The pandemic has made one thing clear: Right now is a good time to buy a car. Because social distancing has made it more necessary than ever for people to own private vehicles and because people might be a little reluctant to splurge, car manufacturers are offering impressive deals on autos.
But here’s another thing that’s pretty clear: Right now is a terrible time to go to an auto dealership. Be around people? Spend hours getting in and out of cars? Go on numerous test drives with a salesperson? No, thank you.
Fortunately, the internet has made it more possible than ever to do your research, compare prices and get all the facts before you step foot onto a car lot. And some apps will deliver the car right to you.
Plus, apps not only notify you when the cars you want become available but can be used as bargaining chips if you decide to venture out and buy a car from a dealership. The salesperson may cut you a better deal if the app’s already made you an offer. So take advantage of these options for buying a car online.
Last updated: Feb. 10, 2021
If you want to buy a used car but don’t want to go through the hassle of walking around and kicking the tires, Carvana may be the best bet for you. This online dealership will let you look at a car’s specs, take it for a virtual spin, let you sign all your docs online and then deliver the car to your home or, if you’d like to pick it up yourself, let you grab it from an automobile vending machine.
Cars also come with a 7-day guarantee. If the car doesn’t fit your life, the site states, just return it.
Don’t like to haggle over prices? CarMax will give you all the info you need on a car and tell you how much you’ll be paying every month in an easy-to-understand and straightforward way. The app also lets you compare 10 cars at a time and give you a complete history of each car you’re looking at.
If you live within 60 miles of a dealership, it’ll bring the car to your home. Otherwise, CarMax is currently offering curbside pickup.
Make no mistake: You can absolutely visit Cars.com on the web, but the site has an app, too. The app is intuitive, easy-to-use and presents information in a direct way that makes it easy to choose your next car. It’ll even show you which cars are “likely to go fast” where you live. Plus you can read reviews from other users.
Ready to buy? Cars.com can also help arrange delivery of your new or new-to-you vehicle.
This app (and site!) won’t deliver a car to your door, but it will help you answer any questions you might have about purchasing a vehicle. Not only will the service break down a car’s specs and help determine whether it’s right for you, but it’ll also help you learn more about loans and discounts, explain important terms and show you cars in your area. Have more questions? Edmunds will let you text with a dealer via its app for “upfront, guaranteed prices.”
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Though this app also won’t bring the car directly to you, it will allow you to communicate directly with dealers certified by the app. And, more importantly, the app will give you straight upfront pricing and show you exactly what people in your area have paid for the vehicle you’re looking at — so you’re never caught making a bad deal.
While the app offers special deals from dealers, partners and factories for its users, Car and Driver notes that it also sends your phone number to its network of dealers. So if you’re easily annoyed by sales calls, you may want to opt for another service instead.
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