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Autotrader vs. Truecar Review & Comparison 2022

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Autotrader vs. Truecar

What is Autotrader?

AutoTrader Summary

  • You can sell or buy a wide variety of vehicles through AutoTrader
  • A reputable platform to sell and buy used cars
  • You can get fair deals for your second-hand car
  • Efficient customer service

Established in 1997, Autotrader is an online marketplace that connects car buyers and sellers. With Autotrader, sellers list the details of the vehicles, price, and contact information. Likewise, buyers browse through the makes while searching for specific models.

The site has a list of used, new, and certified vehicles from private sellers and dealers. It also provides shopping advice, automotive reviews, insurance information, and comparison tools for financing. While it’s based in Atlanta, Georgia, it has been operating in Australia since 2018.

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How Does Autotrader Work?

Autotrader doesn’t facilitate transactions. Instead, it provides a mechanism for the buyers and sellers to communicate and negotiate. As a comprehensive online solution, it allows you to compare cars in your area quickly. It also allows you to:  

  • Search for the car 
  • Choose a financing
  • Make an offer 
  • Close the transaction

Although any listing allows you to use their financing options, it’s best if you shop around and look for different listings. You can also check which credit unions or banks offer low-interest loans.

Buying a Car Through Autotrader

To buy a car, you need to search by entering car details such as model, make, and zip code. You can also click the Used and New Car Buttons to get started. If you’re not sure, browse by style, browse by make or use the advanced search.

Once you’ve found your ideal car, it’s best if you click on it to see additional information and pictures. Next, you can compare your findings, choose the financing option and send a direct message to the seller.

Selling a Car Through Autotrader

To begin, click Sell My Car, then click Place My Ad. Next, enter the state of your car’s VIN and license plate number to get started.

When you list your vehicle, your ad will be displayed with free ads for 30 days. Before you start, write a detailed description of the car, take photos and organize your paperwork. You can then negotiate the price, finalize the transaction and transfer the title and ownership.

What is Truecar?

TrueCar Summary

  • Selling your car and receiving an offer is easy and quick, taking a few minutes
  • You can see how factors, such as mileage and condition, affect your car’s value
  • TrueCar pays through check as soon as you close the deal with the local dealership
  • The True Cash offer is available for three days in case you need more time to part with your car

Founded in 2005 by Scott Painter and Tom Taira, Truecar is a US-based digital platform that makes it possible to buy used and new vehicles. Truecar boasts a network of more than 15000 dealers found in different countries. 

The website has information such as car comparisons and car reviews. Truecar ranks its cars based on make, model, features, and size. Plus, it partners with other dealerships to provide the best car prices and aims to provide a guaranteed lower price than what you’ll get at the dealership. 

Some of the cars available include vans, convertibles, coupes, wagons, sedans, SUVs, trucks, and cars. 

How Does Truecar Work?

Truecar allows you to see prices for both new and used vehicles, compare the cars available in your area, and support up to 250 car-buying programs.

It doesn’t own the listed cars; hence, you’ll be able to shop for cars from different dealers. If you find what you are looking for, you can contact the dealer and start the negotiation.

Like Autotrader, you can use Truecar to buy new, used, and certified pre-owned cars. You can also check the value of your vehicle before you list it for sale.

Truecar has a different business model. Since no two used cars are exactly the same, dealers must provide specific listings on what they have. The best part is that you can sell car for cash instantly.

Buying a Car Through Truecar

First, start from the homepage and narrow down your search based on type, brand, and price. 

Once you see the results, sort and filter them out based on the best price, best match, and distance. As you browse through, you’ll see ratings such as fair price, high price, and excellent price. 

Finally, you can click on the car to see more features, pictures, and seller notes. However, it is worth noting that vehicle prices do not include

  • Tax
  • Installed accessories
  • Licensing
  • Title
  • Documentation fees
  • Other state charges

Selling Car Through Truecar

To get an estimate, you need to enter information about the car. To begin, click on the Sell tab and enter dials like your car’s license number, make, model, and VIN pin. You also need to add additional features such as mileage and color. 

Once you enter the details of the car, Truecar will find the best dealership for you. You’ll then use the value to sell your car by directly contacting the dealership and getting an offer.

While sellers of cars such as Hyundai, Nissan Versa, and Chevrolet Spark may be able to sell within days, if your car is less popular, it may take more than a month to sell it.  To get a quick sell, enter details such as car make, size, and model.

Autotrader vs. Truecar Fees

Having a mission to help both buyers and sellers, Autotrader provides different options to choose from. Here are some of their most popular packages:

  • Standard: cost $25 and allows you to add up to 3 more photos
  • Enhanced package: enables you to run ads for eight weeks and cost$50
  • Deluxe: enables you to run your ad until you sell your car. It costs $75. Besides, you can add up to18 photos
  • Premier package allows you to run an ad for 14 days for $100. What’s more, your ad is put in the featured Spotlight section.

In contrast, Truecar service is entirely free with no hidden costs or additional charges. It takes what the dealership says and delivers those figures to you. Compared to Autotrader, it offers what is considered as True price.

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Autotrader vs. Truecar Payments

Autotrader accepts payment from Visa electronic, Mastercard, Apple play, and google play. It also acts as the mediator between the seller and the buyer while holding money.
On the other hand, Truecar provides an online platform that lets you transfer funds and make payments. To make payments, look for a Customised Payment Icon where you are likely to get an offer.

