Best Car Shopping Websites and Online Resources

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2010-09-208

Well it’s finally that time. We’re at the point where we’re thinking about selling our car and we’re feeling like we’re ready to replace our trusty Honda Odyssey, which is getting a little long in the tooth. We can tell that it’s the right time, because we’re finding that the visits to the mechanic and dealer are happening a little too frequently for our comfort. It’s got almost 150,000 miles in it and so it should still have some good resale value. It’s been a great van to us and we bought it right around the time my first child was born. Eight years later, it’s time for a newer model, and we’re in the market for a new family vehicle.

And you know what that means. We’re checking out some car buying websites and going online for some virtual car shopping (here’s how to buy a car online). So should we buy a new or used car? I’m going to check out a few select sites to give us some ideas for our next purchase. I’m hoping to find something that won’t give me too much sticker shock. Allow me to share some of the research I’m doing at the moment. Here’s where I’m starting my search:

Best Online Resources & Websites For Car Shopping

1. has a variety of resources to help drivers, including buyer’s guides for new cars, used cars, auto insurance quotes, auto loan quotes, and more. For instance, you can seek out your next used car by make, year, class, price, or mpg, or search classifieds.

There are also sections for those interested in forthcoming models and concept cars; I liked the enthusiasm of the Future Honda section. The site has a lot of content: Auto Enthusiast Central offers the scoop on auto shows, racing, and news. A month ago, I accompanied a relative to get a close look at some Yamaha motorcycles at a dealership, so I can see how the Yamaha articles here can provide a good supplement to the next trip we take.

Several useful items are available in the Car Research Tools section, including a loan payment calculator, a tool to help you figure out your car’s trade-in value, and a way to help you determine which locations offer the cheapest gas prices. There are even widgets you can install on your desktop or web page to monitor gas prices, admire the latest photos from Motor Trend, and more.

Check out’s web site for more car resources. Here’s where you can get an auto loan quote through Automotive.

In addition, the site features a community forum and blogs. In the forum, you can read posted questions about car maintenance, discuss your favorite vehicle, or read user reviews. I even came across a section for GPS and navigation units, which is perfect for me, since I’m so “navigationally challenged”.


If you want a one-stop solution to finding a used vehicle and securing financing for it, DriveTime might be able to help you out. DriveTime describes itself as “a used car dealership for those with bad credit.” So this may be the right place to go if you want BOTH auto loan financing as well as a car to call your own. Once you’re approved for a loan via the online application process, you can select the vehicle that interests you. This site features 79 dealerships across the nation in cities like Los Angeles, Dallas, and Atlanta.

To find the vehicle you want, you can search by make and model, or you can select the type, year, and color you’d like. I looked for a particular van with a given color but they were out of stock. But modifying my search to another color yielded 32 different vehicles categorized by year, make/model, color, and dealership location. This would be particularly useful if we decide that we’re open to any kind of make or model.

If you’re interested in working with DriveTime, here’s where you can start out with the financing process.

Also, you can sign up to receive a free vehicle history report for the type of car you like. You’ll just need to provide your contact information to get going.

You don’t have to be afraid of lemons, because DriveTime puts its vehicles through a 53-point inspection and provides a limited warranty.


Like, offers drivers dozens of ways to find their next vehicle, to talk about their current drive, or to stay current on related topics. I like Edmunds, as I find a lot of great information on their site on new cars, used cars, and certified pre-owned vehicles.

If you’ve ever wondered about the true cost to own your vehicle, this site can help you discover the answer. Just purely as an example, I checked up on the 2008 Hyundai Sonata and learned that factors such as depreciation, taxes and fees, fuel, maintenance, repairs, financing, and insurance can impact the true price to own a vehicle. In other words, I’m not just making a simple car payment.

For free price quotes and vehicle information, you can check out

In addition, you can seek out tips and advice and read reviews. You can also find out more about car loans and insurance or peruse the forums. The Answers section lets you ask brief questions or view answers to other posted questions, sort of like an automotive Twitter.

When you want to find out about local services, you can find car dealers or auto repair shops by entering your city and state or ZIP code. The Google map that pops up will show you exactly where to go. Some of the listings even have user reviews attached.


If you live in a part of the country that tends to get an annoying amount of vehicle-denting hail and turbulent weather, you may want to check out a used car’s history before you buy it. AutoCheck is an Experian company that lets you input a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to get the reports you need.
A report can yield useful information such as past problems a used car has had, including damage from weather-related events like flooding or hail. If the odometer’s been rolled back, the report might be able to warn you of problems before you buy the vehicle.

Also, you can see if the vehicle’s been in service for police or taxi use, if it’s been in an accident, or if it’s ever been stolen or used as a fleet vehicle. If you’re ever pulled over by a cop, you don’t want them to be finding out things about your car that you don’t already know about. You can be spared any kind of hassle due to a questionable car history if you decide to use AutoCheck before purchasing a used car.

For $24.99, you can get unlimited reports for 60 days. A single vehicle history report is $14.99, while TitleGuard plus unlimited reports for 60 days cost $49.99.

While there’s some outlay required to use AutoCheck, it may be worth the peace of mind you’ll get from knowing that you’re buying a used vehicle with a clean record. Here’s where to get more information on AutoCheck.

Parting Thoughts

I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll come across a car that’s fairly affordable and that’s good value. Of course, this is what most car shoppers are looking for anyway. My spouse wants to try leasing, but I’ve explained to him it’s not the cheapest way to go. As Suze Orman has said — go for the “new used”: these are autos and vehicles that are lightly used but whose prices have already taken a bit of a hit (thanks to depreciation). Hopefully, we’ll find something that catches our eye soon.

Copyright © 2010 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Nathan George September 21, 2010 at 7:14 am

Thanks for the online resources, there really are a lot of options out there these days. I think if I get 150k out of my car, I’ll be happy as well.

Curt @ IT Support September 21, 2010 at 9:34 am

Thanks, useful guide for when my very old, tired car finally dies!!!

Mike September 21, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Edmunds is a good site, they offer a very good personal finance tip when calculating true cost of ownership: opportunity cost. This is simply the money you would have earned if you didn’t use it to buy the car. It helps you to realize that keeping your old car longer not only saves but makes you money.

Hummer Limo September 22, 2010 at 2:42 am

Finding online cars for sale is not the difficult job if you make good efforts in research work. There are many advantages for going online in search of trucks, like finding a variety of cars of your choice, saving time as well as money and so on. There are sites which have the potential to give you the right kind of information in order to find the right kind of car.

Mrs. Accountability September 25, 2010 at 12:53 pm

We went through a period where all our older vehicles were needing something every month but in this last year we haven’t had hardly any problems at all. My 1996 Nissan Pathfinder just rolled over 317,000 and I’m still putting 300 miles minimum on it every week. My husband and I were just commenting on this the other day, wondering which vehicle will break down first. My PF did just lose its air conditioning and I’m trying to make it through the rest of the summer and wait to fix it for next summer. It’s finally cooled down a teensy bit. It’s not too horrible driving an hour home in 100°F weather. Anything over that and I’m kind of miserable.

UsedCarValuation October 5, 2010 at 1:44 pm

When searching for a car online you have so many more options than visiting multiple car dealerships .Think of all of the time you save doing your research online. Once you nail down several options then it is time to visit the selling parties.

Christian Gabriel C. December 22, 2010 at 10:48 am

Must ad this to my bookmarks alongside the others of the same category. I think that for the UK, there are only a few alternatives for related services.

Pat February 9, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Great list. I’ve used and also have had good success with

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