Shopping for a car is exciting, but plunking down so much cash can also rattle your nerves. The more you know about your purchase, the less anxiety you are likely to feel.
Fortunately, you can learn a tremendous amount about a car without spending a dime. All you need is an internet connection and the right websites.
The following sites are among those you should always check when researching or shopping for a new or used vehicle.
This automotive research firm dates back to the 1960s. Its website is a wealth of information.
In particular, car shoppers should check out the:
- Your Price tool: This helps you find cars in your area based on various car features.
- Incentives and Rebates page: Here you can search for dealer incentives and rebates by car type or make.
2. Kelley Blue Book
Kelley Blue Book, which has been around since 1926, is best known for its car price data. Its website also features reviews and data on cars for sale.
Pricing tools on KBB.com include:
3. Consumer Reports
This publication does exhaustive and independent testing of all kinds of products, including vehicles. So, you should check its website before sinking much money into any purchases, and certainly one as large as a car.
You will need a subscription to access all Consumer Reports reviews, but your local library may already subscribe. If so, you may be able to access CR for free.
This listing of safety issues and recalls can be found on the website of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The NHTSA is a federal agency tasked with keeping folks safe on the road. That includes monitoring safety recalls to make sure auto manufacturers remedy vehicle recalls properly.
So, always check the NHTSA’s recalls webpage before buying a vehicle. Simply enter the vehicle identification number (VIN), and NHTSA will tell you about any vehicle safety recalls for the vehicle that:
- Are incomplete.
- Were conducted over the past 15 years.
- Were conducted by major light automakers, including motorcycle manufacturers.
5. NICB’s VINCheck
The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting insurance fraud.
The organization provides its VINCheck service to help the public determine whether a vehicle has been reported stolen but not recovered or whether it has been reported as a salvage vehicle by the insurance companies that work with NICB. Just enter a VIN to use the service.
6. iSeeCars.com’s VIN Lookup
According to the website, those data points can include:
- Price history
- Listing history
- Projected depreciation
- Best time to buy (and sell)
You can also find other information on new and used vehicles on iSeeCars.com.
Which websites do you use before shopping for a car? Share your insights by commenting below or on our Facebook page.
Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.