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Apps that can help you shop for cars

If you are in the market for a new or used car, these car shopping apps will help you find the best deal and save money. What I love about these hand-held tools is that you can use them to find a better price than a dealer is offering you even while you are inside the dealership, and use that to negotiate a better deal. Plus, the car shopping apps have interactive features that the websites don’t have.

All of the apps included in this article can be downloaded for free, unless indicated otherwise. 

Get the best price on a new sedan, truck or minivan with our favorite apps that help you shop for cars. 

AutoTrader

The AutoTrader app lets you search for new, used and certified pre-owned cars near you via GPS, or by a particular type of engine or transmission, such as an eco-boost engine or a 6-speed with a sport shift.

Fun feature: You can scan the VIN (vehicle identification number) barcode on a vehicle you like to find its history of ownership or a similar car nearby. The AutoTrader app is available for both Apple and Android devices.

Blinker

The Blinker app helps you save time and money by putting you in control of every step. Sellers use image-recognition technology, meaning you get updated photos of every vehicle.

Useful feature: Everything is signed and processed electronically, meaning less paperwork. 

Cars.com

Use Cars.com to look for new and used cars for sale in your area, read reviews and calculate estimated car payments. Using the On the Lot tool, you can compare inventory between dealers. 

Useful feature: Find certified repair centers to have your car serviced, and research fair prices to pay for repairs.

CarMax

CarMax allows you browse over 40,000 vehicles for sale, and even compare and contrast up to 10 different cars on a single screen. Plus, you can filter your search by credit score, down payment and monthly payment.

Useful feature: The app lets you “call dibs” on a car by holding it for up to seven days. 

CARFAX

Once you sign up for an account at CarFax, you can run a vehicle history report on the car you are interested in buying. Simply scan the VIN bar code or manually type in the 17-digit number. 

Useful feature: Type in the vehicle license plate for a search to make sure the plate matches the vehicle.

Consumer Reports

Another long-time trusted source, Consumer Reports offers an app that is not a classified section or listing of vehicles available for sale. Instead, it is a guidebook on buying a used car. You can look at car ratings and calculate loan or lease payments. Available for Android and Apple users. 

Useful feature: The Ask the Right Questions category gives you sample questions to ask a seller once you have found a car you like.

Edmunds

This car guru has long been a go-to for car buyers. The Edmunds app lets you search pricing and inventory at dealerships close to home. There’s also a calculator to help you calculate monthly loan or lease payments. 

Useful feature: Get Edmund’s “true market value” to see what a particular model is selling for in your geographic region, and locate a dealer within a specific distance who is offering an incentive deal.  

Instamotor

The Instamotor app helps you take the guesswork out of car shopping by offering a free vehicle history report, showing information like salvage titles, lemon history and weather damage. You’ll also get personalized selections from multiple sellers and full transparency pricing.

Useful feature: Inspection, warranty and a seven-day test drive are included with every car. 

Kelley Blue Book

Use the Kelley Blue Book app to search by manufacturer for new cars, and by year for used ones. It includes reviews by both professional automotive journalists and consumers who own or lease the model.

Useful feature:  You can view videos of cars you’re interested in or of ones that fit within your price range. 

RoDo

Do you want to lease a car? RoDo, formerly known as Honcker, lets you check prices and calculate your monthly rate on leased cars in your area. If you find a car within a 25-mile radius of your location, you can have the car delivered to you for free.

Useful feature: RoDo runs a soft credit check, and lease transactions can be done within hours, with quick application processes. 

TrueCar

Use the TrueCar app to search for a used or new car and receive a price calculated by what others have paid for the same car. Easy to navigate and more than 12,000 dealers participate. 

Useful feature: TrueCar scans window stickers at dealerships that are including in their database so you can get a fair market price in your area.

iSeeCars

The iSeeCars app allows you to view millions of used cars and trucks for sale by owners and dealers across the country. Narrow down the search by using a number of search filters including price, third row seats and even the amount of headroom in the cab. The cars are also listed according to best price, above and below market prices. 

Useful feature: Email alerts tell you if a saved vehicle price has changed.

Augmented Driving

Do you drive an older car but wish you had some of a new cars’ bells and whistles? For $4, you can try Augmented Driving. Only available for Apple, this app lets you experience a safer drive with real-time object detection using augmented reality. The app can give you an evaluation of your driving, detect vehicles in front of you or in neighboring lanes, or alert you when you have crossed into another lane. 

Useful feature: Take screenshots or video of your drive and save as an MP4 stream.

Finally, a tip: The end of the year is always a good time to buy a new car, since dealers have to clear current model year vehicles to make way for the new models arriving.  Salespeople usually have to meet monthly and yearly quotas, and are more likely to negotiate a better deal during these times. These car buying apps will help you make a good deal even better.

For more articles on car buying or maintenance:

 

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