Buying a new car is a pretty stressful experience. You’re putting down a pretty large chunk of cash, and you’re making a commitment to allocate part of your monthly budget to a new expense you didn’t have before.
Which isn’t too bad…except the part where you actually go buy the car and you feel like you’re getting taken advantage of by ruthless, experienced salesmen who want to take as much of your money as they can.
Which is where the Internet comes in.
Thanks to the world wide web, you don’t have to go through this all on your own. There are millions of people out there sharing their experiences on the best way to deal with car salesmen and how to get the best deal possible.
So let’s take a look at the best sites out there to help get you on your way.
Edmunds is a great place if you want to read tips and advice on which car is a good match for you. Their reviews and feature stories provide lots of information on both new and used cars.
2. Kelley Blue Book (KBB.com)
Kelley Blue Book is similar to Edmunds in that they have some good reviews and information, but KBB’s real strength is pricing information. Want to know how much your old car is worth as a trade in? How much should you pay for the new car you’re looking at? Kelley Blue Book is an agreed-upon standard in the car business, so you need to be in-the-know on what the Blue Book value is for any car you’re thinking of buying or selling.
It’s great to have the Blue Book value, but you want to get as many different quotes from different sources as you can to find out what you should be paying for your new car. Truecar is great because they’ll show you a continuum of the different prices for a specific car (MSRP, Invoice, Average Paid), so you can see what the car is being actively sold for.
It’s really eye opening to see how the MSRP is really just for show. You should never even come close to paying that much for a new car.
I’ve used Autotrader as a secondary source of information. After visiting the sites listed above, this was just to make sure that my data was good and I hadn’t missed anything. They also have a useful tool that’ll show you any and all dealers near you, so you can start reaching out to them to get the best price on your new car.
Carmax doesn’t really sell new cars, but I just used their site to price out a trade in. The website is another place you can get a quote for the value of your car. What you want to do, however, is go to an actual Carmax location and get a full-blown quote. They’ll guarantee it for seven days, and you can take that to your dealer to use as leverage so they give you the full value of your trade-in. If they don’t, simply go back to Carmax and deal with them.
Nada Guides is similar to Truecar in that you’ll get a much better idea of what you should be paying for the specific car you’re looking at buying. This database is what car dealers use to value trade-ins, so if you’re armed with this information you’ll be one step ahead of the game.
7. Enthusiast Forums
I wish I could give you a link to the specific forum for the car you’re interested in buying, but that list would be too long. Spend a little time searching for information on the car you want, and eventually the same forum will start showing up again and again. That’s the one you visit.
That’s what happened to me as I researched my Subaru Outback. I discovered a TON of really helpful people over on SubaruOutback.org and cars101.com (run by an actual Subaru dealer). There’s nothing like talking to people who have bought the exact same car you want to buy. They’re eager to share their stories and experiences about living with the car — and buying it.
The Internet is a great ally when you’re out there trying to get a good deal on a new car. These sites were crucial in my recent car-buying experience.