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2011 Top 10 Most Useful Tools for New Car Buyers

At AutoBuying101.com, buyers are able to simplify the process by using organized tools in their search for a new car. With direct links to other automotive sites as a regular practice, AutoBuying101.com is an advocate for the car buyer with the aim to get that buyer the best possible deal using all of the data, details, and resources available on the web.

 “The sheer volume of online tools for new car buyers can be overwhelming and consumers have a tough time knowing which sites have free information they should trust and use,” said Joni Gray, Sr. Analyst of AutoBuying101.com. “The key is understanding that different resources have different capabilities, and knowing when and how to use each one during the process. In our estimation, there are 10 helpful tools that have risen to the top as the most useful resources if you are planning to buy a new vehicle.” 

Selection Criteria:

The top tools were selected based on the value they provide during the new auto buying process and the following criteria weighed into the selection of each product/service:

  • Independent (i.e. not provided or affiliated with a manufacturer or a dealer)
  • Provided to consumers free of charge
  • Product/Service is available across the US
  • Site design, simplicity, and ease of use

2011 Top 10 Most Useful Tools For New Car Buyers:

Car Reviews: MotorMouths.com 

This fun and informative site is a one-stop tool for new car reviews any shopper could use. They aggregate “expert” reviews from around the web and apply analytics to help create an Overall Score between 0 and 100 for each current model (higher number is best).  And they use verified owners of each model to rate the credibility of the writers, to help ensure accuracy of the scores.  

Quality Ratings: StrategicVision.com

Strategic Vision is a name not known by most consumers, but it is very well known and respected within the automotive industry. The slick tool that spits out quality scores, which range in an index from around 700 to 1000, gives you an accurate quality rating, without charging a fee.

Safety Ratings: SaferCar.gov 

As an offshoot of the NHTSA (National Highway Transportation Safety Association), the safercar.com site quickly gets you comparative Overall Rating Scores that include crash and rollover testing for 2010 – current vehicle models.

Car Rankings: RankingsandReviews.com

The dedicated cars section of U.S. News & World Report provides helpful lists of ranked vehicles by vehicle type to help identify the ideal new car consideration set. 

Researching Vehicles:  Edmunds.com 

Pound for pound, Edmunds.com has some of the most extensive data, editorial and consumer coverage on new vehicles.  With pricing, images, videos, reviews, and cost of ownership costs; Edmunds was one of the first websites online dedicated to providing consumers useful information on any given car, truck, or SUV.  One of their most useful features is the “Forums” area which has an active following of real consumers commenting about specific vehicles, buying experiences, quality impressions, and more.   

Friend Advice: Facebook.com

Who do you trust more than your own friends and family?  So when you are planning on making one of the largest purchases of your life, tap into your personal network by asking your Facebook friends for feedback on specific vehicles, dealer experiences, and if anyone is “in the business”.  Sometimes getting the best deal can happen based on who you know! 

Trade In vs. Private Party: KBB.com 

For over 85 years, Kelley Blue Book has been providing values that are used by dealers, the automotive industry, and consumers.  So, when you go to buy your new car, if you have an existing vehicle you want to get rid of, KBB values can help you understand the pro’s and con’s of trading in vs. selling it yourself as a private party.  Regardless of your decision, you can use KBB values to help in both areas.  

Finance Rates: BankRate.com 

BankRate.com is known for its thoughtful content on everything financial, and that includes auto finance. A sure-fire way to help ensure you get the best deal is to know current market interest rates and evaluate pre-approved finance options.  Bankrate.com provides national interest rate averages and local interest rate information in your specific area.  

Dealer Background Check: BBB.org

Before you head down to the dealership, you should do a quick check on the Better Business Bureau website.  Dealerships are certainly not required to be a member of the BBB, but you may want to consider those that are BBB Accredited or at least see if the dealer you are considering has any outstanding or unresolved complaints.

Car Prices: TrueCar.com 

Consumers who do not want to negotiate with a salesperson should check out  TrueCar.com. They provide pricing information on how much vehicles are currently selling for in the market, and also provide “haggle free” guaranteed price quotes from up to three local TrueCar dealers on the car you are considering.  A number of large organizations such as USAA, AAA, and Consumer Reports refer their consumers into the TrueCar dealer network.

Steve Moretti, Executive Editor of AutoBuying101.com adds, “This list should be used as a primer for car buyers who want some critical pieces of information during different stages of the new auto buying experience. There are plenty of other worthy sites and resources that have much to offer new car buyers, but these tools will help consumers get extremely useful information very quickly.”