Best Used-Car Websites For Online Car Shopping
The best used car websites provide shoppers with everything they need from their computer or phone: the ability to search for vehicles, compare prices and pull vehicle reports. Used car sites can also provide detailed descriptions of a car’s features. Online car markets typically have expert reviews and customer feedback to help you find used cars to meet your needs.
Here are nine contenders for best used car websites — and one runner-up — that you should browse when you’re buying your next used car, truck or SUV.
Kelley Blue Book: Best online reputation
Expert car reviews
Pricing history and 5-Year cost analysis
Must pay for vehicle reports
Long before users could search for cars online, Kelley Blue Book (KBB) established itself as the “go-to” place to find the market value of your vehicle. The KBB website is often the first stop for people who want to buy a car. KBB gives buyers many resources, including expert reviews, customer feedback and side-by-side model comparisons. With their 5-Year Cost to Own feature, you gain valuable insight into how much the used car may cost you over time.
KBB has thousands of used cars from dealers and private sellers. Whether using a computer or the KBB mobile app, users can narrow the results by filters like location, year, body style and vehicle history. You can reach out to the seller right through the KBB site when you find a used car that ignites your interest.
Does not offer a free car history report
With over 50 years of experience in the auto industry, Edmunds has become a trusted source when buying a used car. The site features thousands of used car listings throughout the country. Shoppers can narrow down their choices with such filters as price, make, mileage and vehicle history. When you find a car you like, you can buy it online and deliver it to your home. You can even take care of financing online. If the vehicle isn’t a good fit, you can return it within seven days. And if you prefer to visit to see the car in person before you buy, Edmunds puts you in touch with local dealers in your area.
You’ll find similar features with both KBB and Edmunds. Both companies have a good reputation and are trusted by car buyers across the country. However, KBB has a slight edge as it sets the industry standards for automobile pricing.
Cars.com: Best for consumer reviews
Extensive consumer reviews and feedback
Must pay for vehicle reports
Established in 1998, Cars.com is a digital car marketplace that matches car buyers and sellers. Car shoppers can browse through thousands of used cars and filter their search by such factors as style, performance and features. To help you make the best decision when buying a used car, the site features detailed reviews, vehicle ratings, in-depth research and a side-by-side comparison of multiple vehicles. When you find a car you like, the site connects with the dealer.
CarsDirect.com: Best for deals on used cars
Current rebates and financing offers
Financing for shoppers with bad credit
Must buy from the dealer
Launched in 1998, CarsDirect is an online car search engine where you can browse used vehicles in your area. The site features the latest certified pre-owned vehicle rebates and financing offers, which can save you money if you buy a car that qualifies.
You can’t buy a car through the site; instead, CarsDirect puts you in touch with the dealer. If you are struggling to get an auto loan due to bad or no credit, you can also work with their lender network to get financing to suit your needs.
Autolist: Best for the variety of cars available for sale
Expansive selection of new and used vehicles
Receive email notification on price drops
Must pay for vehicle reports
Pulling data from major car websites and apps, Autolist boasts over 5 million new and used car listings in one place. With its data-driven approach, users have the ability to analyze prices, research vehicle history, and browse photos. Shoppers can easily see price changes and be notified of price drops or new listings via email.
You can view used car listings through their website or via the app on an Android or iOS device. With a vast library of auto resources, buyers can learn more with how-go guides, featured articles and in-depth reviews.
Carvana.com: Best selection of inspected used vehicles
100-day or 4,189 limited warranty
For buyers who love the idea of car shopping without ever leaving home, Carvana fits the ticket. Answer a few questions about your style and preferences, and you can be matched up with a car that meets your needs. Or use the search function to browse over 25,000 cars based on price, features, year and miles.
When you purchase a vehicle through Carvana, you have seven days to try it out, or you can return it. All vehicles undergo a 150-point inspection and a 100-day or 4,189-mile limited warranty.
CarGurus: Best for shopping around
Up-to-date pricing and vehicle history
No free vehicle reports
With over 5 million listings of new, used and certified pre-owned vehicles, CarGurus is one of the largest online car-buying sites. CarGurus relies on up-to-data from millions of listings to report current prices and vehicle history. Beyond make, model and price, users can filter their search based on other factors such as safety ratings, rear wheels and comfort features. Buyers can find such resources as test drive reviews, tips and used car price trends. And if you need financing, you may be able to get prequalified for auto loans through the site.
Autotrader: Best for selling used cars
Instant cash offer
Some searches return confusing results
With over 3 million listings from private sellers and dealers, Autotrader attracts millions of car buyers seeking new and used cars every month. Shoppers can find used vehicles using a host of parameters, including price, body style and fuel economy. You can narrow your search further to choose vehicles from private sellers or dealers.
For car owners who want to avoid the hassle of selling their cars online, you can get an instant cash offer through Autotrader. Just answer a few questions to find out what your car is worth. You can get cash or trade in your vehicle for credit at a participating dealer.
Vroom: Best for buying a used car online
Smaller selection than competitors
Can take 10-14 days for delivery
With Vroom, shoppers can buy a used vehicle without leaving their homes. The site lists thousands of low-mileage, pre-owned cars, SUVs and trucks that are available for purchase in 47 states. Every vehicle undergoes a thorough inspection and comes with a CarFax report.
Once you pick the car you like, you can complete the buying process online by making a non-refundable deposit, uploading documents and signing paperwork sent electronically or via overnight delivery. If you don’t have financing in place, you can apply for an auto loan through one of the banks Vroom partners with. The car is shipped directly to your home or a nearby location. You have seven days or 250 miles to test the car out to decide if you like it. And if it is not the right fit, you can return it and get your money back.
eBay Motors: Best for unique used car purchases
Seller ratings and feedback
Can find exotic used vehicles
Need to research seller before purchase
Shoppers can find an array of used vehicles on eBay Motors. Private sellers and dealerships list used cars, trucks and SUVs through eBay. And if you are looking for something beyond an everyday vehicle, you are bound to find it here.
Car buyers can find vehicles based on price, make and model, and location. Narrow your choices down further to find vehicles that you can make an offer on, or take your chances with an auction. Or, limit your choices to dealers only or sellers with eBay stores. eBay Motors includes seller ratings and vehicle history reports to help customers make buying decisions.
Protect yourself when buying a car online: 5 tips for success
Buying a used vehicle online is not without its dangers. Here are a few steps you can take to avoid getting scammed.
- Do a thorough check of the car’s history before you buy. You can check a car’s history by getting its vehicle identification number (VIN). Request a vehicle history report to give you a better idea of how often the car was maintained and if it was involved in any accidents.
- To avoid identity theft, don’t freely give out personal or financial information.
- Check out the seller before you do business with them. Many online sites offer seller reviews. If the seller doesn’t communicate with you directly, it could be a red flag.
- Don’t wire money to the seller, as it may be difficult to get your money back if it is a scam.
- Online pictures may not tell you the whole story when buying a used vehicle. Get the car checked out by a mechanic before you buy.
Here’s how we determined the best used-car websites
To qualify as a best used car website or app, sites must be easy to navigate, informative, and include customizable search functions around vehicle details and location. Each company must also meet the following qualifications:
- It cannot offer physical dealerships where consumers can visit and test-drive vehicles.
- Operations are not limited to one state.
- Its main value proposition revolves around vehicles.
- Personal information is not required in exchange for basic vehicle details such as price.
- It has to sell regular consumer vehicles, not only company fleet vehicles or classic cars.
- It is not a car-buying service such as TrueCar and Checkbook’s CarBargains.