Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A toy car is shown in a tiny shopping cart sitting on the keyboard of a laptop.

Tips for Finding the Right Online Car Dealer

Whether you need a new outfit or you’re shopping for groceries, it’s obvious that the internet is where most people choose to shop these days. After all, why not make shopping easier, more convenient, and quicker? With more items becoming available online, it’s only natural that vehicles have followed suit. So, if you’re on the hunt for the right online car dealer, suggesting that you have options is a major understatement.

Online car sales have been growing in popularity for years now. More drivers are hoping to shop from the comfort of their living room sofa at their convenience, so finding a car online is quickly becoming the norm. Although it’s much more comfortable than heading to a dealership, not every online car dealership is the same, which is why it’s important to consider the following shopping tips.

Tip #1: Do Your Research & Read Reviews

As with any investment, you’ll want to know what you’re getting into first. This is when taking a moment to read up on your local online dealers is advised. You’ll want to partner with a reputable dealership that is well-versed in the sales process—preferably one that has been in the industry for a few years. You’ll also want to read reviews to see how previous customers feel about the service, selection, and overall experience they had with a particular dealership. Reviews will tell you a lot about a dealership, including how they operate, the benefits of working with them, and, in some instances, how they could improve the sales or finance process.

Tip #2: Check Out the Inventory

In addition, check out a local online dealer’s inventory. See if the dealership offers cars, trucks, SUVs, vans, or even commercial vehicles that appeal to you. This, of course, is what matters most. You may have a certain vehicle in mind, and if an online car dealer doesn’t have access to that vehicle, you may need to look elsewhere.
Team up with an online dealership that allows you to search with simple filters. You should have your eye on more than just make and model, after all. You should also search an online inventory by colors, features, trim packages, miles, model years, capabilities, and more. That way, you’re able to find the vehicles that meet your needs perfectly.
You’ll also want to partner with a dealership that has a vast inventory of vehicles, as well as the means necessary to ship a vehicle from anywhere in the country to your area. If an online dealership doesn’t offer delivery services, keep in mind the limitations that this causes.

A person is shown holding a tablet while looking at an online car dealer.

Tip #3: Learn About the Financing Options

Not every driver will have cash on hand to pay for a vehicle, which means they’ll need to finance it. A good online car dealer should offer multiple financing options, including low-cost leasing options. Extra points to dealerships that offer financing in-house, as well as those that help drivers with bad credit through affordable rates and payment plans.
Choosing an online dealership that works with major lenders is also a good sign, as you’ll have better options when it comes to finding the rate and payment plan that works with your budget. Whether you’re looking to buy or lease, you’ll want to trust in a dealership that’s well-versed in both offerings. In addition, prioritize shopping with online dealerships that advertise competitive rates and a team that can help you every step of the way.

Tip #4: Team Up with Helpful Pros

Speaking of the right help, buying a car online doesn’t mean that you’re completely alone in the process. In fact, many reputable online car dealers have a team standing by to help online customers with every aspect of their purchase. From finding the right car to finding the best payment plan, setting up delivery, and more, a team dedicated to simplifying the online experience is always a good sign.

When working with an experienced customer advocate, you’ll be able to ask questions, fine-tune your search, and much more. That way, you can get the most value out of the online buying process as possible. Be wary of online dealerships that don’t offer help, because a new car is a major purchase—one that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Tip #5: Streamline Delivery Options

The entire reason many car buyers choose to shop online is sheer convenience. They won’t have to spend hours in a dealership browsing cars in the hot sun. The same goes for picking up the vehicle, as this can feel like more of an errand than an exciting step. If this is you, you’ll want to be sure to partner with an online car dealer that offers easy delivery options that work with your schedule and your needs.

Good online dealerships can have a vehicle delivered to your place of employment or even right to your front door. The freedom to choose a delivery method that works for you is what makes online car shopping much easier and more enjoyable.

Of course, if you’d relish the opportunity to pick up your brand-new purchase, many online car dealers will also have a facility you can visit. You can pick up the vehicle there if you want to complete the sale at the dealership. However, this isn’t required when you work with a reputable dealer.

A man is shown using a laptop to look at an online car dealer.

Tip #6: Have a Contingency Plan

The car you end up buying may not always work out. However, this is a risk you take, whether you buy from a dealership or online. You may not have had a chance to test drive a particular vehicle before buying it. So, if you end up dissatisfied with it, it helps to know that you have options. When you partner with the right online car dealership, you’ll have the chance to return your purchase within a certain time frame (and under a certain amount of miles). Of course, it’s vital to do research about cars before buying; read reviews, learn about pricing, etc. The last thing you want is to be stuck with a vehicle that doesn’t meet your needs.

Do your due diligence before signing any paperwork. Read an online car dealer’s return policy thoroughly, and if a dealership doesn’t have a return policy, you may want to look elsewhere for your next car. That is, unless you’re 100% certain that you’ll want to keep the vehicle you have in mind.

Working with an Online Car Dealer

There are numerous benefits to buying a vehicle online. I recommend online shopping for enhanced convenience, a better selection, and the ability to shop at a time that works for you. You won’t have to worry about haggling over prices in person, and you won’t have to waste hours at a dealership when you could be doing something more productive with your day. Not that you’ll be left to your own devices. A good online resource will provide sales assistance, so you can find the vehicle that you’re looking for instead of one that you can simply afford.

In the end, when you take the time to do a little research, learn about your options, and locate an online car dealer that is reputable and trustworthy, you’ll have an exceptional online car buying experience. Online car shopping just might be the best way to buy a car in the 21st century.