Win at Car Buying with These Apps

Illustration by Kyra GreyEyes

It’s summer road-trip season, and the highway beckons to you. But just as you imagine shopping for your new dream car, the dread sets in. The last thing you want to do is haggle for hours only to discover hidden fees or terrible loan pricing. Fortunately, these apps (which are available for Apple and android phones) will help you find the car you love without signing your life away.

Edmunds

FREE

The Edmunds app is the perfect starting point for researching your options. Here you can find consumer reviews and suggested prices for nearly every type of car, along with a detailed list of pros and cons. You can even compare different models to see which one has more leg room or better gas mileage. Once you’ve done your homework, search local listings to find your dream car.

Cars.com

FREE

Not only does this app give you access to millions of listings, but its search tool makes it simple to narrow your search by price, year, body style and color, etc. What I especially love is the “Meet Your Match” feature. Whether you’re looking for a luxury ride, practical commuter car, or family-sized SUV, the app will suggest which cars best suit your lifestyle. You can even research how similar vehicles are priced in your area.

Truecar

FREE

Here’s your chance to figure out a car’s actual price before you even step onto the lot. Once you’ve decided on a car model, TrueCar will show you how much others have paid for a similar vehicle. If you’re serious about buying, you can click the “TruePrice” button to get a competitive offer from local dealers. While you should expect a flood of sales calls and emails, at least you will have an offer in hand.

Kelley Blue Book — New and Used Car Prices

FREE

The Kelley Blue Book is the industry standard for determining how much a car is worth. The thick blue tomes are now a thing of the past, replaced by a user-friendly app. After finding a car’s make and model, you can then enter in mileage; condition; and any options, such as a sunroof or leather seats. The app will then give an accurate estimate to what the car should sell for. You will also find excellent video reviews of the latest car models.

Carfax

FREE

If you’re in the market for a used auto, the Carfax app will help you avoid buying a lemon. The search feature makes it easy to find used cars in your area, as well as see whether the asking price is a comparatively good deal. More importantly, the app gives a snapshot of how well a car has been maintained, whether it has been in any accidents, and whether there have been any recalls. The app also makes it simple to message the dealer if you’re interested.

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