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Tuesday, May 17th
Edmunds knows cars. You'll have a hard time finding any other site for buying used cars that goes the extra mile (pun intended). For example, their editorial team test drives more than 300 vehicles a year, driving a half-million miles to provide in-depth reviews (even videos). You can put Edmunds' 50+ years of expertise to work for you as you decide which car is best for you.
Straightforward vehicle search
Ready to find your next vehicle? Click on the "Used" tab and then choose how you want to search: by make/model, type, or price. Next, click the button to indicate if you prefer listings of vehicles that are in-store or that can be purchased online for home delivery (or don't click either one if you'd like to see results for both). Once you've entered your zip code you'll see all of the matches near you.
The filters you'd expect
From there, feel free to use the filters button if you've got further preferences. You can choose color, safety features, vehicle history, package options, and more to help narrow down your search. Finally, the "sort by" dropdown is helpful for prioritizing whatever you want to see first: lowest price, lowest mileage, year, date listed, or value.
Not as much detail provided
There's not a ton of information in the basic results list. You'll see price, distance from the zip code you entered, mileage, value assessment, and a photo. But, once you click on a used car that interests you, you'll be able to see more - some of the features and specs, detailed analysis of the price, how long the listing has been on Edmunds and any price changes in that time, and so on. We would have liked to see greater details in the features/specs department, and we were disappointed that prospective car buyers only get a limited vehicle history through AutoCheck unless they pay for a full history report. Many of Edmunds' rivals offer complimentary reports from CARFAX right on their vehicles' listings, so this drops Edmunds in our rankings.
See consumer reviews on dealerships and car makes/models
We like that used car listings on Edmunds incorporate both dealership and vehicle ratings/reviews from customers. We thought it was interesting that those didn't necessarily line up with buyer feedback in other places, but that's not something we'd worry about.
Terrific reputation as a research tool
You won't find too many negative comments about Edmunds. The Better Business Bureau gives this platform an "A+" and accreditation, with only three complaints filed there in the three years prior to this evaluation. Most people say that Edmunds is an excellent option for researching cars prior to purchase: they're informative, detailed, and accurate without being pushy.
Cars listed might not be available
Besides the lack of a free, comprehensive vehicle history report, Edmunds also comes up a little short when it comes to vehicle availability. You'll either have to fill out the online form on the Edmunds site to send in an inquiry, or you'll have to visit the site using the dealer's link waaaaaaaay down at the bottom of the listing. That's not uncommon, but on one vehicle we liked we saw that right in the featured photo, the dealer had attached a "pending sale" banner. Buying a used car can be frustrating, and having to take that many extra steps to then find out it wasn't actually available for purchase? Not our favorite.
Great for research, just okay for car-buying
Edmunds is a world-class resource for learning more about any cars you're considering for your next purchase. No matter where you buy your used car, we recommend you stop here to get the most in-depth information out there. But, should you rely on this service to actually connect you with your car once you've chosen? It's not the worst thing you could do by any means, but other platforms do a better job of giving you up-to-date listings and thorough vehicle histories too.
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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