6 Online Car Shopping Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

online car shopping

The COVID-19 pandemic is making it easier than ever to purchase cars online.

Individuals sellers and used car lots have been offering online car shopping and vehicle sales for years. Now, dealers and OEMs are getting in on the action, offering fully online purchasing pathways.

Have you been thinking about getting a new car but don’t want to head to the dealer? We want to lend you a hand, which is why we created this guide. Learn about the top mistakes online car buyers make, plus how to get around them.

1. Making a Purchase Without Doing Your Research

With the rise of car dealers’ digital sales pathways, the process of purchasing a car online is virtually identical to in-person buying. And as with making a face-to-face vehicle purchase, research is everything.

Look up reviews, watch test drive videos, and read about how to negotiate the best price before you buy. That way, you’ll ensure you’re getting the ultimate deal on your new car.

2. Focusing on Price Instead of Total Cost of Ownership

Getting a competitive deal is great. But when you’re laser-focused on the purchase price, you might forget what’s most important: total cost of ownership.

Calculating a car’s total cost of ownership gives you a more accurate picture of value, considering factors like gas mileage, repair costs, insurance, and excise taxes.

3. Paying for a Vehicle History Report

Vehicle history reports are excellent tools for learning about a car’s accident record. Services like CARFAX provide these reports for free. Save yourself the money and the trouble of purchasing your vehicle’s history, and request a free report instead.

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4. Not Test Driving Cars Before You Buy

Whether you’re dealing with an online dealer or an individual seller, the test drive is always critical. After all, you can’t tell if the engine sounds funny from a photo alone.

If you’re knowledgeable about cars, the test drive is also an excellent time to inspect the vehicle yourself.

5. Failing to Get an Independent Inspection

Don’t have the mechanical know-how to inspect a used car yourself? Then you need to pay an independent inspector to do it for you.

You may think you can trust a seller advertising “certified preowned” used cars for sale, but in the online world, you can never be too careful. Give yourself some peace of mind — hire a mechanic to give your prospective vehicle a once-over before you buy.

6. Purchasing a Vehicle With a No Return Policy

It used to be that once purchased, you couldn’t return a vehicle. Those days are over. Many companies now offer return policies for vehicles that don’t meet buyers’ expectations.

Go Online Car Shopping With Terry Subaru

You may not be able to leave home, but you can still go online car shopping. Use these six tips to ensure you don’t fall victim to the biggest online car buying mistakes.

Looking for a new or used Subaru in Lynchburg, VA? Terry Subaru is here to serve you, whether you want to buy your car online or at the dealership. Browse our online inventory now to find the car of your dreams without having to leave home.

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