Autotrader vs. Truecar Pick Up

Autotrader allows you to initiate the sale, secure financing, and apply for financing. The company then picks up the car from any dealership and delivers it to you. While the dealership provides shipping, you should get your quote.

Conversely, Truecar has a program known as buy from home that allows handling all aspects of purchase without contacting the dealer. Once you fill in all the information needed, your verified dealer will deliver the vehicle directly to you. Based on your inspection, you can either reject or accept the delivery.

Autotrader vs. Truecar Towing

While Autotrader doesn’t have vehicle inventory, it provides a platform where buyers and sellers meet. As a car selling and buying site, it lets you browse through a variety of vehicles. In line with this, it does not levy charges on vehicles towed.

Like Autotrader, Truecar does not deal in any vehicle or its components. Instead, it provides information about the cars. As one of the leading car-buying sites, it offers towing services at no additional cost. The towing service depends on:

  • Make of the car
  • Model
  • Price

Autotrader vs. Truecar Customer Service

Autotrader provides exceptional customer care services. According to customers, Autotrader is a clean car dealership that provides a smooth transaction. With the staff being friendly, customers can only expect quick service. However, a few customers claimed their tools are not friendly.

While Truecar is not the best, most customers are happy that it provides a central place to review car features, pictures and prices. One thing that customers don’t like is that dealers often ignore discounts.

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Autotrader vs. Truecar Reviews

Price affordability32.5
Diversity of products or services2.52.5
Discounts and special offers22.5
Customer service21.5

Autotrader has a rating of 3.9 stars on consumer affairs and 4.7 stars on Trustpilot. This rating can be attributed to its easy-to-use and reliable site. However, a few users complained that their staff may push you to spend what you are not ready to.

On the other hand, Truecar has over 2.35 K reviews and a rating of 4.1 stars on Trustpilot and 3.7 stars on consumer affairs.

Beyond its ease of use, most buyers like its haggle-free experience. The only complaint is that some dealers don’t respect the prices provided by Truecar for its clients. 

Autotrader vs. Truecar Comparison Verdict Summary

With over 60,000 reviews, AutoTrader can be considered a better platform. This means you are likely to receive a higher amount and get a better value when you sell your car on AutoTrader. Plus, when you get an offer from Autotrader, you can rest assured they’ll honor it.

This is not true with Truecar, where your offers may not be honored. The kind of service you get from Truecar may also be inconsistent as not all dealers offer high-quality services. With offers only valid for three days, you are better off with Autotrader unless you get a better deal.

However, you might consider using Truecar if you want to sell your car fast and conveniently. With Truecar, you can get an offer in just 2 minutes and get paid on the same day.

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Autotrader & Truecar Alternatives

Compare to Other Car Buying Websites


Peddle logo

Get your free offer instantly via online form or call on (855) 925 4302

$0 fees + you don’t have to pay for towing – Peddle will take care of it

Get paid in check during the pick up for any car (damaged, junk, wrecked)


CarBrain logo

Get an offer within 2 minutes and sell your damaged car within 24 hours

Free vehicle towing and no fees to getting rid of your damaged car

The tow truck driver will arrive with your check (nationwide service)


Wheelzy logo

Quick car evaluation without the hassle – sell your car within 30 min

Choose a convenient date and time for free pick-up, as soon as next day

Get cash in hand the same day the Wheelzy agent picks up your car

ResourceWebsite TypeBest ForApp RatingMain Points
AutotraderCar Listing SiteUser ExperienceThe App Store: 4.7Google Play: 3.5– Instant cash offers- No  In-house financing
TruecarCar Listing ServiceCar Buying ProgramsThe App Store: 4.7Google Play: 3.4Dealerships may not have the exact car you’re looking for- Several emails, phone calls, and text messages about inquiries
WheelzyCar Listing SiteCar BuyingNon Yet-Features an online evaluation tool
PeddleCar Listing SiteCar Buying and SellingNon Yet-List includes secondhand cars, used and new cars


Wheelzy Summary

  • Wheelzy stores are open 7 days a week
  • Get offer in minutes – (855) 510-1108
  • Free towing of your car from your location
  • Instant payment via cash or check

Wheelzy has an advanced search feature to help you search up to 4.5 million vehicles. These include trucks, cars, pickups, and other vehicles. Unlike Autotrader that only accepts well-maintained vehicles, Wheelzy list includes used and damaged cars.

Wheelzy will give you an offer. If you accept, they’ll verify your car’s information, provide you with cash, and tow it away. 

To buy a car, enter the details of the vehicle you are looking for before searching. If you want to get the best price for your vehicle, Wheelzy is the best option. 

Wheelzy features an online car valuation tool that uses AI to help you determine the value of your car.


Peddle Summary

  • Buys used, damaged or junk car nationwide
  • Get instant quote on (855) 925 4302
  • Free towing within 48 hours after offer
  • Receive payment upon car collection

Peddle is also another place where you can buy and sell your car. Like Autotrader, Peddle provides free pickup services and instant offers. To choose between Peddle or Autotrader, it’s best to consider the car’s price and your location. Peddle’s list of cars includes:

  • Second-hand cars 
  • Damaged cars
  • Junk cars

To buy a car, you only need to click on the Used and New Car Buttons and fill an online application with the car’s details. After you accept the offer, a representative will deliver the vehicle to you.

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