Everyone knows cars aren’t getting any cheaper. But if you’re a savvy buyer you could save thousands of dollars on your next car. Although 59 car buying resources seems excessive, knowing just half of them could save you big money!
You’ll find below some of the most popular and helpful resources for buying a car.
Table of Contents:
Car Review YouTube Channels
Calculators, Loan Finders, Insurance Shoppers, and Credit Checkers
Articles, Tips, Checklists, and Guides
General Car Websites and Blogs
Car Buying Apps
Smartphones are just one tool that’s made buying a car easier. These apps are a great place to start when buying a car. There are so many that it just comes down to preference when deciding which one to use.
Cars.com: One of the oldest and most trusted players in the industry. The app is easy to use and has plenty of information to ensure you’re making the best decision.
CarMax: This is the best app for used vehicles hands down. You’ll have access to their nationwide inventory of cars, trucks, and SUVs. Some features shave off time at your CarMax lot.
AutoTrader: One of the largest vehicle inventories available. You’re able to search for new, used, and certified used cars from dealers and private sellers.
Carvana: Carvana is known for it’s vending machine approach to car sales (it’s amazing). Their app gives you access to their expansive inventory and provides plenty of tools to help you. They also give you a week to test a vehicle to decide if it’s right for you!
CarGurus: This app gets it done in all areas. CarGurus’s search functionality, filters, valuable insights, and deal analysis solidify its placement in this list.
TrueCar: TrueCar is another great app for finding the best possible price on the cars you’re interested in. They also offer some competitive savings figures and incentives you’ll want to consider.
Shift: While relatively new to the industry, Shift has completely redefined buying and selling a car. Shift streamlined the whole car-buying process. They’ll bring the car to you to test drive it and deliver it once you buy it.
eBay Motors: Since it’s eBay, you’re able to find more than just vehicles for sale. Nevertheless, their app makes it extremely easy to list a vehicle for sale and find one you’re looking to purchase.
AutoList: Another great app for buying a car is Autolist. It was included in a top 10 best car-buying apps article by CNET. Fun Fact, Autolist was acquired by CarGurus on Jan 16, 2020.
Fair: Like Shift, Fair is a unique car-buying app. Instead of being limited to leasing and financing options, Fair provides a sort of long-term car-sharing solution. Find a car, sort out the terms, and then have it delivered to you. Once the term is over, they’ll pick it up from you.
Car Buying Websites
Many of the apps above come from their respective websites. However, there’re plenty of car-buying websites that don’t necessarily have an app, or the website version just happens to be better than the app.
Vroom: Vroom is overall a great car-buying resource. While they do have an app, it’s fairly new so you’ll probably have a better experience with their website. Anyway, Vroom’s simple process and impressive used inventory secure it a spot in this list.
AutoTempest: If you’re having a hard time choosing one of the apps listed above, use AutoTempest. AutoTempest aggregates all the listings from many of those apps and more. This ensures you get the best deal for the car you’re looking to buy.
Kelly Blue Book: KBB is a tried-and-tested car-buying website. The site is packed full of helpful tools and resources that make car-buying less stressful. It’s the all-in-one car-buying resource.
Autobytel: Autobytel is more than just a car-buying website. You’ll find car reviews, tips, and all sorts of auto-information. Once you made your decision, search for your car with Autobytel to find the best deals.
Edmunds: Overall, Edmunds is a very clean website. Edmunds helps you find the best deals on new used cars. Also, be sure to check out their car reviews and the other car-buying resources they offer.
CarSoup: Their simple interface makes it easy to search for the car you want. CarSoup’s trusted dealers present the best deals near you.
NowCar: NowCar makes searching, customizing, and all the car-buying research easy. You’ll never have to deal with a salesperson or dealership, and you can get your new car delivered!
TRED: With partnerships like CarFax and FedEx, TRED makes it a breeze to shop and get your next car. TRED cuts out fees associated with dealerships and promises to deliver the best deals.
CarsDirect: CarsDirect allows you to search for used and new vehicles. You’ll also find plenty of free tips, advice, and news.
Cars & Bids: If you’re familiar with the popular car-reviewer and YouTuber Doug Demuro, you should also be familiar with Cars & Bids. Demuro’s marketplace enables you to bid on modern and classic cars!
Although car-buying resources like Carvana make buying a car easy, there are certain aspects you should not avoid. Below are some tools that’ll help you research safety information on new and used vehicles.
FuelEconomy.gov: You can search for any vehicle on this website and find accurate fuel economy data.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: Reference NHTSA’s database to discover safety issues or recalls for vehicles.
National Insurance Crime Bureau: NICB’s free VINCheck service allows to pull a report entailing whether a vehicle has been stolen or reported as a salvage vehicle.
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety: IIHS evaluates and publishes safety reports on vehicles. Simply search for a vehicle to find IIHS’s ratings or sift through their TOP SAFETY PICKs.
CarFax: If you’re willing to spend some money and can provide a license plate number or VIN, CarFax will return a comprehensive report on a vehicle.
Car Review YouTube Channels
If you cannot test drive a car or just want more information about a certain vehicle, YouTube car-review videos are a great way to learn more about a car. Below are some of my personal favorite YouTubers and vehicle-focused channels.
