The 11 Best Used Car Websites and Resources for Car Buying

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Automotive News

Andrew Kaufman is an automotive journalist and content manager from Los Angeles, CA. He received his English Degree from Colorado College and has written about a variety of topics throughout his career.

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, Automotive News - May 6, 2015

Learn how to find the best used car online through the top 11 used car websites and resources.

One of the biggest ways that the digital age has revolutionized the auto sales market is the ability to browse used cars inventories from the comfort of your home. Instead of driving from lot to lot, you can find exactly what you're looking for at a used car sales website.

With over 1.5 million used car listings, CarsDirect is a great place to start your search. There are lots of ways to find the right car. If you know exactly what you want, start with location, make and model, then refine by year, color and features that are most important to you. It's just as easy if you don't have a specific make or model in mind -- in that case, you might begin your search with a body style and a price range. Start your used car search now.

You can supplement your research with helpful information and listings at sites like these:

  • NADAguides.com. The official website of the National Automotive Dealers Association. While it is mainly dealer cars, they also allow private party ads. You can search by make, model and body style as well as price. They also have research tools and a new car search. The site is easy to navigate and has a lot of information.
  • Autobytel.com. Autobytel was one of the first automotive websites but has lost a bit of its luster in recent years. It is no longer the dominant website but still has a large selection of vehicles to choose from and a lot of research options.
  • Cars.com. This site is owned by a conglomerate of various newspaper groups. It has all the standard features of top notch used car website as well as a lot of research and car reviews.
  • CarSoup.com. CarSoup started in the Minnesota market but has expanded to almost all 50 states, though it tends to serve smaller cities. Its quirky style and Carsoup radio make it a site worth visiting.
  • Local dealer groups. Often some of the best websites to check for a good used car are your local dealers' websites. All the cars you see will be nearby and they often offer financing options that may be specific to your market.
  • Autotrader.com. Autotrader is currently the largest and most popular automotive website. Their listings are often linked to other sites. It has one of the largest inventories of private party vehicles.
  • CarMax.com. CarMax is a little different. It pulls its inventory from its 140+ stores across the country, so it is in essence a very large national dealer group. It also has a "no haggle price" and every car gets a 125-point inspection.
  • eBay.com/motors. On eBay you can search for a car locally or nationally. They offer dealer cars and probably have the largest selection of private party ads on the web. You can even buy a car through an auction, which is what eBay does best.
  • KBB.com. KBB.com is Kelley Blue Book's website, so you know it is full of researching options and the latest pricing info on most vehicles. They also have a large selection of used and new cars. It is well laid out and easy to use.
  • AuctionDirectUSA.com. Though they do have three physical locations, Auctiondirectusa.com is intended for those who are looking to buy a car online or sell cars online. You can even trade your car in with them for another, or trade in your old vehicle for cash. They also make it very easy to order a car and ship one to wherever you live.
  • Look for used cars near you >>

How to Find the Perfect Used Car Online

Purchasing from used car listings can be a challenging experience and some buyers may end up with a vehicle that doesn't match their requirements. Researching various online car listings is important -- buyers should be well informed about the prices offered by auto websites. Buyers can purchase the perfect car, provided they research minute details and do their homework before making a payment. Here are a few tips to bear in mind before making an online used car purchase.

  • Determine the type of car. Avoid making impulsive decisions and purchasing cars that don't match your lifestyle. Make a list of your routine driving needs and select a car that best matches those needs.
  • Define your budget. Consider the maximum monthly payment that you can afford and look at used car listings with this price in mind.
  • Define the features you need. Just as optional features increase the cost of a new car, they can make a used car more expensive. If you won't use a navigation system, for instance, it might be cheaper to choose a used car without one.
  • Factor in additional costs. Apart from the car's selling price, you should also budget for taxes and other fees that often add 10%. Once the total cost of the car is determined, look at your financing options to obtain the best deal available.
  • Cross-reference various online used car listings. To get a quality car for a good price, putting in the extra time to comparison shop is a must. Buyers should also research Kelley Blue Book to determine the actual worth of used cars.
  • Run a vehicle history check. Before selecting any used car online, it's advisable to run a vehicle history check to find out if the car has been in accidents. A vehicle's history report also provides information on the number of times the car was previously sold.
  • Use different search criteria. Most used car websites allow buyers to search online listings according to various search parameters. Buyers may research used cars based on vehicle type, vehicle size and mileage. This helps narrow a list to cars that closely match specific requirements. It's best to shop around for a while before making a final decision.
  • Stay informed about scams and deals. In addition to looking up car listings, many used car websites provide up-to-date news about scams to avoid and certified dealers to buy from. A few good resources for used car listings online include CarsDirect, UsedCars.com and CarMax.
  • Read car reviews. It's advisable to read reviews for the specific type of used car you intend to purchase. ConsumerReports.org is an unbiased resource for reliability. Several websites such as Kelley Blue Book and VEHIX provide information on car features and specifications.
  • Start your search for a used car here >>

Once you find the ideal car, it's important to research insurance rates offered by major insurance companies. Since used cars with a history of theft or damage require higher premium payments, buyers should bear these aspects in mind before selecting a used vehicle.

, Automotive News

Andrew Kaufman is an automotive journalist and content manager from Los Angeles, CA. He received his English Degree from Colorado College and has written about a variety of topics throughout his career.

Follow On: Google+