Everything You Need to Know About Shopping for a New Car Online

For people looking to buy a used car, the Internet is a wonderful resource. The trouble is, there are so many choices offered on the Web that it can be difficult to pick one; and then, consumers may wonder if the vehicle even lives up to the online description.

What’s a used car buyer to do? We asked Max Katserelas of used car site MojoMotors.com to provide some suggestions for people who are undertaking this arduous process.

How is Mojo Motors different than other auto listing sites?

Mojo Motors helps car shoppers get discounts at local dealerships and receive alerts when prices change. Unlike Cars.com and AutoTrader, Mojo Motors doesn’t display ads on the website. This way, the experience for someone shopping for a car is simpler, and more importantly, much easier. Plus, our website lets shoppers “follow” cars they like so that any time prices change or a vehicle is sold, an alert will be sent right to their inbox. That way, shoppers don’t need to keep checking multiple websites.

Does Mojo Motors charge car buyers a fee for its services? If not, how does the site make money?

Mojo Motors is totally free for car shoppers. Mojo collects fees from dealerships for listing their cars on our website.

In your experience, what are some of the common mistakes made by people shopping for a used car?

Buying a used vehicle is tough because unlike a new car, every used car is different. Did the previous owner take care of it? Did they get it serviced regularly? Were they a smoker? Did the car tote around little kids? With the average car shopper spending 11 hours online in their hunt for a vehicle, they are often more knowledgeable about the car than the salesperson at the dealership. However, some car shoppers don’t talk to enough people who actually own the car.

Some car owners struggle with “vehicle condition” terms like excellent, good, fair, etc. What do these terms actually mean, and what can potential customers expect when they see a vehicle described by one of these terms?

Imagine that a 2005 Honda CR-V is rated “excellent.” This car is nearly 8 years old, and in the majority of cases it won’t look brand new on the inside or outside. But it should be in perfect mechanical order and not need any service or new tires. There’s going to be a coffee stain, a dent, a scratch, or the numbers might be slightly worn on the radio. A “good” rating likely means the car will need service or new tires within the next year, but still looks like a respectable vehicle to drive around the boss or grandma.

What are some of the biggest “red flags” to look for when inspecting a used vehicle?

A vehicle history report from Carfax can determine if the vehicle has any red flags, and a mechanic can determine if there are any potential issues with the engine. Some red flags that a car shopper should look for while inspecting the vehicle include rust, ill-fitting body panels, or irregular tire wear.

How much above Kelly Blue Book value should a customer expect to pay for a used car?

Customers should never have to pay above Kelly Blue Book.

What should potential car buyers be aware of while test driving a used car?

The most important thing, in our opinion, is comfort. Are buttons for the radio or climate controls within reach? Will the driver’s seat be comfortable for long drives? Does the car feel sturdy? Test drives should take about 15 minutes and the driver should note how smoothly the car shifts or accelerates. It’s important to listen for unusual noises during acceleration, while braking, and while driving over bumps. The car shouldn’t squeak, and it definitely shouldn’t bounce or knock.

Has the used car industry recovered from the inventory shortages caused by the “Cash for Clunkers” program?

Used car inventories are low, and not just because of “cash for clunkers,” but also because many fewer cars were manufactured from 2008-2010 as demand dropped. This means it’s harder to find the right used cars and their prices are relatively high. This is why Mojo Motors is a such a good resource; the alerts really help shoppers jump on the right opportunity and save major time.

Now that hybrid vehicles have been around for a while, are you starting to see a significant number of used hybrid vehicles for sale?

Yes. Even though Ford, Hyundai, Chevrolet and Honda offer hybrids, the most iconic hybrid is still the Prius. We see more Mojo shoppers buying the Prius over any other hybrid, and we’ve also found that Prius buyers are extremely targeted in their search. While someone who buys a Civic looks at more Accords or RAV4s during their search than Civics, someone shopping for a Prius will barely look at any other vehicle. These people are extremely loyal to hybrids, but especially the Prius.

Where do you expect your site to be within the next 3 to 5 years?

We expect Mojo Motors to be nationwide and continue to help used car shoppers get alerts when dealerships drop prices or sell cars on an ad-free, easy-to-use website. With recent shakeups in the auto industry, it’s hard to say how Mojo Motors will evolve. Our mission is simple: help make it easier for someone to buy a used car. As the industry changes, we need to continue and improve our product so that we are still truly making the car-buying process simpler.

Don’t forget to set up auto insurance for your new vehicle! Contact Safe Auto today for a price quote.

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