When searching for the best online car buying sites, options like Carvana, CarGurus, and eBay Motors stand out for their unique services and customer satisfaction.
Carvana offers an innovative and hassle-free experience with its car vending machines and online-only platform, ensuring quality with a thorough 150-point inspection.
CarGurus brings transparency with its Instant Market Value tool and detailed car histories.
eBay Motors caters to a broader audience by enabling the sale of various vehicles and parts through auction or fixed-price listings, making it a versatile choice for many. These sites are designed to make your car buying experience seamless and trustworthy in 2023.
17 Online Car Buying Sites
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 located in many cities which 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:
- Washington DC
- And many more
Additionally, Carvana provides every vehicle with a Carvana certification. Meaning the vehicle has passed a 150-point inspection with no reported accidents, no fire, water, or frame damage, and has clean records. Carvana also provides you with 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.
CarGurus is an online eCommerce marketplace where you can buy and sell used cars. The platform has a unique Instant Market Value feature, which will tell you whether the vehicle you are looking at is a good deal or not.
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
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.
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.
When buying a car from CarMax, you can also choose between a curbside pickup or delivery.
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 the dealer fee. The fee can range from $100 to $400.
- Delivery Fee: A delivery fee will be charged when delivering your vehicle. 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:
- Climate control
Vroom is one of the best online car buying sites and eCommerce companies based in New York City. The company’s website enables you to buy, sell, and finance high-quality vehicles online.
Vroom vehicles go through several inspections to make sure they are safe and ready to sell. Additionally, each Vroom vehicle comes with a 90-day or 6,000-mile limited warranty as well as 24-hour roadside assistance for 12 months. However, not that Vroom does charge some fees when you buy a car online from them.
|Pre-Delivery Service Charge||Starting from $285.50|
|Electronic Registration Filing Charge||Depends on the state you live in|
In addition, Vroom will require you to make a $500 deposit via any major credit card company. After making the deposit, Vroom will then hold the car, giving you time to make your purchase and complete the paperwork.
After this, Vroom will send you a detailed contract for you to review within 24 hours, sign, and make the payment. If you want to pay in cash, you will need to send them a cashier’s check or wire transfer.
Note that the company does not allow you to test drive any of their cars before buying them.
TRED is one of the leading sites connecting private sellers with potential buyers and enabling you to buy a used car online. The platform acts as a broker and cuts out the middleman, enabling you to purchase a used car at a relatively low price if you know what to look out for.
The platform also offers an online escrow system, so you can shop for a used car with the peace of mind that the seller is not scamming you.
Some of the other features that make TRED one of the best online car buying sites include:
- Identity check
- Vehicle history check
- Secure payment
- Guaranteed title
- And many more
The platform also offers five different payment options to cater to your needs, including:
- Financing with TRED
- Financing from your bank
- Cash via wire transfer
- Credit or debit card
7. Bring a Trailer
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 that caters to any location in the contiguous 48 US states. Thus, when you purchase a vehicle on BringATrailer, you can also easily arrange for it to be sent to your location.
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.
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
- Restomods and customs
- 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 website for buying and selling new, used, and certified second-hand cars. The company was founded in 1997 and 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 you a warranty cover that may last between two and seven years, depending on the car’s mileage.
Simply follow these steps to buy a car from Autotrader:
- 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.
- Compare the various listings that meet your needs.
- Review the free vehicle history report offered with pre-owned vehicles sold by dealers.
- Get the seller to have a pre-purchase inspection performed by a trusted mechanic.
- Decide on how you want to pay for the car and apply for financing if you need it.
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 the model, price, features, accessories, make, and size. In addition, 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.
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 the different vehicles put up for sale by dealerships. Car 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.
Edmunds is an online resource for the motor vehicle industry. Not only does the website feature listings for both new and used cars, but it also enables buyers to compare different deals and get expert reviews on the cars that they want to buy. Each year, the website tests over 300 new vehicles to provide detailed reviews on them.
Thus, you can be sure that you are getting the best possible vehicle when you do your car-buying research on Edmunds.
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. Apart from 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. In addition, you can also use the website to 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.
Cars.com 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 Cars.com, the website’s price-badging and price-drop notifications help you get the best price possible. In addition, 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
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 quite a few 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. This includes 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
17. 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.
Websites to Sell Your Used Car Before Buying a New One
Not all of the websites on this list offer car buying services. As such, you may be looking for a way to sell your old car before buying a new one. Here are some of the best websites that you can use to sell your used car online.
Best Ways to Sell a Car
Get a legit offer in minutes – provide VIN, mileage and condition
$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)
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
Selling the car to Peddle is a quick and easy process:
- Fill out an online form (up to 5 minutes) – provide the car’s make, model, year, and mileage and describe the condition.
- Accept the offer (instantly) – after you fill out the form, you will get an instant cash offer. You will have 7 days to accept it.
- Schedule car pickup – Peddle’s representative will contact you and arrange a car pickup from your location free of charge within 48 hours.
- Get paid – at the time of the car’s pickup Peddle representative will inspect the vehicle and pay you by check.
Recent Peddle Offers
|Ford (Explorer Sport Trac)||2004||145,000||$1,170|
Wheelzy is also one of the best websites you can use if you are looking to sell your car online.
To get an instant quote fill out an online form, and provide your car’s year, make and model, mileage and phone number.
Wheelzzy representative will contact you with the offer in 30 minutes. If you choose to accept their offer, a Wheelzy will tow the vehicle from your location for free.
Alternatively, you can bring your vehicle to any Wheelzy store. Wheelzy stores are also open 7 days per week, making it very convenient to sell your car to them.
In terms of payment, you can choose to get paid either in cash or via a check.
Recent Wheelzy Offers
|Hyundai (Tucson)||2006||200,000||Doesn’t start||$400|
|Mercury (Sable Sedan)||2003||150,000||Doesn’t start||$225|
|Ford (Edge)||2010||200,000||Doesn’t start||$1,200|
|Lexus (RX)||2002||300,000||Doesn’t start||$750|
|Chevrolet (Cobalt Sedan)||2007||200,000||Doesn’t start||$200|
CarBrain is a website that lets you sell your old or damaged car for cash. You can enter your car’s information on their website and receive an instant offer or a guaranteed offer shortly after. Once you accept the offer, CarBrain will pick up your car and pay you within 24 to 48 hours.
They buy almost any kind of car, even if it’s damaged, and may rebuild, reuse, sell the parts, or recycle them. CarBrain’s services are free and offer payment by check or mail. Customers have given CarBrain positive ratings – A+ on the Better Business Bureau and 4.8 on Trustpilot and Google Reviews. Many customers stated the website is easy to use, and they received fair prices for their vehicles.
Are Online Car Buying Sites Legit?
Online car-buying sites are usually legit, especially if they are owned by car dealerships.
However, when buying a car from a private seller, such as on peer-to-peer marketplaces like eBay, you should do your due diligence. This process should involve engaging a professional to do a car inspection and reviewing the vehicle’s 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