A few decades ago, the idea of buying a car online seemed out of this world. And today, not many people know there are numerous websites you can go on and browse between new and used car models, just like when browsing for clothes. Car buying is still looked at as one of the last standing industries where negotiations take place. However, online car retailers are trying to change the game and give people the opportunity to order a new whip straight from the comfort of their home.


Before you head to the checkout and click “place order,” there are a few things you need to know about when buying a car online. Below, you’ll find a list of the pros and cons of buying a car online.


Every car has its own unique traits and qualities. And today, there are dozens of popular car brands that have hundreds of different makes, models, and colors to choose from. With so many options, it may be hard to sort between what you like and don’t like in a car. Online, however, you have the option of looking at multiple cars at once to compare features, instead of having to walk around a car lot for hours inspecting each car. Not only that, buying a car online has these follow advantages as well:

Saves Time

Because you get to browse online, you don’t need to waste time driving from dealership to dealership. Additionally, when at a dealership, a dealer will try to waste your time and keep you in their showroom all day. They’ll pull tactics such as, “we lost the keys,” and “we have to retrieve that car from an offsite lot.” These measures are used to tire you out, which might make you more susceptible to agreeing to buy a car you’re not 100 percent sure about. Online, you won’t have to spend all day at one dealership. Instead, you’ll be able to navigate through multiple online dealerships at your own pace.

Saves Money

Buying a car online will save you money as well. You’ll save money on gas by not having to drive to out of town, or even out of state, to a dealership, and will also allow you to compare prices between different cars online. Some online car dealerships even allow you to sell a used car online and put that money towards your new car payment.

Avoid Pesky Car Salespeople

Just the idea of going to a car dealership in person can make someone's palms sweat. Visualizing how you plan to negotiate a fair price and say, “no” to a dealer bombarding you with information can send shivers down your spine. Negotiating is tough, and online car buying takes that fear away. If your goal is to not say a single word to a person when buying a car, shopping online is the way to go.

Larger Inventory

Online car dealers have a much larger inventory than brick and mortar dealerships. An on-the-ground dealership only has so much space to fit their car inventory, which leads them to make tough decisions on which colors, models, and styles they want. Online dealerships, however, are able to show you every model, make, and color, as well as additional features, such as blind-spot detectors and back seat DVD screens.



Buying a car online has its drawbacks as well. By not seeing a car in person, you may not receive what you were expecting, especially if you decide to buy a used car. Here are some disadvantages to buying a car online:

You Can’t Test Drive

By far, the biggest disadvantage of buying a car online is that you can’t schedule a test drive. On paper, a car may look like the golden chariot Helios used to bring the sun up each day. Yet, when it’s delivered to your driveway, you may realize it’s not exactly what you expected. It may be a bumpy ride, have uncomfortable seats, and not enough legroom. Depending on what’s important to you, buying a car online can lead to major regret.

Possibility of Getting Scammed

Your fifth-grade teacher told you a thousand times and we’ll tell you again: don’t believe everything you see on the internet. The internet is a wonderful place that allows you to access information right from your fingertips. Unfortunately, there are people out there who use this to their advantage to scam unsuspecting shoppers like you. Some online websites may look completely authentic but end up being a scam that can steal thousands of dollars from you.


When buying a car online, look at reviews of the website and see if the company is registered with the Better Business Bureau.

Harder to Negotiate

While negotiating a car price is intimidating, it can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. By not meeting a dealer face-to-face, you end up paying what you see online instead of putting your negotiating powers to use. You also won’t be able to bring your mechanic with you to inspect the car to determine if it runs like it’s supposed to.

Shipping Fees

What many online car buyers fail to take into consideration is the shipping fee of the car. At first, many online car dealers don’t list the shipping fee, only the car price. Then, when it’s time to head to the checkout, you’ll notice a pretty expensive shipping fee, taxes, and other fees. So, when it’s time to budget for your new car, make sure you keep this expense in mind.

Time to Process Your Payment

Now that you know all there is to know about shopping for a car online, it’s time to explore the internet, find a car, and process your payment! Then, all you have to do is wait a week or two and you’ll come home to a shiny new car waiting for you in your driveway.