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Shopping for a Used Car Online

Shopping for a Used Car Online

By Jeff Youngs, February 24, 2012
With so much content and information available online today, the Internet is making it easier than ever for prospective buyers to shop for a used vehicle. The following tips may be helpful for shoppers in the market for a used vehicle and may help improve satisfaction with their used-vehicle purchase experience.
1. Visit a variety of Web sites.With an abundance of information available online for used-vehicle shoppers, it's helpful to know where to find what you're looking for. Independent sites are good places to find intuitive search tools that match shoppers with the right vehicle for their needs, as well as pricing and reliability information. Dealerships often maintain sites that provide their current vehicle inventories, while many manufacturer sites allow shoppers to search for certified pre-owned vehicles in their area.
2. Search for comparative used-vehicle pricing.The development of Web sites such as Kelley Blue Book (kbb.com), AutoTrader.com and Edmunds.com have made searching for used-vehicle pricing information easy. Using these sites to compare prices will give shoppers a general idea of their desired vehicle's price range without leaving the comfort of their homes.
3. Consider online classified ads.Online classified ads sites such as AutoTrader.com and cars.com are a competitive and convenient tool to give shoppers more options when considering a used vehicle. These sites allow sellers to post used-vehicle listings along with several pictures that can be viewed easily by shoppers, based on their preferred zip code.
4. Purchase or ask for a Vehicle History Report.Vehicle History Reports (VHRs) are an inexpensive way to check the track record of any used vehicle. According to the 2006 Used Autoshopper.com Study, nearly one-third (32%) of automotive Internet users receive a free vehicle history report from the seller. If your dealer or private seller does not offer a VHR free of charge, one can be purchased online through sites such as CARFAX.com and AutoCheck.com.
5. Search for financing and compare interest rates online.When shoppers have financing arranged ahead of time, it often gives them greater negotiating power when dealing with the seller. On most sites, applying for financing is fairly easy, and the interest rates offered by many online lenders are comparable to or possibly better than those offered by dealers.
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