your next car on the web. But before you do, there are a few things you should know.

The process of buying a new car and a used car is a little different. So why buy a used car online?

Well, no slimy salesman is trying to force you to spend more than you want. The ability to shop at leisure. More choices of cars available. And in most cases, you can get exactly the car you want.

Here’s what you need to know about buying used cars online.

Budgets, Research and Decisions

There are several important steps that you should take before you start browsing online car sales sites. It may take some time, but you have to be smart in the car buying process and follow the right measures to get the most value out of your purchase.

1. Determine your budget

Spending beyond your means to buy a car can be tempting, but that kind of irresponsibility can end up causing a lot of unnecessary stress later on. Determine how much monthly income you’re willing to spend on a car, and don’t forget that bankrolling can be an option to boost your budget.


2. Research the right car for your needs

Don’t buy an SUV if you’ve never driven it out of town. You may want a full-size sedan or a minivan if you have a large family. If you’re only interested in economical transportation, look for a compact car and skip the V8. There are many factors to consider when choosing a vehicle, so do your research and don’t rush.

3. Read reviews and ratings

Unless you’re an auto expert — and if you are, you don’t need to read this — you probably don’t know what separates a good car from a bad one.

The best advice here is to consult your knowledgeable friends, but without success, you should read online reviews and ratings that describe the pros and cons of each model.

4. Be aware of additional fees and expenses

There are sometimes additional taxes and fees associated with the sale of a used car, depending on your location and the location of the seller.

5. Where to Buy Used Cars Online?

You can start browsing once you’ve narrowed it down to the one or two models that interest you (make sure they’re within your budget). CarMax and CarsDirect are good options for those in the US. AutoScout24 looks pretty good to Europeans, while those in the UK can try AutoTrader. And, of course, you can buy used cars on both eBay and Craigslist.

Rate the used car and its history

Once you’ve found a particular car you want to buy, it’s time to do some more research and testing. You don’t want to end up with a faulty car, do you? So be diligent and make sure you are getting what you pay for.

1. Check the identity and history of the car

Buying a used car needs to be more careful. There is nothing worse than buying a defective car than paying for a car that doesn’t even exist. AutoCheck is a great service that allows you to look up the history of a specific vehicle identification number (VIN). In the UK you can check the history of the Department for Transport (MOT). Your location may have its own car history services.

2. External inspection

In particular, you’ll want to look out for worn brake pedals, poor tire alignment, uneven paint, rusty undersides, and imperfections along the body line. None of these are deal-breakers, but they can point to potential problems that exist beneath the vehicle’s exterior appearance.

3. Test all features for functionality

If you can inspect the car firsthand, hop inside and check the health of the various mechanisms. Is the air conditioner working? Does the window scroll down? What about the gas cap, hood, trunk, door lock? Malfunctions here can also indicate deeper problems with the vehicle.

4. Give it a test drive

It’s risky to buy a car without taking it for a test drive, so if possible, always test drive it. When you do, push the cart to its limit (within the law, of course!). Does it matter when you speed up? When do you brake? Does the steering wheel feel weird? Does the engine make strange noises? These are all problems you will incur with your purchase.

5. Consider a Warranty

When buying a used car, you really want a “certified pre-owned warranty” guaranteed by that car manufacturer. These warranties are only offered to used vehicles in very good condition, so having one is a good indication of the car’s health.

In the case of a luxury car, you may want to consider extended warranties (assuming the manufacturer offers them).

Do not rule out long distance transportation

In some cases, the car you want to buy won’t be near you. This makes a proper test drive and inspection difficult, but if you’ve looked at the car and the seller looks legit, you might want to buy it. Fortunately, transportation services will move the car from point A to point B on your behalf.

1. Find a Reputable Car Delivery Man

The auto shipping industry has shady performance rates. If you want your car to arrive in good condition, you’ll have to do some more research. uShip is a popular bid-based marketplace for worldwide shipping. In the United States, Trusted Auto Shippers and Trusted Carriers are both good options.

2. Choose the right location

Because of the way long-distance shipping works, it is often cheaper to ship between major cities because the shipper will end up in the major cities anyway.

3. Choose the right time

The price of car transportation is similar to the price of an airline ticket in that it fluctuates based on many factors. Place is one, but time is one. If a shipper is about to depart with ample cargo space, they’d rather fill less than empty, so you can get good deals if you schedule well. In addition, fewer vehicles are shipped during the winter, so shipping is usually cheaper.

4. Transportation Insurance

It’s not common, but cars in transit can be stolen or damaged. Reputable auto shippers will provide insurance for that, and you’d be foolish to ignore it. Think of it as a safety fee during your car purchase. You can also insure the vehicle in transit yourself if that’s what you prefer.

Watch out for used car scams

Like all things online, auto shopping is prone to scams, though mostly in the used car sector. There is a lot of overlap between car scams, eBay scams, marketing scams, and other online scams. In particular, pay attention to the following.

1. Refuse to transfer

Scammers prefer to use wire transfers because of the fast transaction speeds, allowing them to escape before you realize you’ve been scammed. Plus, money lost in a bank transfer is difficult, even impossible, to recover.

2. Avoid the emergency lists

If you feel like the seller is pressuring you, take it as a bad sign and move on. Urgency can lead to hasty decisions, and hasty decisions are harmful to high-value items. Take your time and don’t fall prey to impulse purchases.

3. Be suspicious of the cheap

If the price of a car doesn’t seem to match its value, that should raise a red flag in your mind. Sometimes these offers are legit, and the seller just wants to liquidate their car immediately, but for the most part, it’s a trap. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Buy your next used car safely online

As you can see, buying a car online is a lot of work. The beauty of it, however, is that you open yourself up to more opportunities than you would otherwise miss if you were limited to car dealerships in the area. Be smart, do your research and watch out for scams. This article only scratches the surface, but it should provide a good base for what to look out for.

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