Used car salesmen have a certain reputation. Surely you’ve encountered the stereotypical lecherous individual with the evil grin, assuring you that Datsun is world-renown for running like a top after 350K miles. In fact, that’s why Datsun went out of business, right? They never had to be replaced…
Let’s face it – we’re not all mechanics. It is difficult to understand the individual characteristics of hundreds of makes and models of vehicles to determine what makes a smart buy and what will end up being a money pit. And getting a good deal can be virtually impossible if you don’t have an understanding of depreciation and MSRP values.
As it should, digital technology makes car shopping much easier. The tech gods have recently developed several nifty mobile apps for everything from inventory browsing to payment calculation. Here are a few of the best.
The Carfax Reports Mobile App
This app is your best friend. On an individual basis, this app can tell you everything you need to know about the history of a particular vehicle – damages, accidents, insurance claims, and even service history. Having the ability to check this information on your own right at the dealership means you don’t have to rely on the salesperson to provide it for you.
Kelly’s Blue Book has long been the car buyer’s skeleton key to accessing industry information. KBB Mobile can offer you the particulars of cars by make and model, including mileage and safety features. Most importantly, KBB Mobile can give you the current value of any car by the year of manufacture based on its current condition.
This app offers a search capability based on your locale so that you can find the car for which you are searching. Several key features are a payment calculator, directions to the point of sale, contact information of the seller, and reviews from others who have purchased the same make and model.
This app allows you to compare rates and financing options while comparing sticker prices on the lot. Interest payments will affect the monthly payment, so it’s best to know what rate you qualify for before considering one car over another. CarCalc offers multiple payment calculators, rate look-ups, and online quotes from various local lenders.
You’ll also likely need to check what the new car purchase will do to your insurance premium. GEICO, Allstate, Nationwide, State Farm, Esurance, and most all other major insurance carriers offer a mobile app to their customers. Log on to your insurer’s website and check for a free app download.
Chris Turberville-Tully works with HR Owen, a new and used car dealership in England, which specializes in luxury cars including Bentley, Lamborghini, Audi and Mercedes.