Online VS. Dealer: Where Should You Buy Your Car?

If you’re looking to buy a new automobile, you’re probably still thinking of going to a local dealership. However, as the world becomes more digital, forward-thinking automakers are altering the scene by incorporating online car purchasing.

Without a doubt, there are advantages and disadvantages to buying a car online. While the traditional brick-and-mortar dealership auto-buying method has been endorsed in the past, many looking to the future see a trend toward increasing online car purchases.

Buying Your Car Online

If you don’t enjoy dealing with salespeople, want to compare pricing quickly, or have a specific car model in mind that isn’t available at a local dealership, especially if it’s a rare model, online markets are ideal. It’s also a fantastic choice if you’re already familiar with the car and have driven it before, either as a rental or during a dealership test drive.

Pros Of Buying Online


One of the major advantages of buying a car online is the time savings. Nobody enjoys spending a whole day at a car dealership attempting to close a sale. Car purchasers and dealers might spend hours negotiating a single transaction using the traditional in-person method. Purchasing automobiles online can streamline the process by allowing customers to complete time-consuming chores such as document completion at their leisure.

More Selection

When you visit a physical dealer, your purchasing options are constrained by what is already on the lot. On the other hand, buying online allows you to search through a variety of options and get exactly what you want. If you choose from a larger selection of vehicles, shopping online is a good place to start.

No Sales Pressure

Pushy salespeople are one of the most common complaints when buying a car. When you buy a car online, you’re not dealing with a salesperson whose job is dependent on the number of deals they can close.

Affordable Prices

Traditional dealerships have overhead expenditures that online automobile vendors do not. As a result, they can pass on these savings to you, allowing them to sell cars at lower, more competitive pricing.

Cons Of Buying Online

No Inspection of Car

While buying a car online has numerous advantages, it also has some disadvantages. One of them is the inability to see and physically inspect the car before purchasing it. Of course, most internet sellers provide buyers with images and videos of each vehicle, but nothing beats seeing the car up close and personal.

No Test-Driving

Buyers frequently do not have the opportunity to test drive a vehicle before purchasing it. This is a flaw since “driving is believing” for many people.

Non-Negotiable Price or Terms

Another disadvantage of buying a car online is the inability to bargain on pricing or terms. As a result, some clever negotiators may miss out on a fantastic deal.

Limited Options of Finance

When purchasing a vehicle online, you may find that your finance options are limited. The online strategy may limit you to a single lender or a small number of lenders with whom the seller already has a relationship. This component could end up costing you more money in the long run.

Buying Your Car in Dealership

Most states have dealership-friendly franchise restrictions that allow them to offer new car models exclusively, so if you’re shopping for a new car, you’ll probably have to go via a typical brick-and-mortar car dealership. However, because these dealers work closely with manufacturers, they can significantly reduce the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.

Pros Of Buying From Car Dealership

Opportunity For a Test Drive

The traditional way of purchasing a car from a dealer allows purchasers to test drive the vehicle before purchasing. When you buy a car online, the seller can give you a glowing review of the engine, but it is only when you get behind the wheel that you fully experience the vehicle. The test drive will help you choose whether or not this is the right vehicle for you and your family.

Negotiable Prices

Some people enjoy the process of physically interacting with the salesperson. If you enjoy bargaining and have a seller willing to work with you, you can make the deal work in your favor, potentially saving you a lot of money.

Easy Access

A regular car purchase will most likely come from your neighborhood. Unlike an internet purchase, where you may have to wait days or weeks for the car to arrive, a local dealership may be able to provide you with a new vehicle the same day.

Cons Of Buying From Car Dealership

Time Consuming

Buying from a dealer frequently entails devoting hours to a single transaction. It might be time-consuming to negotiate rates, test a car, and finalize a transaction. Buying from traditional dealers is inconvenient in an increasingly busy environment where every minute of your time is valuable.

Higher Prices

Traditional dealers typically have higher overhead costs, contributing to higher car sales prices. As a result, shoppers are more likely to pay more than they would if they were shopping online.

Limited Choices of Car Models

Dealership lots do not have the same selection of cars for sale as internet purchase offers. Buyers’ options are restricted by what is currently available in the lot. This is in contrast to internet sales, where potential buyers can search thousands of cars for sale.


Unlike internet purchases, most traditional auto dealership transactions are handled by a salesman whose compensation and livelihood are based on the deals they close. As a result, you’ll almost certainly have to deal with pushy salespeople who are keen to encourage you to buy a car.

With either the internet or traditional dealership models, there are certain trade-offs, but it’s better to employ a combination of both. Regardless of how you purchase, the internet is still your friend—if only because price-comparison sites make it simple to discover market prices for autos. If you’re buying a new automobile, you can still do your research online, test drives it at a dealership, and then select where and how to buy based on the pricing, whether it’s from an internet site or a dealership. The more you research and shop around for a car, the more likely you will obtain a decent bargain.