By Paul Gorski
This article is a follow-up to my “Tech-Friendly: Used car buying research tools” from the June 4, 2014, edition (http://rockrivertimes.com/2014/06/04/tech-friendly-used-car-buying-research-tools/). Technically, this is the third in a series of articles about used car buying tips. The first article was Allen Penticoff’s “Mr. Green Car: Buying a used car from a person” from the May 14-20, 2014, edition (http://rockrivertimes.com/2014/05/13/mr-green-car-buying-a-used-car-from-a-person/), where Allen focused on his experience buying cars from private parties and not used car dealers. I will focus here on two websites that help you find and price used cars offered by used car dealers.
A representative from CarGurus.com read my first article and asked me to mention the CarGurus.com website if I write a follow-up article. Well, I had not planned to write a follow-up, until later that same night when I saw a commercial for TrueCars.com. CarGurus.com and TrueCars.com offer listings of new and used cars and supposedly fair prices for those cars. Remember, you may get better pricing when purchasing from a private party (a person). However, CarGurus.com and TrueCars.com show you the current high, low and current median pricing for cars like the one you are researching, which may help alleviate fears of paying too much. You should double-check those prices by visiting Edmunds.com, KBB.com and nadaguides.com.
While CarGurus.com and TrueCar.com marketing reps are probably waiting for my full review of their loan calculator, contact dealer e-mail notification and other online tools. I found those items rather boring, as they really do not help me research the car or determine a fair price. That said, CarGurus.com shows whether your desired car has been a hot seller recently. This might inspire you to buy now, rather than wait. Also, depending on how long the car has been listed, and this is cool, CarGurus.com displays how many days the car has been on the dealer lot and if there have been any price adjustments. If a car has been on a dealer’s lot for more than 30 days, and you see the price dropping, you might be able to get a better deal. That is very valuable information going into price negotiations. Haggle away!
I am not endorsing any single used car research website — be informed and use them all. There is no shortage of local used car dealers either, and most of them have their own websites. I encourage you to visit and support local used-car dealers when possible. If you have any other used-car buying suggestions, post your comments online, or write a letter to the editor. Thank you.
Paul Gorski (www.paulgorski.com) has been a technology manager nearly 20 years, specializing in workflow solutions for printing, publishing and advertising computer users. Originally destined to be a chemist, his interest in computers began in college when he wrote a program to analyze data from lab instruments he hard-wired to the back of an Apple Iie.
Posted June 17, 2014