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With a down economy and struggling domestic automakers, now maybe the perfect time to consider investing in a new vehicle. Goneare the days when entire weekends were spent scouring newspaperads, pacing through endless car lots and haggling with aggressivesalesmen.

The Internet has changed the game of car sales. Now you’ll findcountless websites devoted to this industry where you can browse,compare prices and even purchase your vehicle. If you’re new tohigh-speedInternet, online car shopping can be understandablyoverwhelming. Read below for some useful tips on where to go andwhat to look for when researching cars on the Internet.

Things to do before you get online:

Decide what you’re looking for: Do you want a new car? Used?What color and what type of interior? Are you looking for a manualor automatic transmission? These and other similar questions areimportant to have in mind before you begin your research.

Pick a price point: Depending on your financial situation, itcan be helpful to have a number in mind when you begin your searchof how much you’ll be willing to spend.

Know the deals in your area: Use traditional sources likecommercials and newspaper ads to gather information about whatspecials you can find in your area. You can use these later tocompare real-life pricing to what you find online.

When you get online:

Check online classifieds: These sites, such as Craigslist, areparticularly useful when shopping for a pre-owned vehicle as theyallow users to post listings (complete with photos) of theirfor-sale cars. Once you find one you’re interested in, simplycontact the seller via e-mail to make a deal or set up aviewing.

Try wholesaler sites: Retailers such as CARMAX list thousands ofcars online, all of which you can easily search with your ownspecifications. CARMAX even offers a “buy now” option that allowscustomers to purchase a car online and have it transported to theirlocation.

Browse dealer inventory: Traditional dealers have begun listingtheir inventory online, often adding pictures and “test drive”features. This is a great way to get information about what isphysically available in your area and even set up an appointmentwith a sales associate.

Check Kelly Blue Book: To get accurate data about what the caryou’ve found is really worth, go to www.kbb.com and enter in thedetails. It’s helpful to have an objective source’s appraisal inmind when making a final decision on your purchase.

If you do decide to buy online, or if you are sharing anyprivate information through your computer, make sure your Internetconnection is secure. If you live in a rural area and are usingdial-up, you may want to upgrade to satellite Internet. A high-speedsatellite Internet connection will give you the speed you need to”test-drive” your virtual vehicles and the security you want whenpurchasing online.

Buying a car is stressful, so why not use the Internet to makeit simpler and more hassle-free? With the abundance of availableinventory, there’s no reason not to use the Web for your benefit,before, during and after you buy your vehicle. Even if you’re newto the Internet you’ll be amazed by the options and advantages thatcome with shopping for a new or used car online.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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