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How to Sell?

16 Best Online Car Buying Sites of 2024 (Can You Trust Them?)

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Written by: Michael Becker
Last Updated:

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Key Takeaways

  • Carvana, GarGurus, and eBay Motors are popular online car-buying sites that offer hassle-free purchasing experiences. These sites offer features like car vending machines, free vehicle history reports, and fraud protection for eligible transactions.
  • Specialized platforms like Bring a Trailer cater to niche markets, connecting private sellers with buyers for used cars and classic or vintage vehicles, respectively, while providing secure payment options and shipping services.
  • When buying a car online, compare financing options, review vehicle history reports, have the car inspected by an expert, negotiate with private sellers for discounts, and watch out for hidden fees to avoid getting scammed and ensure a smooth purchasing experience.

16 Online Car Buying Sites

1. Carvana

Carvana Summary

  • Get an online quote within 2 minutes
  • Free pickup within 100 miles of a hub
  • Offer valid for 7 days or 250 more miles
  • Haggle-free process to sell your car

Carvana is one of the best online car buying sites to consider when purchasing a car. The company is famous for its automated car vending machines, which are located in many cities and make buying a car from them a hassle-free experience.

Since it is an online-only used car sales platform, you would expect lower prices as it cuts dealerships out of the car buying process.

The company’s car vending machines can be found in over 300 markets across the US, including:

  • Tempe
  • Dallas
  • Memphis
  • Washington DC
  • Philadelphia
  • Pittsburg
  • And many more

Additionally, Carvana provides every vehicle with a Carvana certification. This means the vehicle has passed a 150-point inspection with no reported accidents, fire, water, or frame damage, and clean records. Carvana also provides 400 free test drive miles, and each mile after that will cost you $1.

To finance your purchase through Carvana, you need to be at least 18 years old and earn over $10,000 a year. The platform also has a 7-day return policy and will deliver any car purchase to your nearest car vending machine.

2. CarGurus

CarGurus Summary

  • Receive payment within 3 working days
  • Find out the market value of your car
  • List your car for sale in under 5 minutes
  • Up to $75,000 in protection for your sale

CarGurus is an online e-commerce marketplace where you can buy and sell used cars. The platform has a unique Instant Market Value feature that will tell you whether the vehicle you are looking at is a good deal.

The algorithm assesses each listing and rates it on a 5-tier scale between overpriced to great. In addition, only 30% of cars get good or great deal ratings. Thus, you can be sure that any car you buy with such a rating is worth the money.

The platform also gives prospective buyers access to hard-to-find information about the vehicles on sale, such as accident history and the number of owners.

3. eBay Motors

eBay Motors Summary

  • Sell 20+ types of vehicle and car parts
  • Low listing fees starting from just $19
  • List a car for sale in under 10 minutes
  • 2 selling options – fixed price or auction

Based in San Jose, California, eBay Motors is eBay’s automotive section that enables you to buy and sell new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles and parts. eBay started in 1995 as an online auction website for collectors and enthusiasts and has since expanded to offer both auction and instant purchase buying options.

eBay Motors offer many features that make it one of the best online car buying sites.

Some of these features include:

  • Up to $50,000 in fraud protection free of charge for eligible transactions.
  • Vehicle history via AutoCheck
  • Vehicle inspection Inspect My Ride
  • And many more

When purchasing a car online from eBay Motors, you will need to pay using your PayPal account. In addition, most sellers will require a deposit upon winning an auction. The remaining balance can then be paid within an agreed-upon time.

Depending on the seller, you may or may not need to arrange for the delivery and collection of the vehicle. Thus, it is important to review listing details carefully so you know what to expect before buying a listed car online.

4. Carmax

CarMax Summary

  • Instant online offer in under 2 minutes
  • Online offer is valid for up to 7 days
  • 2 options for selling – online or in-store
  • Get paid within 30 minutes on the spot

CarMax is one of the most popular online car dealerships in the US. Carmax allows you to buy both used and new cars. In addition, Carmax has both physical locations as well as an online store that you can browse. Thus, you can visit a CarMax dealership to test-drive a car before making a purchase.

You can also choose between a curbside pickup or delivery when buying a car from CarMax.

There are some fees you may need to pay when buying a car from them, including:

  • Transfer Fee: If a car you are interested in purchasing is in another lot, you may have to pay a transfer fee.
  • Processing Fee: About 50% of CarMax locations charge a dealer fee, which can range from $100 to $400.
  • Delivery Fee: A delivery fee will be charged when your vehicle is delivered. The fee will depend on the distance between the closest dealership and your address.

CarMax also provides a limited warranty. The warranty covers the vehicle’s major systems for 90 days or up to 4,000 miles.

