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Car Shopping Is Easy with These Best Used Car Websites

Wondering which car buying sites are right for you? Buckle up – we’ve got all the deets right here.

Ordering a car is as easy as ordering a pizza when you use the best used car websites.

Ordering a car is as easy as ordering a pizza when you use the best used car websites.

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From Amazon to GrubHub, we have the ability to order nearly everything and anything we want from our homes and phones, now thanks to high quality used car websites, we can add cars to the list. Burgers and batteries aren’t the types of purchases we need to research or worry about how to finance – but what happens when we have to make decisions about these bigger purchases, like buying cars online?

You can of course seek out a local car dealer if you want an in-person experience, but since so many of our purchases are done online now, we wanted to highlight the best car buying websites for those in the market for a new set of wheels.

When you’re getting serious about purchasing a new vehicle, especially now with the chip shortage skyrocketing prices, you need to know how to find the best vehicle at the greatest value, and used car websites might be just the ticket. To help you out, we took a deep look at the five most popular car buying sites and pulled out the info car buyers really want to know. 

Below, you’ll find info on the following car buying websites:

Whether you’re a total car newbie or someone who thinks an at-home hand-detail is a day of summer fun, we’ve got all the info you need about Vroom car sales, Carvana vending machines, and the other best used car websites to scoop your new ride!

Buying Cars Online from Carvana

Part of the appeal of buying cars online is not having to deal with dreaded used car dealers, but it also means no one is on the journey with you to answer questions about available vehicles. Carvana understands consumer concerns and per their website, to help you feel confident in your purchase, they certify the following:

  • Every car undergoes a 150-point quality inspection, including a free oil change;
  • Carvana does not sell cars that have been in reported accidents;
  • Cars listed come with Carfax reports, similar to Kelley Blue Book valuations.

Another issue that makes consumers come to a full stop when considering car buying sites is the fact that there’s no test drive. How do you really know you want a vehicle you’ve never laid a finger on? What’s the acceleration like? Does it smell like a new car or…something far less appealing? 

Addressing this issue head-on with a 7-day money-back guarantee, Carvana is one of the best used car websites for consumers who really want to get a feel for the vehicle they’re purchasing before making the final commitment. 

Based on over 800 Consumer Affairs reviews, it seems that customers who have used car buying sites are split as to their satisfaction with Carvana; a majority of their polarized reviews come with 5-stars or 1-star, with only a few customers giving them a middle-of-the-road ranking.

  • Positive reviews of this car buying site highlight “flawless” experiences, exceptional customer service, and ease of transactions for customers who traded in their old car and purchased a new-to-them vehicle, which has a lot of moving parts.
  • Less satisfied customers report frustrating delays to their order as well as incessant messages from bots. More concerning reviews highlight mechanical issues with cars purchased, but with the 7-day guarantee, there’s definitely time to schedule in a mechanic’s visit to have a look under the hood before the ink dries.

The Bottomline

All in all, based upon their wide selection, financing options, and 100-day warranty, Carvana is certainly one of the best used car websites to check out if you’re in the market for a new car. As with any used car purchase, do your own due diligence, visit Kelley Blue Book at KBB.com, and make an informed decision before dropping in the token at your local Carvana vending machine!  

Buying Cars Online from Vroom.com

Vroom car sales come with a 90-day warranty, usually one of the first things people want to know when buying cars online. For added confidence, you can add the platinum service protection plan  which covers up to 1,500 car parts for ten years and also includes roadside assistance for one year and car rental fees of up to $35/day for 10 days. 

Like all the best car buying websites, Vroom heavily scrutinizes and inspects all of their used cars for sale, but since car trouble is both unexpected and guaranteed in life, it’s nice to know you won’t be left stranded when you need a tune-up or repair. 

Similar to Carvana, you can sell your used car to Vroom or trade it in towards a new-to-you used car from their site; all you have to do is enter your license plate number and answer a few simple questions about your car’s history and current performance for an immediate valuation good for 7 days or 250 miles, whatever comes first. Vroom is one of the best used car websites for anyone looking to get answers fast. 

