Cars.com

Cars.com

Cars.com is an automotive mega site based out of Chicago, Illinois. This company’s online destination assists shoppers in buying a new, used, or certified used vehicle. Cars.com seeks to make automobile shopping a stress-free experience by arming consumers with all the comprehensive knowledge and tools they need to make informed and intelligent car buying decisions.Cars.com receives over 30 million visits from shoppers each month. Visitors discover a comprehensive selection of all makes and models, research tools, and expert reviews. 

The Good

Cars.com offers an extensive menu of products and services for automobile buyers and sellers. Shoppers can search for vehicles both locally and nationally with a wide range of features and accessories. You can read hundreds of expert reviews and compare cars side-by-side. Discover what cars match your lifestyle and get tips and advice on owning and maintaining your vehicle. There is also a quick-start guide on the website to guide you through the car buying steps.

Cars.com will help you calculate the price range you can afford and how much your monthly payment would be. You can also find out whether you should buy or lease a car and how to negotiate with dealers. This company's website will also help you find the best rebates and financing offers available in your local area on the vehicles you are interested in and how to get the best interest rate possible. You can find out the estimated trade-in value of your current vehicle and obtain knowledge on how to get the best car loan possible.

A new feature released recently on the website is called Service and Repair. Cars.com partnered with RepairPal.com to offer consumers estimates on possible vehicle repairs. Consumers can learn maintenance and repair tips and find trusted certified service centers in their area. You can also learn if there are any recalls on your automobile. Be aware that not all features in the Service and Repair area work on the website at the moment as it is brand new.

Cars.com offers its visitors a full menu of resources for buying and/or selling vehicles. These include:

  • Vehicle history - Cars.com provides potential buyers a direct link to autocheck.com's vehicle history report to learn if the car has been:
    • Reported in an accident
    • Branded a lemon or total loss
    • Damaged in a flood
    • Reported repossessed or stolen
  • Payment calculator for:
    • Auto loans
    • Affordability
    • Cash Back vs. Low interest
    • Loan vs. Lease
  • Comparison tool:
    • Allows customers to compare vehicles side by side
    • Shows how cars are similar and how they're different.
    • Choose up to four cars and start comparing.
  • Recommendation tool - Lets customers instantly find the best cars for them by indicating what they're looking for regarding:
    • car model
    • body style
    • number of car seats
    • minimum highway gas mileage
    • transmission and engine preferences
    • essential equipment and features
    • technical and performance Requirements
  • Trade-in value tool - Allows customers to get free estimates of their car's value to get an idea of what a dealer or private party will offer based on:
    • Zip code
    • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
    • Car's Make, Model, Year
    • Style
    • Approximate mileage
    • Exterior color

The Cars.com app holds high iOS and Android ratings due to the following features:

  • App is free
  • Helps find new and used cars in the local area
  • Has Comparison tool where you can compare different car models, prices and features, side by side
  • On the lot pricing where you can find and compare vehicle pricing information while at the dealership
  • Access to car reviews from car owners and Cars.com Experts to help you make the right choice
  • Ability to sign up to access your favorite Cars and Searches from any device or computer.
  • Available Dealer Reviews from real car shoppers
  • Dealership directions and hours of operation
  • Ability to write reviews about your experience at local car dealerships.
  • Ability to sell your car
  • Ability to check car availability by calling or emailing Dealers and Private Sellers right from the app to check availability or schedule a test drive.
  • Auto Loan and Trade-in Calculator where you can use the monthly payment calculator to see how your payment will change based on:
    • down payment
    • trade-in value

All potential buyers have to do is plug in the car's VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) or License plate number.

  • Extensive Features allowing you to filter your results by categories such as exterior color, door count, price, year, fuel, transmission, and listing date

The Bad

  • Ads are not always accurate
  • Scams on the website

The ads listed on the website do not always accurately state the actual price of the car when you click on the websites associated with those ads. Cars.com could do a better job with filtering false advertisements and scams posted on its site. Proceed with caution and protect yourself with any online transactions, especially when it comes to your personal privacy and financial data. Other than that, Cars.com visitors report a pleasant experience with the research information and customer service received from the company.

Unfortunately, there are also many scams on the internet utilizing e-commerce sites-and Cars.com is no exception. In fact, the nature of the site will attract such types. While the vast majority of vehicle listings on cars.com are legitimate, visitors should be aware that certain individuals post vehicle listings on cars.com for the sole purpose of scamming potential car buyers. Similar to a site like Craigslist.org which is a free open posting board, the site itself is a medium only and not responsible for the misconduct of the people using its services. Customers need to understand that avoiding fraud is their sole responsibility.

The Bottom Line

Cars.com's achievement of one million consumer- generated online reviews is a testament to its transparent and honest model for generating consumer feedback to better service their customers' needs. Intended to provide a more tailored consumer experience across all devices, 40 percent of new Cars.com dealer reviews are based on a full car buying and selling service experience-with more to come.

Our Recommendation:

Cars.com appears to be a trusted and reliable website to help consumers make educated decisions on their next new, used, or certified used vehicle purchase. Whether you are buying or selling a car or need one repaired, this company can assist you with your unique needs and financial situation.

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