Doug Demuro: Demuro regularly reviews a wide variety of vehicles. He’s a corky car-enthusiast and has a substantial viewer base (3.87 million subscribers and growing). Demuro’s videos are great because he breaks down the vehicle then rates and compares it to the competitors.
Raiti’s Rides: Joe Raiti is another car-reviewer and enthusiast. His channel is great because he reviews many of the popular and in-demand makes and models. Whereas some channels focus on exotic supercars, Raiti’s embraces the vehicles most of us can afford.
AutoBytel: Not only is AutoBytel a great website to purchase a car from; they also make amazing car-review YouTube videos. The cars are reviewed and test-driven by multiple “road-test editors”. Their videos help buyers make informed decisions about their next car.
Carwow: Carwow is my favorite car-review YouTube channel! It’s hosted by motoring journalist Mat Watson. Although Mat’s car-reviews are phenomenal, it’s also fun to watch some of the drag-races and tug-of-war videos they produce. The company is based in the UK however, so most of the vehicles tend to be foreign. Nevertheless, Carwow is a great car-buying resource.
TheStraightPipes: Last by not least, TheStraightPipes. The channel is hosted by Yuri and Jakub. Like the other channels, these two automotive journalists review heaps tons of vehicles. Yuri and Jakub’s input on each vehicle is unique and it’s refreshing to have two opinions in each video.
Car Buying Calculators, Loan Finders, Insurance Shoppers, and Credit Checkers
These tools will help you find the best loans available, or help you understand your price range. Knowing your credit score or already having an auto loan makes car-buying that much easier.
Car Affordability Calculator: Money Under 30’s car affordability calculator helps you understand exactly how much car you should choose to bite off. Also, you can assert whether you’re financing or paying in cash.
Affordability Calculator (Edmunds): Although Money Under 30’s calculator works perfectly, it won’t hurt to use Edmunds. I suggest using them both to help you discern just how much car you can afford.
Buy vs. Lease Calculator: Depending on the car it may make more sense to lease or vise versa. This Money Under 30 calculator helps buyers to see the outcomes of each option.
Auto Loan Calculator: Bankrate’s auto loan calculator approximates monthly payments based on the conditions of your loan.
Lendingtree: Lendingtree’s auto loan tool makes it easy to compare rates from multiple vendors. It’s comprehensive, simple, and free!
Bankrate: Whereas Lendingtree’s tool asks a series of questions, Bankrate’s only requires a few articles of information.
The Zebra: The Zebra’s insurance tool helps shoppers compare insurance quotes quickly and easily.
Gabi: Gabi is another option to compare and buy auto insurance.
Credit Karma: Get your free credit report without affecting your score.
Experian: Another free option to check your credit score with insights that help you understand your creditworthiness.
Deals and Incentives Finder: This tool made by Edmunds finds rebates and incentives based on the make of the car you’re looking to buy.
Articles, Tips, Checklists, and Guides
Knowing the unwritten rules, rules of thumb, or secrets (if you will) to car buying a car will help you make the best possible decision. Look through these car-buying resources to prepare yourself for the big day.
8 Best Times to Buy a Car: This article by U.S. News outlines some of the best times you can buy a car.
Leasing vs. Buying a New Car: Consumer Reports thoroughly explains the pros and cons of buying and leasing a vehicle.
Compare Costs: Buy New Car vs. Used?: Phillip Reed, an automotive expert, lays out the nuances to buying new and used cars.
How to Buy a Car: Read this guide to get a general set of steps for buying a vehicle.
5 Tips For Buying A Car The Smart Way: Leverage some of the helpful tips when buying your next car.
12 Tips for Negotiating With a Car Dealer: Should you choose to buy from a dealership, these bargaining techniques could save you some money!
Used Car Buying Checklist: Buying a used car can come with some risks. Thus, coming prepared with your own checklist of shorts could save you from buying a lemon.
Car Insurance Frequently Asked Questions: Check out Allstate’s car insurance FAQ page to answer some questions you have about auto insurance.
10 Common Mistakes Car Buyers: Set yourself apart from the average car-buyer by avoiding these mistakes
Why — and How — to Get Preapproved for a Car Loan: Prequalifying for auto comes with its benefits. Check out NerdWallet’s article to understand why.
Certified Pre-Owned Cars: What You Need to Know: Although CPO vehicles generally cost more, they’re safer options compared to just regular used cars.
What to Expect When Buying a High-Mileage Car: Here’s some information to consider when buying a high-mileage vehicle.
General Car Websites and Blogs
Gone are the days when car magazines were the source for car news. These sites are anything and everything cars. They make a great car-buying resource as they are outlets for the latest news, trends, buying-advice, reviews, and everything else car-related.
Bonus: Other Ways to Buy a Car
If none of these ways to buy a car jumped out at you, there are a few more options available. Although these are bonus ways to buy a car (defined by this article), they are just as viable as the other options presented in this article.
Wholesale Stores: Warehouse stores like Costco and Sam’s Club offer an auto buying program. Members will get access to special savings on new and used vehicles.
Rental Car Sales: Companies like Hertz, Avis, and Enterprise sell their used and CPO vehicles at great prices.
What do You Think?
I hope these resources will make your car buying process go smoothly.
Now I open the floor for you to chime in:
Have you recently bought a car? If so, how’d it go? What resources did or didn’t you use?
Is this article missing a resource that absolutely NEEDS to be included?
Simply leave a comment below so we can chat.