Vroom, like Carvana, also has mixed reviews from past customers:

  • Consumer Affairs says that on the positive side, this car buying site offers lightly-used, high-end vehicles at reasonable prices.
  • Satisfied customers say their experiences were seamless, with one verified customer calling their experience with the Vroom car sales team “the best car buying experience [they’ve] ever had!”
  • Those who’ve had less-than-ideal interactions with this car buying site report delays and difficulty reaching customer service representatives.

The Bottomline 

Ultimately, when looking for the best used car websites, finding a site that pleases everyone will present a challenge. Vroom offers used vehicles of all makes and models, and as with any used car purchase, consumers have to do a bit of research on KBB.com to find the Kelly Blue Book values and assess for themselves if buying cars online is the right move for them.  

Buying Cars Online from CarMax

The CarMax vetting process includes a 125+ point inspection on every used vehicle they list, making them one of the best used car websites for reliable vehicles. They even say on their website that nearly 15 hours is spent replacing, fixing, and detailing cars they list so each car feels like new. If you purchase your new set of wheels from this car buying site, note the following:

  • CarMax offers a 30-day window to decide if your car is right for you;
  • All cars come with a 90-day or 4,000 mile warranty, whichever comes first;
  • Option to shop their nationwide inventory online, in-store, or any combination of the two.

Many satisfied CarMax customers shared in their Consumer Affairs reviews that CarMax gave them higher payouts on vehicles they were trading in, which is good to know if you’re trying to swap your current car in for an upgrade. They also reported CarMax to be accommodating, shipping cars from nationwide locations just so potential customers could take a test drive – now that’s service.

Some less-satisfied customers reported difficulty with particular CarMax locations or a specific manager, but we didn’t find any negative reports about shopping online.

The Bottomline 

CarMax has a wide variety of used vehicles to choose from, making them one of the best used car websites for shoppers who want options. Their warranty and inspection standards stack up with the competition, and if there is a brick-and-mortar CarMax location near you, that could be an added perk – or detriment – depending on the location.

Buying Cars Online from Autotrader

Autotrader makes shopping for a vehicle on their car buying site simple by allowing you to search by make, model, and price – which most sites do – but Autotrader also allows you to browse only certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles and compare manufacturers’ CPO warranties – a nice perk that doesn’t come with non-certified used car purchases. 

From Acura to Volvo, Autotrader has an impressive spread of available vehicles, but their website is lacking information about their vetting process or available coverage plans despite being chock-full of blog posts about all things car-related.

Reviews of Autotrader.com do point to it being one of the best used car websites, however, with many satisfied customers who shared their positive experiences purchasing cars via the site. There are some negative reviews as well, but most of these are from people attempting to sell their car and getting bombarded with scammy messages from people pretending to be interested in a car purchase.

The Bottomline

Autotrader.com is a prime car buying site for anyone interested in certified pre-owned vehicles and the ability to compare and contract manufacturer warranties on them. Each individual vehicle listing will tell you the accident report and about any pertinent recalls, but there’s no blanket statement on the quality of cars offered through Autotrader.com.

Buying Cars Online from CarGurus

As the self-proclaimed “largest online car marketplace” boasting over 5 million car listings, CarGurus is one of the best used car websites around. They aid consumers in recognizing great value through their proprietary Instant Market Value tool, helping shoppers know if a car listed is overpriced or a good deal. The company website touts values of transparency and a customer-first mindset, which isn’t always the case when dealing with used-car salespeople. 

Satisfied customers agree about the positive aspects of this car buying site. Consumer affairs reviews reported customer satisfaction based on the following:

  • CarGurus is easy to use;
  • Their site includes a wide variety of reasonably-priced used cars; 
  • There are many cars on the site with low mileage.

Negative reviews mentioned CarFax reports mismatching the facts about vehicles purchased, so as with any used car purchase, do some of your own homework before signing any binding agreements.

The Bottomline

CarGurus is also a great car buying site for browsing certified, pre-owned vehicles, and if variety is what you’re looking for, look no further than their vast collection of used cars for sale. They have user-friendly search filters to help you find the vehicle you’re looking for fast, even if you’re not sure what that is yet!

Hearst Newspapers participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites.

Pamela Mahler is an E-Commerce Writer for Local Commerce at Hearst Newspapers. Email her at pamela.mahler@hearst.com.