(NC) -- It's true that the Internet is a great place to research and shop for used vehicles. Online classified sites connect buyers to more sellers than ever before and dealerships also post their inventory online. This means you don't have to visit the car lot until you've narrowed down your search. Here are tips to help you find a great used car online:
Research the vehicles you're interested in. The Internet is the perfect resource to learn more about a car, to watch videos, and to read reviews. You'll get insight into how a vehicle performs, you can learn about the pros and cons of a vehicle and you'll see how the car stands up over time. This initial research will give you a great idea as to the type of vehicle that will best suit your lifestyle, your family and your budget.
Visit different websites to comparison shop. If you're interested in a certain make and model, check out local dealer websites, visit manufacturer sites and browse classified sites like Kijiji Autos and AutoTrader to see what's available in terms of features and pricing.
Discover the cost of owning and driving a vehicle. The CAA has an online Driving Costs Calculator that lets you input your province and the vehicle you're interested in and the tool then calculates the fixed costs, variable costs and the environmental costs of that vehicle based on your driving habits and the current fuel price. The tool also allows you to save by comparing vehicles.
Contact the dealer or seller with questions. Once you've narrowed down your list of vehicles, you'll probably have questions that you'll want to ask the seller in terms of how the car was maintained, any mechanical problems and the reasons for selling. Most sellers are open to communicating by email and this can be a great way to ask some initial questions so that you can determine whether or not you want to see the vehicle in person.
Get the CarProof report. If you've settled on a used car or want to check a few vehicles on your shortlist, be sure to see a CarProof vehicle history report before you commit. This report will give you important details about a vehicle's history so you can make an informed purchase decision. Many classified sites will allow the seller to post the report on the vehicle listing or you can request that the seller provide you with one if it's not already available.
CarProof offers a free Used Car Buying Guide online that you can download for free. It is filled with tips including how to take a vehicle for a test drive, what questions you should ask before you buy, plus advice on how to negotiate with the seller, and more.