Online Car Buying Tips

Read these 8 Online Car Buying Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Car Buying tips and hundreds of other topics.

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Where can I get advice on the best car for my needs?

Best Online Car Selector Tool

If you have 10 or 15 minutes to spare and are ready to use a truly cool online new car selector tool, visit The site includes product selector tools for various consumer products, including cars, digital cameras, PDAs, and smartphones. The car selector tool is, without question, the most exhaustive, most fun, and most informative car selector tool on the Web.

Totally user-friendly, the tool walks you through every step of the process and there's no typing involved. You simply use your mouse to position sliders from "least important" to "most important" or click radio buttons selecting which features you want. By the end, you get as many as five recommendations for vehicles that fit within your desired price range. You can select two or more of the recommended vehicles and get a print out of the comparison that covers everything from pricing to rear legroom.

*The one notable absence was a lack of safety and crash rating information.

Can you provide any negotiating tips with online car dealers?

Online Car Dealers Haggling Finesse

Online Car Dealers require the same negotiation strategy used in the virtual world. The objective is to pit sellers or online car dealers against each other. In other words, lead the seller to believe that you have other options.

Use these quick negotiation tips to buy a car online:

- Research your local dealer's invoice price of your ideal car

- Use the invoice price opposed to the retail as your benchmark to negotiate up

- Conduct comparative shopping at three comparative car bidding sites

- Let the competing sellers know that you are shopping around

- Review the terms of the final sales

- Acquire your asking price

I am getting ready to buy a used car online, how can I determine if the vehicle model has had a recall?

Used Car Recalls

A wealth of auto Web sites feature online car dealer and vehicle research. You can enter the year, make and model of an automobile to determine if any recalls have been issued on any of the vehicle's parts. The recall will identify the part and the year in which the recall was issued.

Remember thatnew car buying options are endless and requires comprehensive research.

Are there any laws regarding buying a car online?

12 States Outlaw Online Car Buying

Depending on which state a car buyer resides, the laws vary. For instance in Iowa, Mississippi, Virginia and Maryland, it is legal to lease a car online; however, it is unlawful to buy a car online. The online sale of a vehicle by a non-dealer is prohibited in the following 12 states:


I would like to buy a car online; however, I would prefer to build my car. Can you recommend any online sites for buying a car?

The Drawbacks of Building Your Car Online

For the auto enthusiast who wants to build their car from the inside out, manufacturer auto Websites are the best recommendation.

On the Internet, manufacturers will allow you to choose options to reserve special features. Then prices are acquired via e-mail quotes from local dealers. There are a few drawbacks associated with buying a car from a manufacturer's auto website:

- The consumer does not have an analysis of the car's features compared to other manufacturers

- The car buyer does not have a way of conducting a cost analysis with other dealerships

- Price negotiations must be made through the dealer

Are the same deals offered online car buying websites as my local car dealer?

Online Car buying Web sites vs. Local Car Dealership

Do not expect to reap the same benefits from online car buying sites as the local car dealership. Depending on the location of a car dealership, dealer incentives vary by region. For instance, the national incentives posted on the Website represent a wide scope of offers. As a result, consumers do not have a way of knowing if the precise incentives are extended at their local car dealership.

Quite often, manufacturers offer dealer incentives for the following reasons:

- To inspire car dealerships to compete against each other

- As a way of rewarding a car dealership for meeting a specific sales goal

- To move slower-selling models or stock

As a result all dealer incentives are not created equally; however they can benefit customers by leaving some room to bargain or negotiate the purchase price of the car. It's a primary reason, online car buying research is very important.

I’m researching auto Website resources to buy a car online. What is the difference between a broker site and a comparative bidding site?

Auto Websites Differences: Brokers Vs. Comparative

Not all car buying Web sites provide or feature the same type of services. Brokers' sites make dealer referrals. Vehicle models are listed for the consumer to make a selection. Depending on the auto Web site, a price range or the options of the car can be selected by the car buyer.

In turn, the broker will submit the request to either a local dealer or dealers. Although, the broker may work with a number of car dealerships, dealers will not compete for the consumer's business. Once the car is purchased, the broker procures a fee.

Some sites will connect the consumer with car dealerships that have agreed to participate in the system. The benefit to the consumer is that the dealers do not compete for your business. Other sites will obtain a number of local dealers to compete against each other to get the consumer an automobile on their terms.

Comparative bidding sites differ from online car buying Web sites. Unlike a broker site, comparative bidding involves a group of dealerships vying for the consumer's business.

Dissimilar to a broker site, a comparative bidding site, the consumer pays the fee for using the service opposed to the car dealership remitting the referral cost. For dealers, the advantage to participating in comparative bidding site programs is the ability to acquire serious car buyers versus tire kickers.

What steps are involved to buy a car online

Insider on Buying from Online Car Dealers

In several states, car dealerships utilize state franchise laws to try to divert consumers from buying cars online to force them to make their purchase through the dealer. As a result, buying a car online is really making the appropriate arrangements and negotiations through a broker.

However, at online car dealers like Saturn, you can build your own vehicle and customize other features and incentives.

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Guru Spotlight
Jolyn Wells-Moran