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True Car Review

Monday, December 5th

2022 Used Car Site Reviews

True Car Review 3 Star Rating

True Car

3 Star Rating
  • "A+" rated and accredited by the BBB
  • Service refers you to local dealerships and online-only sales platforms, no private sales
  • Used as the platform for well-established car-buying services like Sam's Club and Navy Federal Credit Union
  • Good for doing research on used cars and the buying process

TrueCar got its start in 2005 as an automotive digital marketplace that aims to make it easy, transparent and efficient to buy used cars. While you can use this service directly as a consumer, you'll also find that it's the platform behind many well-known auto-buying programs offered through businesses like Sam's Club, American Express, and Navy Federal Credit Union.

Basic search capabilities

From the main used car page on TrueCar, choose whether you'd like to shop by brand, body type, or price range. Once you've entered your zip code, you'll get a list of results that you can further narrow down by price, mileage, model year and more, and then sort your matches by price, distance from your location, mileage, year, or newest listings.

Many different types of used car sellers

Your listings will include vehicles sold by large dealerships, small car lots, and even internet-only used car services (like the three you'll find in our other reviews). While TrueCar doesn't exactly highlight who the sellers are, you can usually figure it out on your own from the listings - and you can use that to go directly to the dealership or website if you like.

Missing some details

This site isn't as robust as its rivals with respect to the details they offer. For example, while the vehicles are listed according to whether they're a good deal, overpriced, and so on, we didn't find those evaluations to be accurate. For example, on one car we liked, it was just $50 below the average list price and yet was still classified as "great price" . You also get very limited vehicle history here - just a summary of the accidents reported, title, and number of owners, unless you pay for a full report from AutoCheck.

Best Used Car Sites

Still a good service for doing research

On the other hand, TrueCar is still a good option if you're doing research before you buy a used car. From reviews and rankings to shopping guides and other articles, you'll find plenty here to help you along.

Not the best reputation

TrueCar has had a pretty sturdy reputation in the past. The company is both "A+" rated and accredited by the Better Business Bureau, with less than a dozen complaints filed there in the year leading up to this evaluation. But, some of their more recent reviews elsewhere aren't as positive. 75% of people who use TrueCar give it a "great" or "excellent" rating - but do the math and you'll realize that means that a fourth of their users say it's "average" , "poor" , or flat-out "bad" .

Refusal to honor price

We're not sure if it's a factor of the current used car market, but more than a few people complained that the cars they were matched with on TrueCar weren't available anymore by the time they went to the dealer (even within 24 hours of setting up the appointment to go in and buy the vehicles). Other people said that the dealers refused to honor the TrueCar price once they went to the dealership in person. It's concerning to us that many of this service's comments within the last six months use the words "waste of time" or even "scam" .

Just okay for buying used cars

When you're just trying to get an overview of the used cars in your area, TrueCar isn't a horrible place to start - and it's even a decent way to compare multiple sites for buying used cars all at once. But is it the best resource out there? Not really. Plan on having to take a few extra steps beyond what you find on TrueCar before you're able to actually buy your next vehicle.

Where's the Best Place to Buy a Used Car Online?

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.

The Best Used Car Sites Compare Used Car Sites Compare Used Car Site Reviews What are the best Used Car Sites Best Used Car Site Reviews

Used Car Site FAQ

They say that a new car depreciates, or loses value, the second you drive it off the lot. That's true! When you buy a used car, you're getting a better value: not everyone can afford a brand-new car, but there are plenty of affordable "pre-owned" vehicles within most budgets.
There are pros and cons to each one. When you buy from a dealership, you usually get certain assurances: that the car has been inspected from top to bottom, maybe some fixes for minor items or even bigger ones like new tires or brakes, and the ability to return it within a certain timeframe if you don't like it or something malfunctions. However, you're paying for those perks: comparing apples-to-apples, a private sale will almost always be cheaper than getting the same car through a dealership.
Absolutely! There are many services that make it easy to find the car you want, and some of them will even bring the vehicle to you for a test drive and/or let you buy it online and have it delivered to your home. It's a great idea to do your research before you buy a used car, even if you're planning on going to a dealership.
As a buyer, you absolutely want an inspection before buying a used car from a private seller. Most private sale contracts are "as-is" , so unless you have a lot of automotive expertise, we don't recommend you try to determine for yourself if a car is road-worthy. A professional inspection can save you a lot of time and hassle if things aren't as they appear - or give you the peace of mind that you've found a great vehicle. If you're selling a used car, it may not be worth it to provide an inspection: your buyer(s) will probably want to have one done by a mechanic they trust, rather than taking your (mechanic's) word for it.
Yes! Selling your car online is a fantastic way to reach more potential buyers. You can add photos, provide a detailed description and contact information, and voila: you should have no shortage of interested customers, without having to put a "for sale" sign in the car window.
That depends on the site. You can often list your car for free, with premium "upgrades" if you want to add pictures, a car history report, or have your vehicle featured above others in your category.
Most sites serve as a go-between and don't guarantee that the car will sell - or that the car you buy will be problem-free. Be sure to read customer reviews of any used car service you're considering, and see if the Better Business Bureau has anything to say too.
There are almost too many to list! Any used car site that offers easy navigation with useful filters, tools that help you accurately gauge a vehicle's fair market value, and simple (and non-intrusive!) ways to connect with the vehicle sellers is a good choice. For extra reassurance, you can see if the BBB has given the used car service high marks for excellence.
Compare the Best Reviews

Continued from above...

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:

  • Types of Used Car Sellers. Are you interested in buying from a private seller or a small, lesser-known local car lot? Or are you more comfortable with a big-name dealership? Are you interested in an online-only experience? Some sites for buying used cars give you listings from all four types, while others specialize just in partnerships with dealers.
  • Research Tools. Not every platform gives you research tools, but there's no reason you can't use one site to gather information and another to actually find a car. If you're at the earlier stages of the buying process, you should at least start with a site that lets you see reviews and get an idea of the pros and cons of many different makes and models.
  • Detailed Information. The best sites give you lots of information - almost to the point of it feeling like overload. We prefer services that offer free, detailed vehicle history reports and are completely transparent about who is selling the car - without having to use a contact form and subject yourself to spammy texts and emails.

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!

The Best Reviews of Used Car Sites