Used car sites allow you to browse, compare, and even purchase used cars online from the comfort of home or even on the go from a mobile app. You can search by make, model, year, mileage, seller type, and more.
The best used car sites are easy to use, mobile-friendly, and have plenty of search criteria and filters to choose from. They also give you access to lots of inventory and save you from driving to multiple dealerships.
Best Overall : AutoTrader
AutoTrader is a reputable site that is easy to use, has robust search tools, and offers nationwide new and used cars for sale.
Advanced search criteria
Additional tools and industry news
No overall return policy
Shipping and delivery prices and terms vary
AutoTrader is a well-known online marketplace that offers new and used cars for sale nationwide. It doesn’t offer its own inventory but sells inventory from dealerships and private sellers. You can also trade in, sell or value your car, or search for nearby dealers and research upcoming models. In addition, third parties sell car insurance and you can check out the latest auto industry news.
AutoTrader provides no blanket return policy or standard car shipping or delivery because the individual sellers and dealers set those policies. It offers a large variety of search filters including distance, model year, color, heated seats, and more. You can find anything from a pre-owned affordable economy car to a high-end sports car convertible and everything in between.
Best on a Budget : CarGurus
CarGurus is a reputable car-buying site with tools for finding a good deal, nationwide inventory, and plenty of cars for shoppers on a budget.
Deal ratings show if you’re paying too much
Compare models and prices
Not as user friendly as other sites
Shipping and delivery prices and terms vary
Created by the co-founder of TripAdvisor in 2006, CarGurus' standout feature is its deal rating tool. It will show you if you’re getting a good deal, a fair deal, or a great deal. Basically, it compares vehicles so you don’t have to and it tells you if you’re paying too much. It lists other dealers' inventory nationwide and has a large selection of budget-conscious cars as well as more expensive models, sports cars, trucks, and SUVs.
CarGurus lists new and used cars and offers financing pre-approvals that only take a few minutes and won’t impact your credit score. Once pre-approved, you can see what your approximate monthly payment will be. The site also offers tools and tips for buying your first car and videos on the importance of your credit score when car shopping. Return policies, transportation, and delivery costs vary by dealer.
Best for Classic Cars : Hemmings
- Type of site: Classic cars and classic car parts
- Home Delivery: Varies by seller
- Returns: Varies by seller
Hemmings has a large database of classic cars for sale nationwide as well as classic car parts that may be difficult to find elsewhere.
Buy classic cars and classic car parts
Auction and buy it now format
Smaller inventory than other sites
Must contact sellers for shipping and returns
Hemmings started in 1954 as Hemmings Motor News in Illinois. Today, it’s based in Vermont and attends around 100 car events each year. It still offers publications that you can subscribe to as well as an online site for buying and selling classic cars, classic car parts, auctions, an online auction showroom, and buying tips.
Hemmings also offers online dealer showrooms, price guides, and services such as fabricating, mirror and headlight installation, and classic car appraisals. You can also find stories, events, and customer service information on the site. In addition, you can shop for merchandise online such as gifts, car gadgets, calendars, and more.
The cars sold on the site are sold by dealers and individual owners across the country. You can find affordable classic cars, collector items, and expensive rare cars, as well as classic car parts that you may need to fix or enhance your vehicle. Shipping, home delivery, and return policies vary based on the seller’s policies.
Best for Private Sales : OfferUp
OfferUp lets car buyers purchase cars from private sellers in their area and it can be used on your phone anytime with in-app messaging features.
Local search makes it easier to test drive a car
Make additional purchases on the app
Sellers and cars are not vetted
Return policies and shipping fees vary by seller
OfferUp is a neighborhood consumer-to-consumer marketplace that lists thousands of different types of items for sale. It is an app that can be downloaded on your smartphone or tablet and you can buy and sell used cars on it. It was initially released in 2011 and has headquarters in Bellevue, Washington.
When you sign up for an account, the site will show your current approximate location and find local deals near you. Buyers and sellers can be rated on each transaction so you know if the person is reliable, on time, etc. OfferUp is a good place to start if you want to buy a car directly from another person because you can message them directly on the app and then schedule a time to see the car in person and test drive it.
In addition to searching by category and distance, OfferUp has added shipping options so you can choose a used car for sale in another city or state and get a shipping quote on the app. Payments can also be made on the app by syncing a bank account. In addition to consumer accounts, car dealers can also sign up for professional accounts and list their inventory on the app.
Best for Comparing Models : AutoTempest
AutoTempest provides listings from major used car sites across the web and compiles them in one easy to search and easy to compare database.
Easily compare cars from all the major online car sites
Huge database of used cars
Cars and sellers aren’t vetted
Return policies vary by seller
AutoTempest was founded in 2008 with the goal of simplifying the online car buying process and saving the customer time and money. The site lists both new and used cars and has compiled a huge database over the years. It doesn’t sell its own vehicles but lists vehicles for sale from other online sites, including eBay, Craigslist, Cars.com, Carvana, CarGurus, and more.
While you can’t buy a car directly from the site, you can narrow down your choices, and then reach out to the dealers or individual sellers directly. You will also need to talk with the sellers about scheduling a test drive, their return policy, and how much shipping or home delivery will be if it’s offered.
AutoTempest’s inventory includes economy cars, trucks, SUVs, luxury cars, and sports cars. You can compare the prices of cars across the country and use search features such as searching by specific sites, location, mileage, color, and more. There are tools for guiding buyers through the car buying process and insurance and shipping information including how to properly compare quotes.
