Tips for Buying a Car Online

Buying a car is a major expenditure for most of us. So, it is necessary to make the decision wisely. 

In this article, we will be giving you some tips that you can use to buy used cars online. These tips are based on the experience of industry experts and car dealers and will be helpful for you in making a well-informed decision if you want to buy used cars online.

1. Select the Car Wisely

One of the major mistakes people make when they buy used cars online is going to an online car buying site and selecting a car from there. That is not the correct approach. You need to select a car that meets your needs and is within your budget. 

To make things easy we have made a checklist for you that you can use to select a car you want.

  • What is the engine type and size you want to be in your car?
  • Do you want an American car or an exotic one?
  • Is your preference luxury or speed? 
  • What is the fuel economy you want from the car?
  • Are you going to use the car as a daily driver or as a leisure car?
  • Do you need a large trunk? 

These are just some guidelines. When it is time to buy used cars online, sit down and think of all the things you need from a car. Then select the one that matches your requirements.

2. Choose the Platform 

So, now that you have selected a car for yourself, the next thing you need to take care of is the website you want to buy used cars online from. If you search the internet about online car marketplaces you’ll get countless results. Which one is the right one? Well, we have some advice that can come in handy. 

Here are some things you want to look for in the car marketplace you want to buy a car from.

  • Is the site a direct seller-to-buyer platform or some sort of a dealership? 
  • Does the platform offer a warranty on the car you buy?
  • Is vehicle inspection and certification available with the platform?
  • Do they offer free delivery of the car?
  • Do they offer a test drive on the car? 
  • Most importantly, is the platform reputable?

3. Ask for a Vehicle History Report 

Used cars go through a lot before they make it to your driveway. The only thing that can tell you what use and abuse a car has been through is the vehicle history report. This is a document that includes:

  • The details of any and all accidents the car might have been in.
  • Maintenance details of the car can show how good the car was cared for.
  • Detail of repairs done on the car and the mechanical and electrical faults that might have happened during the age of the car.

The vehicle history report can be found with the insurance agency or the dealership where the car was maintained. 

4. Go Through the Return Policy 

When you buy used cars online, chances are you might not love everything about the car. Generally, it can take anywhere between a week and a fortnight to find out whether there are any faults in the car. Go through the return policy and consider the following things while you are at it:

  • Does the policy allow for a free test period? It is good to have a 10 to 15 days grace period during which you can return the car without a penalty.
  • What defects or faults in the car entitle you to a full refund? 
  • What are the conditions of returning the car in a year or two if you want to change or upgrade your ride?

5. Go for a Test Drive 

You cannot tell the truth about a car unless you drive it. After you have narrowed down a car, ask the seller for a test drive. While you are driving the car, here are the things that you want to look for:

  • Floor the car and see the throttle response. The car’s acceleration can tell you a lot about the condition of the engine of the car.
  • Drive the car over a bumpy road and a couple of potholes to get an idea of the working of the suspension.
  • Brake the car hard and see the performance of the brakes. 
  • Listen for noises and make sure that the car does not make any unusual sounds.
  • Operate the infotainment system and all the lights and indicators to make sure nothing is faulty.

6. Don’t Be Shy to Ask Questions 

When you are making a purchase in the realm of tens of thousands of dollars, you have every right to ask things about the car you want. It is the right thing to ask away any confusion that you might have. 

Some essential questions that you should ask are:

  • Has this vehicle been in any major accident?
  • Have the airbags ever been deployed? 
  • Where the car was maintained at? 
  • Is the paintwork genuine or the car is repainted?
  • Has the odometer been reset? 
  • What are the optional upgrades on the car from the factory?
  • Is there any fault in the car?  
  • What is the real-life fuel economy of the car?

Bonus: Trade Your Old Car for Parts 

If you think that your old car is worth nothing and you’ll have to pay the scrap yard guys to take it away, you might not be correct. There are online services that can salvage working parts from your car and give you handsome compensation for that. Call local parts salvaging company and hand the car over to them. They will tow it away and you’ll get the money that you can use to buy used cars online.


Buying a car is one of the major financial transactions for middle-class people. So, you must make this decision carefully. 

If you are buying used cars online, we have compiled a shortlist of tips that can help you score a better car and be on the safer side while doing the transaction. The most important thing is to buy the car you want and NOT the one pitched by the sellers.




  • […] headed off to a used car dealership, we know what warning signs to look out for. As such, there’s a lot of advice out there for people who want to get their hands on a new car or motorcycle, but what about when […]

  • My dad would like to buy a car this year, which is why he’s also thinking of buying auto insurance because this will help protect his finances just in case damage occurs. Well, it’s a good thing that you shared here the importance of checking the car’s engine type first. You are also right that it would be best to ask about their delivery options.

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