Shopping for a used car has become a lot easier, thanks to the Internet. However, the web has also introduced a few complexities that didn’t exist before. Now you have auction sites, traditional for sale by owner sites and of course dealers advertising their inventory on used car sites as well.
This raises the question; what should you look for in a used car website — aside, of course, for used cars. To answer that question, let’s take a look at some of the elements of the best used car websites.
The big kahuna in the used car advertising business, AutoTrader started life as a magazine published on newsprint way back in the 1970s. Boasting some three million listings of cars for sale by owners and dealers across the US, the site makes it easy to find a car by giving you options to search based upon specific options and features, as well as color, make, model and year.
Perusing the site will give you an idea of what a car should sell for based upon its mileage and condition, along with the other aforementioned parameters. The site went online in 1997 as the first coast to coast used car site. AutoTrader also offers reviews of new cars, how-to information, automotive news, price calculators, financing opportunities and insurance.
This site focuses more on cars for sale by dealers. It helps you locate no-credit, or low credit loans and it’s said to have a strong customer service component, CarsDirect has been around since 1998 and showcases the best deals to be had in the area from which a search originates. It offers CarFax reports, and the ability to determine whether an advertised car is still available. The site also offers trade-in values based upon data provided by BlackBook. Moreover, CarsDirect gives you the ability to list a set of features you’d like and get an email message when a car meeting those criteria becomes available.
As you can already see, the best-used car websites do everything possible to make the process as convenient as it can be for shoppers.
This site’s claim to fame is the fact it ranks vehicles in terms of how good a deal it represents. CarGurus’ categories include great deal, good deal, fair deal, high priced and overpriced. For cars offered by dealers, the reputation of the dealership comes into play as well. Top rated dealers with good prices rank more highly in the site’s search results than poorly rated dealers with high prices. Naturally, there’s a full spectrum in between as well.
If sheer and utter simplicity is your thing, the Craigs List site is as basic as it gets. A throwback to the good old days of newspaper classified ads, Craigslist is searchable by city, as well as make model and build year. Aside from this it’s pretty much the wild Wild West though. This is both good and bad. Because Craigslist allows sellers to post ad inexpensively, the selection can be quite good. Prices are lower as well in most cases. On the other hand, because the barrier to posting is so low, nefarious individuals sometimes lurk within its listings. Still though, Craigslist is a valuable resource if you’re shopping for a used car.
While all of these sites offer a look at what’s available on the used car market, each of them goes about it in a slightly different way. Ultimately though, each one makes finding a good, clean used car easier to do.