More people are going online to find their next vehicle. It’s estimated the online car buying market will reach $36 billion in revenue in 2021. While this is for all cars, used cars are a significant part of this picture, but require some different considerations than buying new cars. Here are some pros and cons of buying a used car online.
See Thousands of Local Cars from Home
Everyone wants to save time. This is particularly true when it comes to things like buying a car, where you have to do it, but it’s traditionally a long, exhausting process. By searching for a used car online, you can see almost the entire inventory within your local area—or nationally—to quickly determine if there’s a car that works for you. All this can be done from the comfort of your home, and without driving from dealership to dealership.
Lots of Comparison Tools
When you go to a used car lot, you don’t have much to compare a vehicle against to see how it stacks up to other options. When shopping for a used car online, however, it’s incredibly easy to tell exactly where a vehicle falls on the value spectrum. In fact, many of the best used car sites will even have special tools for looking at vehicles side-by-side, or even give you a score based on their relative market valuation.
Easily Filter Based on Wants and Needs
There’s no reason to spend your precious time looking at every vehicle for sale when you have highly specific criteria. That is, unless you’re just looking to see what out there for fun, which is great evidence in itself as to the convenience of online car shopping. For most people, however, you’ll want to find the right ride in the shortest possible time. Used car websites that have many filtering tools can help you quickly sift through what you don’t need to see in order to find what’s right faster.
Many people will appreciate the fact that online used car sales often don’t involve as much negotiating as they do in-person. This will be dependent on where you’re actually shopping for a vehicle. For instance, someone selling their car on Craigslist is going to approach the sale differently than a business like Carvana. Either way, the salesperson aspect to buying a used car is lessened versus how it is when you buy from a dealership.
Online Doesn’t Always Match Real Life
As with all things that happen online, what you see on the screen isn’t going to be exactly what it is in real life. This is something anyone shopping for a used car online needs to understand going into the process. You should look at everything with a bit of skepticism until you’re able to actually see and touch the car for yourself. And even then, you’ll likely want to have a third-party mechanic inspect it for any issues.
Less Room for Negotiation
While some people might see no haggling as a good thing, others might view that as a lost opportunity. If you’re someone who wants to buy something at the absolute lowest price, some online used car platforms won’t facilitate that. Others, such as eBay or Craigslist, might allow for more haggling, but also come with risks from buying from individual sellers.
Might Not Get to Test-Drive the Vehicle
Getting inside a car and driving it around is one of the most important ways of telling if it’s the right choice or not. Certain online used car sellers don’t give you the ability to test-drive the vehicle, which forces you to make a large purchase without some pretty critical information. While it might work out fine in the end, not getting to drive a car before buying is certainly a con to shopping for used cars online.
Like anything, there are pros and cons to buying a used vehicle online. It’s up to you to decide if the ride you find online is worth it based on the information available to you.