Systems covered under warranty include:

  • Transmission
  • Electronics
  • Engine
  • Drivetrain
  • Electrical
  • Steering
  • Cooling
  • Climate control
  • Suspension
best place to sell car online free

6. Bring a Trailer

Bring a Trailer Summary

  • Nicely crafted listings
  • Professional car photography
  • Transparent auctions
  • White-Glove Service for sellers who need additional assistance when selling their car

Bring a Trailer is an online used car marketplace that focuses mainly on vintage and classic cars. The platform does not offer instant purchase options. Instead, all cars listed for sale on the platform are sold via an auction. At any point, there are usually between 300 to 500 used car listings on the site.

Although Bring a Trailer may not be ideal if you want to buy a car for your daily commute, it may be suitable for vintage and classic car collectors.

The platform also offers a shipping service to any location in the contiguous 48 US states. Thus, when you purchase a vehicle on BringATrailer, you can easily arrange for it to be sent to your location.

7. Craigslist

Craigslist Summary

  • Posts are anonymous
  • Quick and easy listing in a matter of minutes
  • Little to no seller fees, most auctions are free
  • Sell within your local area

Craigslist is one of the most well-known online peer-to-peer marketplaces. Although the platform does not cater specifically to car buyers and sellers, you can still find used vehicles available for sale on it.

However, when buying a used car on Craigslist, it is best to take extra care. There are no regulations on the types of vehicles that users can sell on Craigslist. As a result, there are often many scammers and unscrupulous sellers on the platform.

Nonetheless, one benefit of buying a used car on Craigslist is that you can sometimes get a better deal than from other online car-buying sites.

Used car listings on Craigslist tend to be 10% to 20% cheaper than other websites since they are sold by private sellers and there are no fees.

8. Hemmings

Hemmings Summary

  • Excellent coverage for potential buyers with 200,000 subscribers
  • Free site searches to compare vehicles
  • Specialized platform for classic cars
  • Option to place a classified ad or auction

Hemmings is the online arm of the oldest car magazine in the United States: Hemmings Motor News. The platform features classic cars, exotic cars, and car parts for sale.

There are over 10,000 listings that you can browse on the website. In addition, Hemmings also has both instant purchase listings and auction-style listings. 

Some of the most popular categories of cars available on the website include:

  • Trucks and SUVs
  • Sports and exotics
  • Muscle cars
  • Classics
  • Motorcycles
  • Restomods and customs

9. Autotrader

Autotrader Summary

  • Fast sell – you’re twice as likely to sell in a week of listing than traditional methods.
  • Wider audience – Autotrader boosts exposure to help you find the most suitable buyer
  • Direct payment – you can choose your best payment medium.
  • Autotrader has Android and iOS apps so you can connect anywhere

Autotrader is an online marketplace for buying and selling new, used, and certified second-hand cars. Founded in 1997, it has since grown to host over 3 million listings from over 40,000 car dealers.

Autotrader also provides users with automotive reviews, shopping advice, and comparison tools for car financing and insurance information. In addition, most sellers on Autotrader offer warranty coverage that may last between two and seven years, depending on the car’s mileage.

Simply follow these steps to buy a car from Autotrader:

  1. Search for a car. After you decide what model of vehicle you’re looking for and how much you’d like to spend, you can use AutoTrader’s search function to bring up a list of vehicles that fit your criteria.
  2. Compare the various listings that meet your needs.
  3. Review the free vehicle history report offered with pre-owned vehicles sold by dealers.
  4. Get the seller to have a pre-purchase inspection performed by a trusted mechanic.
  5. Decide on how you want to pay for the car and apply for financing if you need it.
autotrader vs carvana

10. TrueCar

TrueCar Summary

  • Enter VIN to instantly get a car estimate
  • Offer is good for three days
  • TrueCar pays through check
  • Offer comes from one of Certified Dealers

TrueCar is an online website offering both new and used cars for sale. Unlike the other platforms on this list, TrueCar stands out by providing detailed information about car pricing based on a user’s location. Car buyers can also use the platform to compare different vehicles on the market.

You will also find car rankings based on model, price, features, accessories, make, and size. The platform also features many useful tools for buying a car online, such as a loan calculator and a car lease calculator. TrueCar offers 35 brands of new vehicles that you can buy online.

When it comes to used vehicles, the platform boasts over 1 million listings. Thus, you will find something you like when buying a car on TrueCar.

11. Carfax

CARFAX Summary

  • Dealerships compete for your car
  • Free tool to accurate price your car
  • Receive accurate offers within 3 days
  • Carfax connects you directly with dealerships

Carfax is one of the most popular service providers that cater to the needs of both used car buyers and sellers. The platform is known for its free vehicle history reports, which enable anyone to get the details on the history of a vehicle using only its VIN.

