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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.

Web Forums

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.

Checking Prices

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 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 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.

Trade-In Prices

Don’t want to visit a dealership to figure out what your trade-in is worth? Consider using, 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.

Negotiate Online

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.

Other Tips

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.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated from its original content

Doug Demuro
Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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