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Buying A Vehicle Online
The Internet has changed the way we shop forever including the way we purchase vehicles. Gone are the days of the mandatory dealer to dealer trek, searching for just the right vehicle. This process is cumbersome, time-consuming and frustrating. You may choose to use the Internet as a tool; a way to shop around dealers’ inventory and get some of the legwork done before visiting dealers. You may even choose to complete almost the entire process virtually. Keep reading for helpful tips and descriptions of what you may expect to experience while purchasing a vehicle online.
Eight Step Process
- Set a Budget – Arguably one of the most important steps in the process, setting an appropriate budget can guide you in the right direction and help you avoid costly mistakes. Need help setting your budget? Take advantage of this car affordability calculator to assist your search.
- Get Preapproved for a Loan – Think of managing your car buying process in the same way you would a real estate transaction by seeking preapproval before shopping. Even if you decide to take advantage of manufacturer or dealer provided financing at a later time, you will be equipped with a benchmark to guide your negotiations.
- Find the Right Model – There are many ways to approach this step depending on your needs and priorities. You may consult online with a variety of new and used car ranking articles or you may also choose to use, for a small subscription fee, a site such as ConsumerReports.org.
- Check for Car Deals – The Internet is a great place to search for vehicle incentives, available rebates, low interest rates, cash back deals and dealer promotions.
- Search the Inventory at Multiple Dealers – Both manufacturers’ and dealers’ websites alike can provide you with vehicle inventory information with just a zip code and several clicks.
- Chat Online With Internet Sales Managers – Virtually every dealer has an Internet Sales Manager and they are waiting to talk with you and offer assistance in your online search.
- Take a Test Drive – The live test drive is still a necessary and recommended step you should take before signing the paperwork. Even if you purchase a new vehicle, not every vehicle handles the same straight from the factory floor. Some dealers will assist with this process and bring the vehicle to you for the test drive.
- Finish Up at the Dealership or Get the Car Delivered – Chances are you will still need to visit the dealership to finalize the sale. Keep organized records of all of your online negotiations and conversations. Before the vehicle visit, confirm the lender and dealer requirements regarding financing.
CARFAX is the most comprehensive portal for vehicle history information for buyers and sellers of used cars. If you are in the market for a used car, obtaining a report can provide you with a wealth of information to help inform your decision. Some types of information you will find on CARFAX reports are:
- Title information, including salvaged or junked titles
- Flood damage history
- Total loss accident history
- Odometer readings
- Lemon history
- Number of owners
- Accident indicators, such as airbag deployments
- State emissions inspection results
- Service records
CARFAX also provides an exclusive Buyback Guarantee in the event of particular report errors. Visit the CARFAX website for complete details.
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