Best Auction Site : eBay
EBay is a well-known, reputable auction that lets you bid on a car online, make an offer, and negotiate directly with the seller.
Purchase cars and car parts in one place
Cars available from around the world
Dealing with private sellers so need to make sure you vet them and the car
Need to arrange shipping with the seller
EBay is one of the world's largest online auction sites and has been around since 1995 when it sold its first item, a broken laser pointer. Today it has thousands of items for sale including furniture, art, collectibles, and jewelry. It has its own eBay Motors division which sells pre-owned vehicles, watercraft, and car parts around the world. EBay sells so many different types of cars including hard-to-find models, luxury vehicles, collector items, and affordable cars.
EBay sells cars from both dealers and private sellers, each with its own test drive options, shipping, and home delivery charges, and return policies. You can pay through PayPal on the site or use a credit card, or arrange to pay the seller directly. You can browse listings by price, location, model, color, year, and more.
If you like the excitement of an auction and want to potentially get a good deal, eBay a good site to check out. However, research the seller and car first. The seller will have a star rating, the more stars the better, and many times you can also read customer reviews about how dealing with the seller was.
There are lots of options when it comes to choosing a used car site. Some sites are known for having affordable inventory and others are known for advanced search features.
Overall we chose AutoTrader as the best used car site. The company is reputable, offers a large inventory of used cars nationwide, and is easy to use. It also has additional features like auto industry news, insurance, and financing information, and upcoming vehicle model releases.
Compare the Best Used Car Sites
|Company||Pricing||Returns||Payment Options||Delivery Time|
|Negotiable||No general policy||Pay at dealership||Varies by dealer/seller|
Best on a Budget
|Negotiable||Varies by seller||Pay through dealership||Varies by dealership|
Best for Classic Cars
|Negotiable and bid online||Varies by seller||Online through auction or contact seller||Varies by dealer/seller|
Best for Private Sales
|Negotiable||Varies by seller||Through the app or in person||Varies by seller|
Best for Comparing Models
|Negotiable||Varies by dealer||Arranged with the seller||Varies by seller|
Best Auction Site
|Make an offer, buy it now, or auction||Varies by seller||Online, PayPal, in person||Varies by seller|
How to Choose the Best Used Car Site
When you're ready to buy a used car online, finding the best site can come down to your shopping preferences, location, and even budget. Here what to look out for when choosing a used car site
- Reputation: How long has the company been in business and how long have they been selling used cars? Read reviews on third-party sites and see if the same complaints (or praise) keep coming up.
- Inventory location: Can you check out a car in person before buying it? Having access to local inventory will let you test drive a car before putting any money down.
- Shipping and fees: Although used car sites can help you find a good deal, shipping, delivery, and processing fees can add up and push you past your budget.
- Return policy: How long do you have to return a car and how easy is the process? Make sure you're clear on the site or seller's return policy beforehand and get clear on any fees for returning a vehicle.
- Search-friendly site: Does the site let you filter searches based on information that's important to you, such as price, location, mileage, features, etc? On the flip side, an overly complicated and poorly organized site can also make shopping overwhelming and frustrating.
Buying a Used Car Online vs In-Person
|Saving time||Encountering scams|
|Saving gas money||Not seeing the car in person|
|Researching in comfort||Coordinating test drive and transport|
|Comparing models side by side|
|Buying In Person|
|Can see and touch the car||Spend hours at multiple dealerships|
|Don’t have to rely on photos or videos||Harder to compare models|
|Less likely to be scammed||May need to haggle and deal with salespeople|
|Test drive, finance, and arrange delivery in person|
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do Used Car Buying Sites Work?
A used car website specializes in selling used cars and, in addition, usually offers other features such as industry news, search tools, and the ability to compare models and prices. Some used car buying sites are set up to assist with the entire sales process and you can finance the car and purchase it online. Others just list dealerships inventory so you need to contact the dealership directly to set up things like a test drive, financing, and possibly delivery or shipping.
Are Used Car Buying Sites Reliable?
Finding a reliable used car site is key to a pleasant experience. Used car buying sites can be reliable, but you need to know what to look for in order to avoid unreliable sites and scammers. Never pay a private seller for a car without either going through a reputable site and money service such as PayPal or without seeing the car in person.
What Are the Benefits of Purchasing From a Used Car Site?
Benefits of purchasing from a used car site include:
- Saving time by doing the research online
- No haggling or annoying salespeople
- Ability to research to get the best deal
- Comparing models on your computer or mobile device
Is Pricing Negotiable on a Used Car Site?
Pricing may be fixed or negotiable on a used car site depending on the site, seller, or dealer. Some sites sell their own inventory for no-haggle prices so you won’t be able to negotiate. Others sell their cars at auctions so you would bid on the car and see if the reserve is met.
Most used car sites sell cars from multiple different dealerships and even some private sellers and pricing is more negotiable on these types of sites. You would need to contact the seller directly to negotiate the price, terms, financing, and delivery or shipping fees.
To find the best used car sites, we started by creating a list of 12 popular sites. Next, we closely evaluated each company based on several factors including overall reputation, ease of use, search functions, and types of inventory available. Finally, we gave each provider a category based on its specialty.
All of the best used car sites on our list are reputable, easy to use, and have a large inventory of pre-owned vehicles.