Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A row of parked cars that await online car sales.

Should You Buy a Vehicle Online This Year?

You probably have dozens of car dealerships where you live, but you might just be considering a new way of buying a car. While there’s theoretically nothing wrong with shopping at a dealership in person, the internet now means you have far more options. There’s a new way of vehicle shopping for cars right at your fingertips, and even many traditional dealerships are now offering online car sales. We have all of the details about online car sales, so read on to learn whether or not it’s the right move for you.

Let’s get one thing out of the way, the vehicles you can purchase from an online dealership are of the same quality as the ones you’d find in a regular dealership, perhaps even better depending on the service you chose. Just because you’re purchasing from an online dealership, it doesn’t mean that the vehicle has been altered in any way. Nowadays, online dealerships may still sound novel, but we already buy almost everything else online, so why not cars as well?

Back in the days, purchasing a vehicle online typically meant connecting with a random private seller, and ultimately it came down to a layer of trust between the buyer and the seller regarding the truthfulness of the vehicle’s online listing. Those days are now long past, and modern online dealerships offer high-quality vehicles and a simple buying process. You may be wondering why that is, and I’ll tell you why.

A cube with a shopping cart icon is resting on top of a keyboard.

Way More Choice

Online dealerships have a distinct advantage over your run-of-the-mill dealerships as they aren’t limited to a set amount of vehicles for sale. Some online dealers will try to stay within local proximity, but others go above and beyond by introducing a Nationwide search. As you can probably guess from the name, this search goes across the country to ensure that you’re not only getting the best deal around you but in the entire country as well.

Let’s take a common pre-owned vehicle for reference, such as a 2016 Chevy Colorado, you’ll likely find available stock near you, but if the vehicle is priced higher than its average, you’re most likely out of luck. With a nationwide search, on the other hand, you can price match with dealerships from all around the country, so you can ensure that it’s the right price every time. Not only this, but certain dealerships will offer nationwide search tools through their websites that show you only the vehicles that you want to see. While shopping, you can opt to see CARFAX reports on any vehicle that you’re interested in to make sure it hasn’t been in any major accidents.

There are several different mindsets when purchasing a vehicle. Some drivers go into the purchasing process in more of a “window shopping” mentality, with the end goal of finding a vehicle that stands out to you at a reasonable price. Other drivers know either exactly what kind of vehicle they’re looking for, and in some cases, some people need an exact model with all of the necessary packages and equipment that they’re searching for. Nationwide search can cater to both of these shoppers and is built to be as simple or thorough as you want it to be. This is a crucial component of the shopping experience for these drivers, and for those who are looking for specific pickup trucks for their towing power, or maybe an off-roading vehicle, you have to do your research correctly.

Like I said, common vehicles are typically abundant in the marketplace, but nationwide search lets you reach all corners of the country to find that specific vehicle you’re searching for. Before the ease of online vehicle dealerships, tracking down a specific vehicle that you had in mind would result in an extensive search with various phone calls made to different people. Now, it’s as easy as typing in the exact model that you want. Don’t see the vehicle that you want? That’s not a problem, as nationwide search tools are refreshed daily, meaning that your dream vehicle may come along sooner than later.

The inside of a car dealership is shown with a room full of cars.

Simple Shopping

Chances are you’ve encountered a pushy salesman in the past if you’ve ever shopped at a regular car dealership. Why do I bring this up? It’s simple as there is no pushy salesman with online dealerships, and this relieves any pressure and stress that can come from these high-stake sales moments. While you’re free to search online dealerships on your own, you’ll have full access to communicating with staff members that you can either message on the website or call their listed phone number. Best of all, many online dealerships offer generous warranties, and in many cases, have money-back guarantees for some time after the purchase, no questions asked. Should you live closer to the dealership, on-site service centers may be available for repairs.

Another reason why shopping at an online dealership is a far simpler experience is how you receive the vehicle. After you make your purchase, you’ll be given two options, you can either visit the dealership’s location to pick up your vehicle, or you can get it delivered directly to your door. Although this sounds expensive, some online dealerships offer free delivery so you can relax at home while you wait for your new ride to arrive. As part of the previously mentioned money-back guarantee, some dealerships won’t charge you anything should you need them to come back to your house to reacquire the vehicle if you change your mind.

Plenty of drivers seek to trade in their current vehicle when purchasing a new one because many drivers would rather put the money towards upgrading and may not require more than one vehicle. If your old vehicle is fully functional, online dealerships can grab your trade-in on the same day that they’re transporting your new vehicle to you. Combine this with the traditional finance options offered by many online dealerships, and you can find many ways to help you afford your new vehicle.

Should You Try it?

One of the very best parts about online dealerships is that they take an experience such as vehicle shopping that many people understand and completely bring it up to speed with current technology. Sure, dealerships have had websites for decades, but they weren’t a place to conduct business, rather a place to find information such as addresses and phone numbers. Today, modern online dealerships are an online marketplace just like Amazon. Yes, a vehicle is far more expensive than your traditional online purchase, but you can still expect a safe delivery.

Some drivers may either be uncomfortable with the idea of an online dealership, and some may just prefer the face-to-face nature of a traditional shopping experience. Fortunately for the latter, online dealerships aren’t slated to replace the traditional shopping experience, at least not yet. These dealerships are built with simplicity in mind to alleviate the stresses of the buying experience and will be beneficial for anyone who can’t make their way to a dealership during its normal hours. For those who prefer the old-school experience of visiting a car dealership to make your purchase, that’s still an option, too. Today, drivers have more choices than ever before, which is never a bad thing.