Carfax also offers a used car listing feature, which enables car buyers to browse dealerships’ available vehicles. Buyers can filter their search results based on various factors, such as a car’s accident history, service records, and other information.

The comprehensive nature of the website allows buyers to purchase used cars online with peace of mind. The website also features a 2 step search process that enables buyers to easily find used cars that meet their needs available for sale.

cargurus vs carfax

12. Edmunds

Edmunds Summary

  • Edmunds will buy a car directly from you
  • Free car appraisal tool
  • Offer is valid for 7 days
  • Bring in your vehicle for inspection and get paid

Edmunds is an online resource for the motor vehicle industry. The website features listings for both new and used cars, enables buyers to compare different deals and provides expert reviews on the cars that they want to buy. Each year, the website tests over 300 new vehicles to provide detailed reviews.

Thus, you can be sure that you are getting the best possible vehicle when you do your car-buying research on Edmunds.

13. CarsDirect

CarsDirect Summary

  • Lets you research used car prices to price your car fairly
  • Connects you with Peddle to sell your car within 48 hours
  • Provides lead generation and referral services to auto dealers
  • The platform is free to use

CarsDirect is one of the most popular online car buying sites for both used and new cars. The company has been around for over two decades and has earned numerous industry awards. In addition to car sales, the platform also offers other value-added services like new car deals and auto loans.

When buying a car online with CarsDirect, you can use the website to find the best deals in your local area. You can also compare different vehicles to see which one is more suitable for your needs.

The platform also offers some of the most affordable cars for sale online, with car payments on some listings as low as $200 per month.

carsdirect vs truecar

14. Summary

  • Useful resources to help you sell a car
  • Excellent place to research the market
  • Instant cash offer from a dealer
  • Smooth and easy to use interface is a comprehensive online car website with many useful features to enhance your experience when buying a car online. The website was launched in 1998 and currently features car listings in over 100 cities across the US.

When you buy a vehicle online on, the website’s price-badging and price-drop notifications help you get the best price possible. The platform also offers many other unique features that make it one of the best online car buying sites. 

Some of these features include:

  • The latest news and coverage about the car market
  • Comparisons between different car models and market research
  • Catalog of local options for repairing your vehicle
  • DIY tutorial videos on how to do simple repairs 
  • Car payment calculators
  • And many more

15. DriveTime

DriveTime is one of the best sites in the US for buying and selling a used car online. The company is based in Tempe, Arizona, and sells and finances cars to customers around the nation. To date, the company has over 120 dealerships across the country with finance experts on-site.

DriveTime offers several customer assurances to provide a worry-free buying experience and the peace of mind that comes from knowing they will be covered if anything happens to their vehicle early on. These include a 30-day/1500-mile limited warranty, a 5-day return guarantee, and a free AutoCheck history report. 

To purchase a vehicle from Drivetime, you will need:

  • A valid driver’s license
  • Proof of income is determined through a payslip, bank statements, or employer verification.
  • Proof of auto insurance. Drivetime can help you obtain insurance if you don’t already have a provider.
  • Proof of residence in the form of utility bills or a lease agreement

16. Enterprise Car Sales

Enterprise Car Sales is the used car dealership division of the hugely popular car rental company: Enterprise Rent-A-Car. The company has over 145 used car dealership locations across the US, making it easy to purchase a car online on the website before picking it up in person.

In addition, the company also offers affordable cars for sale, with many listings requiring a monthly payment of under $350. Thus, the convenience and affordability of buying a used car on Enterprise Car Sales make it one of the best online car-buying sites.

Are Online Car Buying Sites Legit?

Online car-buying sites are usually legit, especially if car dealerships own them.

However, you should do your due diligence when buying a car from a private seller, such as on peer-to-peer marketplaces like eBay. This process should involve engaging a professional to inspect the vehicle and reviewing its history report. That way, you can safely buy your car and avoid being scammed by unscrupulous sellers.

Tips to Avoid Getting Scammed on Online Car Buying Sites

Here are some tips that can help you avoid getting scammed when using online car-buying sites:

  • Compare the different financing options to ensure that you are getting a good deal
  • Always review the vehicle history report to see if it has experienced damage of any kind
  • Get an expert to inspect the vehicle for you before you purchase it
  • If you are buying from a private seller, negotiate to see if you can get a discount
  • Always check to see if there are any hidden fees that you have to pay
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Michael Becker


About the author:

Michael Becker is a car enthusiast and expert who has been working in the automotive industry for over 15 years. He started his career as a salesperson at a local dealership, where he learned the ins and outs of the car market. Then he moved on to flipping cars for a profit.

Michael has also helped many of his relatives and friends to sell their cars, using his knowledge and skills to get them the best deals. He will guide you through the process and help you avoid the common pitfalls.

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