Buying a Car: Using the Internet to Your Advantage
If you're interested in buying a car, you've probably already used the Internet to search for deals, look up reviews or find listings for the model you want. But we have a few other tips on how you can best use the Internet to help you through the often difficult car-buying process.
You probably already know that there are Web forums for nearly every topic, from television shows to weightlifting. But did you know there are dedicated Web forums for nearly every type of car?
It's true: Many cars have their own forums where owners post and share their experiences. These forums are a great source of knowledge, since owners can discuss common problems and share solutions. As a result, we strongly suggest logging on to a Web forum and checking out what other drivers are saying about the model you're considering.
If you're looking at a used car, we also suggest that you use the forums to search for a list of common problems. Take the list with you on a test drive so you'll know how serious an issue might be in case you encounter any problems.
If you're not sure how much to pay for a new car -- or how much you should expect to get when you trade in your current one -- you can use the Internet to help you find the answers.
One easy way to figure out pricing is to visit Kelley Blue Book's website at kbb.com. There, you'll find highly accurate pricing numbers that detail exactly what you should pay for your car -- or what you should expect to get for your old one.
If you're not sure about your car's Kelley Blue Book value, we strongly suggest visiting AutoTrader.com and looking up prices of nearby vehicles. For example, if you're trying to sell a 2010 Ford Taurus, check AutoTrader to see what other sellers are asking for similar 2010 Ford Taurus models in your area. After all, you want to make sure that your price is competitive with other vehicles so it sells as quickly as possible.
Don't want to visit a dealership to figure out what your trade-in is worth? Consider using Autotrader.com, which will provide you with a trade-in offer from a local dealer after you input information about your car's condition.
If you're satisfied with the offer, simply bring the car to the dealer and sign the papers. You're under no obligation to buy a new car once you sell yours, and you don't have to go through the hassle of listing it online and meeting up with potential buyers.
Here's one that may surprise you: You can now use the Internet to negotiate. Rather than visiting each dealership that has a car you're considering, it's now common to send emails to dealers and negotiate the price on your own time. That gives you some time to think about an offer before accepting it and lets you handle the often tense negotiation process on your own schedule.
With the power of the Internet, it's now possible to do just about everything online. Here at AutoTrader, you can read reviews, discover shopping tips and find monthly manufacturer incentives on some of our favorite new cars. Of course, you can also look up listings for new and used cars, and you can expand your search area or your search parameters to find as many cars as possible. In other words, don't be afraid of buying a car using the Internet, since you can now use the Web to do everything except kick the tires.