The Car Pro Guide To Buying Your Car Online


Guide to online car buying
Photo credit: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock

Imagine picking out your new or used vehicle from the comfort of your living room, having it delivered to you for a test drive, getting your trade-in evaluated, then completing all the paperwork online and having the keys delivered to your home.

Buying a car online has never been easier or convenient. CarProUSA Certified dealers fine-tuned their processes over the course of the pandemic, and now, even though showrooms are open and people are out shopping again, some still prefer to buy vehicles all online. If that's you, the steps outlined below will guide you through the online car buying process from beginning to finish.

#1

Locate a Dealer: Check out our CarProUSA dealers directly from our website or by going online.

#2

Look through their online inventory. Find the VIN or stock number of the vehicle youíd like to see.

#3

Email, text or call our CarProUSA certified manager. If you can, fill out a VIP form on our website with the dealer of your choice. If you text, call or email them directly, identify yourself as a CarProUSA VIP and give them the VIN or stock number of the vehicle(s) of interest.

#4

Ask questions. Ask any specific questions you have about the vehicle itself.

#5

Ask for the Monroney sticker and all pricing info. Ask them for the total disclosure of pricing and incentives available to you. Ask them for the bottom line pricing with tax, title and licensing. Ask what their dealer documentary fee is. (Read Jerryís article about documentary fees here.)

#6

Donít forget to tell the Car Pro manager upfront if you have a trade-in. A dealership representative may come to you to take photos of your trade-in to send to their used car manager who will evaluate your vehicle and give you a trade-in value. Or the dealer may ask you to send them pictures, the VIN and current mileage so they can evaluate and give you an offer.

#7

Discuss financing. Be prepared to fill out a credit application for Captive Arm financing or provide them with other payment information.

#8

Request an at-home test drive. Test drives remain very important in the process of buying a vehicle. A dealership representative will sanitize the vehicle of your choice by wiping down the interior and bring it to you.

#9

If youíve found your dream car, you can complete the paperwork online from the comfort of your living room. As always. Donít rush it and READ WHAT YOU SIGN.

#10

Donít forget to discuss additional warranties or car maintenance plans if desired. Read more about Extended Warranties here.

#11

Accept home delivery of your new vehicle.
As always, CarProUSA dealers are upfront with you and we also recommend that you be upfront with them in return when it comes to trade-ins, financing and any other concerns you may have.

Editor's Note: This article was last updated May 27, 2021.

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Tom K
Hi Jerry,
We live in Florida. My wife and I stopped by the local Hyundai dealership and test drove a new Santa Fe SUV. They didn't have the car we wanted and tried to sell us another Santa Fe in their inventory that was much more expensive. We were getting serious about making the deal. We had done our homework. The sales person would not budge on the $899 dealer prep fee. The time we spent was valuable but we ended up leaving the dealership and not making a purchase. Is there a fair way around this issue? I agreed to pay $150 for the prep fee. We were clear as to the features we wanted on the car and what we didn't want. He called us the next day and asked to come back in to the dealership. We said email the price we agreed on plus sales tax and registration and a $150 dealer prep fee. We never heard from him again.
Thank you.
Tom K
The Car Pro
Iím curious if it is a Prep fee or Doc Fee? A Prep Fee is ridiculous, the factory pays them to do prep. The Doc fee in Florida is often upwards of $1500 and should be no more than $200.

You need to find a different dealership and you need to do all the negotiations online before ever stepping foot inside the place. Thatís the safe way to do it in Florida. Be sure to see the buyerís order by email before you go in and then check EVERYTHING to make sure nothing changed.

Jerry Reynolds