Buying a used car online

I have periodically looked at buying a used car online but I’ve never done it.

I think it’s pretty clear that in order to do this it is essential to get the car checked out by a local garage, probably get a Carfax report, and be sure that the seller is who he says he is.

Is there anything I’m leaving out? I’m looking at one right now that looks like a great deal. The seller says he’s going through some third-party service to arrange payment, but I don’t know how that works.

Has anyone here done this? How did it work out? Any words of advice, caution, or encouragement?



I would be leery of buying anything used on line. A car is a very personal purchase, and it’s alot like marrying a mail order bride.

I would look for cars online in your general area and then go and test the car(s) that look(s) the most promising.

Good luck!

If it’s in another state, keep in mind that things will probably get more complicated as far as sales tax, registration, temporary tags, and things like that.

Two big warning flags here “Great deal” and “going through some third-party service to arrage payment”. A favorite scam these days is to advertise a used car for a great price, then have the buyer wire money to them through some “third-party service”. Money’s gone, no car. Some even go to the extent of setting up fake ebay pages. Be very wary! Only pay money in person, in exchange for the car.

It’s more easily justified if you can’t find that car locally, like an exotic or classic. I don’t understand the logic of buying a common car on line unless you are just checking on inventory at local dealers. Even if you are buying a classic, you still need to satisfy yourself that the seller is straight with you and that the local mechanic can be trusted. If the seller is near you, it’s just another way to advertise, like the newspaper.