Buying a car online could save you a ton of money—here’s why

Average Price Of Used Cars Rises 30 Percent Over Last Year
Getty Images | Justin Sullivan

We buy plenty of things online every day. From clothing to home goods to pretty much anything else you can imagine, there’s a website where you can buy it. But would you ever buy a car online? It sounds strange, but it could actually save you a lot of money.

Why People Are Skipping The Used Car Lots

According to Justin Cupler, assistant editor and former automotive mechanic/technical writer for The Penny Hoarderused car lots might not exist for much longer. This is partly because they don’t offer great deals, but also because online car-buying sites are becoming more and more respected.

The cars you buy on these websites often tend to be a better price, and also a better quality than what you would buy in a used-car lot at a dealership, so it’s no wonder they’re getting good press. Plus, the buyer doesn’t get charged for things like a dealer’s commission or other expenses that come with buying from a dealership.

“They take trade-ins from across the nation and can afford to be more selective,” Cupler told The Penny Hoarder. “That’s because they don’t have a dealer lot to keep full.”

On top of that, the car is delivered to your door—can you get more convenient than that?

The one downside is not being able to take a test drive, which isn’t ideal. But most sites have a return policy; Carvana, for example, offers a seven-day, money-back guarantee policy.

Here are just two websites where you can buy a car and save a bundle, all from the comfort of your desk chair.


Carvana has a massive online stock. As of this writing, the website has about 7,600 cars in stock. And according to the price breakdown on the site, prospective buyers can save an average of $1,889 using the site instead of going to a dealership.

You can search for a specific car or just browse to see what’s available. Once you find a car you’re interested in, you can take a “tour.” The website offers specs and plenty of information about the car in question and you can also see photos of the interior, exterior and under the hood.

Worried about buying a lemon? A spokeswoman for the company told us all Carvana cars have passed a “rigorous” 150-point inspection.

If you decide you like the car, you can build a deal. Select your annual income (no need to fudge the numbers under the gaze of a salesman) and enter your VantageScore to see your personalized financing terms. There’s also the option to use a third party to finance the car.

Flickr | socialautomotive

Once the financial aspect is taken care of, you can review and sign all of your contracts online. This is vastly preferable to speeding through complex legalese while a dealer breathes down your neck. And if you don’t like what you get, you have seven days to return it. Carvana also facilitates trade-ins through its website.

Oh—and if you want, you can even pick up your new ride from a car vending machine. Carvana has five car vending machines in the U.S., four of them in Texas and one in Nashville. Take your token, slot it into the giant machine, and wait for your car to roll out.



Not only does it have an extremely catchy name, but Vroom claims to save buyers an average of $2,545—yes, please. You can browse more than 3,000 cars online or type in specific searches.

The company uses scouts who traverse the country in search of the best pre-owned cars. Then, the reconditioning team takes over and spruces the car up as much as possible. That reconditioning team is actually based on more than 100 acres of “car heaven, home to the industry’s leading reconditioning technology” outside of Houston, Texas.

The website has all the details you need before buying a car, including a free vehicle history report that shows an accident check, state title issues and an odometer check.

You can also use the online estimated payment calculator. Just choose your credit status, your preferred term length and how much you’d like to put down initially. Then, let the calculator do the work to see how much you’ll pay.

Once the car is delivered, you’ll have a week to return it, just like Carvana. If there’s anything seriously wrong, Vroom offers a 90-day warranty.

Bonus: you can trade in your old car on the Vroom website too, killing two birds with one stone.

Getty Images | Justin Sullivan

So, would you ever buy a car online?

About the Author

Jessica Suss

An aspiring food and health writer, native Chicagoan, and nut butter enthusiast. Jessica is also the creator of BiteMeBlog, but don't call her a foodie More.

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