Buying a car, for most, is one of the biggest purchases of your entire life. You need a car that can get you from where you want to go as quickly, safely, and reliably as possible. Especially when buying a used car, there are all sorts of things you need to be on the look out for when shopping. You need to know how reliable the car will be, the issues it has had in the past, how much you should pay, and much more. Buying a clunker could, and probably would, make you suffer for a long time, so it's important to look at every little detail. It use to be that you would have to scour the newspaper or suffer through annoying, pushy sales people to even get to see the car you wanted, let alone find out the history of it and detailed information about it. Now, however, you can do all of this and much more with your Android phone. Read on as we countdown the top 10 apps to use while shopping for a car.
10. Auto Parts Warehouse
So, let's say you have found a car for an incredible price. It hasn't had any major accidents and looks amazing, but both of the headlights have gone out and need to be replaced. You're pretty competent with cars, so you decide to replace them yourself, but you need to know how much they would cost and if the car would still be as cheap when the headlights are factored in. Auto Parts Warehouse is an app that indexed all sorts of car parts and catalogs and let's you easily search for what you need. It will break down the price by the model of your car and even let you order the part directly within the app. Best of all, it is free to download.
Finding the car that is right for you may be the hardest part of the process. Do you want four doors or two? Hatchback or sedan? SUV or minivan? Honda or Toyota? AutoTrader.com is an app that lets you easily search for all cars near you or in a certain radius. The app allows you to break down the results by new or used, the mileage, make, model, and of course, the price. AutoTrader indexes cars from both dealers and private sellers and makes it easy to contact the car owner. AutoTrader is also free on the Play Store.
8. VIN Scanner Appraiser
One of the biggest factors you should take into consideration when shopping for a car is the history. How many accidents has it been in? What repairs has it had done? How often was it inspected? Well, every car carries a unique Vehicle Identification Number, or VIN for short. Searching this number will show you a break down of history of a car and provide you with a vehicle history report. Usually, these consist of the accidents and inspections a car has had. VIN Scanner Appraiser allows you to search or scan a VIN and see detailed information about the value of the car and a vehicle history report. Though, it's worth noting that even though the app is free, most of the data is not and you will have to pay.
Edmunds is one of the premier sources for finding out detailed information about a car. It offers detailed reviews and a specific breakdown of how reliable the car should be. It also offers the price of how much you should pay for whatever car you are considering based on the mileage, title, and source from which you are purchasing it. Edmunds also allows you to search for cars for sale near you and favorite ones that are interesting. Edmunds is free on the Play Store, as well.
6. aCar - Car Management, Mileage
This app applies more to what you should do after you have already purchased a car, but is still very useful. aCar allows you to easily keep track of things you have to do to your car. This includes things like repairs, gas fill ups, expenses, modifications, and mileage. It will even calculate how many miles per gallon you are getting based on how much you have driven and how often you fill up. aCar will also alert you when you should change things like your oil and air filters based on how many miles you have driven. This is also very useful when selling a car because you can show the detailed log to the potential buyer. aCar is free on the Play Store.
5. cPRO Craigslist Client
Now, I know you may be wondering why a Craigslist app is in our Top 10 Apps To Help You Buy A Car list, and we have an explanation. Despite all of the horror stories you may have heard about the online service, Craigslist is actually an incredibly useful website. While it may not offer many of the car specific features as other apps, the cPro Craigslist Client is a great app for finding cars available both near you and on the other side of the United States. Many dealerships often post their cars on Craigslist, as do private sellers, so it's a great way to easily search a variety of places at once. Plus, you never know when you'll find a hidden gem of a car.
4. Official eBay App For Android
Much like Craigslist, eBay is another great service to search for cars on. Many dealers list their inventory on eBay, and as we all know, the Official eBay App for Android is a very powerful tool. You can narrow cars down by the make, model, milage, year, and much, much more. eBay also, of course, gives you the ability to bid on cars, which can sometime get you one heck of a deal compared to buying it for a set price. eBay also lets you set up notifications for when a certain product is listed for sale, so for example, if you wanted a 2007 Saab 9-3, you could set it up so that you would be notified when one was listed. eBay is free.
If you end up buying a car through one of the above two services, or anyone else for that matter, it's always good to have an independent mechanic take a look at it before shelling out $15,000. Yelp is a service that aggregates all sorts of services and businesses and allows its users to rate and review the places. So, you could search for a mechanic that specializes in Saabs, read his or her reviews, and easily contact them all from within the app. If you were buying the car from another city, you could search for mechanics in that city, as well.
2. KBB.com Car Prices & Reviews
Kelly Blue Book is a service that gives you a breakdown of how much you should expect to pay for a certain car, based on mileage, condition, and who you are buying it from. Many dealerships and private sellers base their prices off of the Kelly Blue Book value, so you know that if a seller has a price higher than the KBB value, you can negotiate them down to that price or lower. KBB also indexes cars for sale in your area and reviews of cars. It allows you to easily contact the seller from within the app. KBB.com Car Prices & Reviews is free in the Play Store.
Cars.com is an application that really combines everything we've mentioned above into one, well designed app. It allows you to search for cars by make, model, year, mileage, and more. One thing I like about Cars.com is that it lets you compare cars side-by-side, making it easy to compare mileage and the physical appearance of each. Should you be buying your car on a loan, the app has a built-in loan calculator that will tell you how much your monthly payments would be for a specific car. Finally, it allows you to save certain cars to look at later. Cars.com is free.
Note: When it comes right down to it, these rankings mean very little. When buying a car, it's best that you use a combination of these apps, not just the one given the first ranking. Buying a car is a big decision, and you should take every step possible to ensure you aren't getting a clunker.