A person is shown selecting a vehicle a car icon.

What Are the 8 Biggest Advantages of Shopping for a Car Online?

If you need a new car but hate the process of going to a physical dealership, an online car dealer is your best bet for getting a quality vehicle off the internet. Sure, you probably have some trepidations about buying a car online. Are you going to get what you paid for? Are you going to get ripped off? Well, the reality is that the fears about buying a car online are about as current as the paranoia expressed in that old Sandra Bullock movie, the Net. If you don’t remember that one, it featured Sandra as a tech-savvy young computer programmer who uses her computer for everything until she finds herself in the middle of a corporate technology conspiracy with all her coworkers turning up dead. However, all the fears expressed in that movie have come to nothing, as we now use our computers to shop for groceries, order lunch, do our banking, and pay all our bills. So it seems only natural to use your computer to buy your next car online.

What are the biggest advantages of shopping online? Convenience has to be at or near the top of that list, with freedom of choice a close second and security running in third place. As we shall see, there are 8 really great advantages to buying a car online that are unique to the automotive industry, which revolves around all three of these key factors: convenience, choice, and security.

One: Shop at Home, Sweet Home Alone

The most obvious advantage to buying your next car online is the ability to do the entire shopping transaction right from the comfort of your own home. How many times have you had to go out shopping for a car, spending the entire day looking for a make, model, or vehicle type you want only to find that none of the local dealerships have what you are looking for? You come to find 10 hours have gotten behind you, and you haven’t even gotten past the starting line.

Why not shop from home for your next car? You can literally buy your next car while having your breakfast and morning coffee while wearing your pajamas. Just log onto an online dealership and start searching through the literally thousands of cars, trucks, and SUVs for sale on the website. You’ll probably find the next car you want faster online than you will driving from one local dealership to another. You can find a car online before you’d have even gotten your coat on.

A toy car is shown resting on a computer keyboard at an online car dealer.

Two: The Power of the Internet Compels You!

Buying a car online puts the power of the internet at your fingertips. This allows you to do a nationwide search for your next vehicle. As a result, you can search as broadly or narrowly as you desire. If you are interested in a pickup truck but don’t really know what make, model, or size truly interests you, then you can look at all available trucks. On the other hand, if you have a specific make, model, trim, and model year in mind, you can find it online easily as well. You can even narrow your search by such things as engine type, safety equipment, and, yes, even color. So if you have your heart set on a yellow 2020 Chevy Camaro ZL1 With a 6.2-liter Supercharged V8 engine, you can find it much quicker than you ever will driving around from dealership to dealership. This is how shopping online allows you to leverage the internet as a search tool.

Three: Hi Finance!

One of the most potentially embarrassing parts of buying a car is trying to get financing for the deal. You have to go to the dealer and lay bare your finances. For many of us, our financial past and present are less than stellar, and it is unpleasant sitting across from a complete stranger while they look over our financial statement. It can also be frustrating, as many dealerships will only offer a lease or loan option to someone with an outstanding credit score. When you buy online, you can avoid this humiliating experience.

Most online car websites allow you to apply for finance by filling out some forms that are uploaded directly to the system, so you don’t have to deal with discussing this delicate subject with a stranger. What’s more, many of these websites will be able to tell you in minutes which loan and lease programs you are eligible for. With this information, you have a better idea of your purchasing power for your next vehicle. In addition, by using the internet, you are able to apply to multiple financing agencies at the same time, allowing you to shop around for the best loan program. This can turn a negative experience into a very positive one for many car buyers.

Four: Just the CARFAX, Ma’am

How much do you really know about a used car before you buy it? Unless you are an experienced mechanic, the answer is that you probably don’t know very much. Whichever Roman coined the phrase “caveat emptor” may have had a used chariot salesman in mind. Fortunately for you, when you shop online, you can order a CARFAX Vehicle History Report for the specific vehicle you are looking to buy. This will tell you such important information as how many owners the car has had, whether it was ever involved in a collision, the vehicle’s service history, and whether it has a clean title. The cost for a CARFAX report is nominal, and all you need is the vehicle identification number (VIN) for the car you are considering purchasing. Some of the best online car dealers will even include a CARFAX Vehicle History Report free of charge as part of the transaction.

Five: Paper Chase

If you’ve ever bought a car before, then you know that filling out all that paperwork can be a hassle. Worst of all, you have to sit at a busy dealership, trying to read and understand the fine print, while people are talking, phones are ringing, and time is wasted. You won’t have the aggravation of this paper chase when you buy online. Your dealer will send you the packet either by email, download, or snail mail, so you have the time to review everything, making sure you are getting the deal you bargained for. If you have any questions, you can call or email your contact at the online car dealer to work things out. They will also work with you on insuring the vehicle, transferring title, and similar matters.

Six: Special Home Delivery

The online car dealer will literally drive a truck to your house with your next car, truck, or SUV. They will call you ahead of time to let you know that the vehicle is on the way, so you are home for the delivery. You can even arrange to have the vehicle delivered to your office if you need to be at work that day. This is the kind of convenience that brick-and-mortar auto dealers can only dream about.

A person is shown searching fro a car on a laptop.

Seven: The Long Test-Drive at Home

What can you really tell about a car in 15 minutes? That is the usual time of an in-store test drive for most dealerships. You get into the vehicle you are looking at with the dealer’s representative seated next to you, and then you take the vehicle for a short drive. If you are lucky, they might let you take it out on a highway, but more likely, it will be about a dozen local blocks around the dealership before returning back. This is really not enough time to know if you like the vehicle.

Almost all online dealers will give you a period of time to assess the vehicle that was just delivered to your doorstep. While most will give you up to seven days, some of the best will give you a full ten days to test-drive the vehicle. During that time, you will be able to use the car for your regular daily commute, as well as shopping trips, highway driving, and other everyday uses. In other words, you will be able to see if you are fully satisfied by this vehicle.

Eight: Easy Returns

Typically, once you have bought your next car, there aren’t many ways you can return it to the dealership once you have taken title to the vehicle. For all intents and purposes, you are stuck with the vehicle. This is not the case with buying online, where the most reputable dealers will give you a full money-back guarantee, including the cost of the pickup and drop-off of the vehicle. This means that you are protected in case the car you just bought turns out to be a lemon.

Go to the Head of the Line by Buying Online

Buying your next car online will be safer, easier, and more fun than any other experience you have ever had buying a vehicle. Few things can beat buying from the safety and comfort of your own home. Plus, you have the ability to find practically any vehicle you may want on sale, with protections that you just don’t get from a regular dealership. So, let the internet help you find your next car!