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Saturday, June 25th
Headquartered in Chicago, Cars was launched in 1998 to connect car shoppers with sellers, primarily dealerships. With over 50,000 cars added to this site daily, it's a great way to find your next used car in a time when pre-owned vehicles can be hard to come by.
Searching is easy
To find your used car match here, you'll click either Make or Body Style to start. Other dropdowns include preferred distance, max price and location, or use the "advanced search" link to get really specific with mileage, deal rating, drivetrain, transmission, and interior/exterior colors. From there, your results are easy to sort by price, mileage and so forth. Plus, you can use the filters to narrow it down even further - in case you've got convenience or entertainment features in mind, or your car needs to have third-row seats.
Use the "matchmaker" if you need help
Totally unsure what you need? Cars has a fun tool they sometimes refer to as "Matchmaker" ; you might have seen humorous commercials showing how people and their vehicles "met" on this platform. You can get there by using the dropdowns under "Shop by what matters most" . Select the overall body style (car, truck, SUV, van) and your max price. Next, you'll use some sliders to indicate what matters to you, from roominess and cargo area to ride comfort and technology. We found our recommended vehicles to be absolutely spot on, and it was super-convenient to be able to click either on model details or local inventory to get the ball rolling.
Excellent info at a glance
We're very enthusiastic about the quality of the listings on Cars. Scrolling through your used car matches, you'll see at a glance exactly where each car is located, the price and mileage, a rating of whether or not it's a good deal (and a dollar amount for how it compares), a link to the free CARFAX report, the rating of the dealership, and quick-access buttons for calling or checking the car's availability. What else could you ask for?
Super attention to detail
When you look at a specific car's listing, all of your questions will probably be answered. From dealer ratings to customer reviews on the make and model itself, you'll be well-equipped to decide if you want to take the next step and contact the dealership. It's every bit as thorough as what you'll find if you see the vehicle's listing on the dealer website, plus you've got Cars' Deal Gauge that shows you how it compares with similar cars for sale. Plus, you can either use the Cars online form to ask about availability, or click the link to see the car right on the seller's website. Cars earns our appreciation for not making people do the guesswork to figure out how to reach the dealership directly.
Car buyers love this site
Cars gets plenty of love reputation-wise. The Better Business Bureau gives this platform a perfect "A+" rating and accreditation, and we were impressed to see just nine complaints registered there in the past three years. More than 80% of Cars users give it a 4- or 5-star rating, and people are especially happy with the way this service helps them compare different makes and models of vehicles and narrow down their options - and then see what's actually available near them.
Top-rated resource for buying used cars
The only reason Cars doesn't earn our first-place ranking is because you're still at the mercy of individual dealerships once you've chosen your car here. Cars doesn't guarantee that you'll have a good experience once you've left their site and moved on to the negotiation process. Still, that's a really minor issue. Cars is an excellent way to save time and hassle when buying used cars, and we give this service one of our highest ratings.
No matter what, your first step should always be research. You should determine exactly what's going to fit your needs (or your wants!). Do you have a particular make and model in mind, or are features going to be king regardless of manufacturer? Whether you're all about safety or you feel the need for speed, it's well worth your time to dig into the details of price, reliability and availability, especially when used car inventory is at an all-time low nationwide.
Fortunately, there are many websites that help you do just that - and then make it possible for you to find your perfect new-to-you ride. Some of these platforms even let you buy your car online and have it delivered right to your house. Before you start worrying about the safety of such vehicles, rest assured that most companies selling used cars will include a detailed, independently-verified history report right in the car's listing.
You can see how many owners it's had, any accidents reported, and sometimes the service history detailing oil changes and other routine maintenance. Buying used cars online is a huge time-saver too: you don't have to make a long drive to a dealership hoping they'll have something on the lot that you'll like, and you can avoid a lot of the "pushy salesperson" experience.
Most sites that sell pre-owned vehicles also have tools for determining how much you can afford and prequalifying for financing - which is one less thing you'll have to do in person (assuming you don't take the 100% online route from the get-go).
Which site should you use for buying used cars? There are a lot of similarities among them, and among the highest-rated services you can choose fairly freely without worrying about missing out. But, here are some things to consider about any used car website you're looking at:
TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked the best online services for buying used cars. We're confident that this information will help you get your next pre-owned set of wheels at a price you'll love!
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