Buyer, be aware: five helpful websites, online tools, and mobile apps for new car buyers
Say it with me: negotiating sucks.
For the few of us that enjoy the thrill of talking your way into a good deal, visiting a car dealership can be an exciting time, but for the majority of Americans, there are few places they’d rather spend a day than the local car lot.
But Americans are buying more new cars nowadays than any time in history, and with more helpful tools at your disposal every day, it’s easier than ever to get a good deal… you just have to know where to look.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the five most helpful apps, websites, and online tools for buying a car, whether you choose to go new, used, or lease. You can find more helpful articles in our Buyer’s Guide, such as how to choose the perfect car for you and the pros and cons of leasing, but for help finding the right car for the right price, look no further than these tools.
By now, you’ve probably seen one of TrueCar’s many commercials, so you may be familiar with how it works, but if not, here’s a refresher: go to TrueCar’s website to build the right car for you, check out the prices that other customers paid for the same or similar cars, and head to the dealership armed with a full pricing report to get the best possible deal on your new car. Simple, right? That’s why it’s been so popular in recent years.
TrueCar also offers a slick mobile app if you’re on the go or just want to see what kind of a deal you can get on the slick red sports car right in front of you at the lot.
You may have never heard of Carjojo, but if you’re in the market for a new car, you’ll certainly want to hear about it.
According to Peter Levy, founder of Carjojo: "We collect data on almost every individual new car currently for sale in the United States, such as the length of time a car's been on a dealer's lot, how ‘bloated’ is the dealer’s inventory, and the sales patterns at that car's dealership, to calculate the lowest price… a dealership will most likely accept for any car it’s selling. Our approach delivers an average of greater than $1,300 below other car-buying sites' prices, a savings we've confirmed by tracking actual car purchases made by Carjojo customers."
While Carjojo’s track record is still largely unproven, a savings of $1,300 is hard to argue with. Their full negotiation service will set you back $199, but it may be well worth the cost if you’re truly haggling-averse.
Newfangled apps and fancy features aside, sometimes its best to go with what’s known, and as far as putting a price on the true value of a new or used car is concerned, there’s no bigger name in the business than Kelley Blue Book. Their online pricing tool allows you to see exactly what you should be paying for the car you’re looking for, down to the trim level, optional extras, even paint color.
Be aware that if the model you’re looking for is too new, too low-volume, or otherwise doesn’t have a long purchase history, KBB won’t be able to provide a Fair Purchase Price, but that’s where the other sites on this list may come in handy.
Buying used is an increasingly appealing option for millions of car buyers, if not just for the money you’ll save. Many cars lose value the second they leave a dealer lot, so if you’re not leasing or don’t want to incur a multi-year investment that inherently loses value, it may be smart to consider opting for a secondhand ride.
Of course, the used car market can be a minefield of bad deals and painful negotiating. Thankfully, CarMax, and their increasing arsenal of nationwide used car lots, has taken haggling out of the equation, and given you as many stress-free buying options as possible, from a restructured warranty to up to 7 days to consider your price offer on the car you want. They’ll even ship a car you like across the country for you from one of their other dealerships… for the right price, of course.
When it’s all said and done and you’ve got the new or used car of your dreams, there’s still one very important – and often costly – factor to consider: car insurance. As stressful as the car buying process can be, the insurance searching process can be equally as hair-pulling, with seemingly hundreds of different companies all vying for your attention. Even with price comparison tools from companies like Progressive and free, instantaneous quotes with a minimum of information necessary, it can be tough to tell when you’re getting swindled.
Insurify, a new service that gives you detailed quotes tailored specifically to you from multiple insurance companies all at once, aims to take the hassle out of shopping for insurance, in a way the big companies can’t match. Put in your driver details, location, and more, and receive detailed quotes with available discounts and incentives all in one place.