In the market for a new car? Knowing where to look and how to compare is just the start. Last month we showed you that there was a seemingly endless supply of resources to help you with travel, the same is true with buying a car. From blogs and consumer reports to mobile applications and social sites, Fanscape is always on the look out for the best online utilities and resources to help simplify our lives.
Social networking has become a valuable platform to showcase cars and provide valuable research tools, and automakers are doing their part to keep you engaged; Ford recently used Facebook to debut its 2011 Explorer. But, if you have no set idea on what kind of car you want or the cost associated, we have some suggestions on where to begin. Edmunds.com should be your first stop. This site has everything from reviews to a finance calculator. Want to know what others have paid for that same car you have your eye on? Visit one of our new favorites, TrueCar. On the go and want to research via your smartphone? Kelley Blue Book has a free mobile app that includes its most popular online tools. Whether you’re looking for a new car or one that’s new to you, keep reading, we have 10 more great resources to help you make the best car-buying decisions.
MotorMouths – Mashable hails this site as the Rotten Tomatoes of car reviews. Simply put, MotorMouths helps you shop smarter for new cars. The site offers an aggregated list of independent analysis and review data. Expert critics from trusted outlets such as AutoBlog, Motor Trend and even Tech Crunch, contributing an unbiased approach to new car information and also provides an overall vehicle review rating.
Autocheck – Looking for a car with a little personality, but no hidden secrets? Autocheck is where you need to be when researching a pre-owned car. Provide a VIN number and a complete list of the vehicle’s history is available to help you make an educated decision to purchase the car or not. The Autocheck service offers much more than its predicessor, CarFax, including unlimited options, Experian-backed data and Autocheck scoring system.
MotherProof – A car blog for women in general, but mothers in particular and written by mom reviewers. MotherProof features reviews of various cars based on the growing demands of the family. Also features the ability to look up which cars would best suit you based on the age of your children – everything from which cars have the best storage, which ones are the most comfortable.
Honk – One of my faves. The creators of Honk understand that buying a car is a pretty big decision for most people and that most like to hear what other real people think about the cars they drive or have driven. Car shopping with a social twist if you will. With a built in community that allows for comments, likes and reviews, Honk helps you find the right car for you based upon what you actually want out of one.
Car & Driver’s Buyer’s Guide (iPhone / iPod Touch only) – Based on popular auto magazine, this app features the same resources as its online counterpart, such as search, listings, and advice. It also provides a guide to understanding pricing structures and a My Garage section for users to create and save personalized car search information. The best part of this app is having all these great resources at your fingertips and on the the go.
Nationwide’s Cartopia (iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad) – Now that you know what kinds of car you want, better make sure you have the right insurance. Yes, you can shop for Nationwide auto insurance rates. However, what makes this more than just a branded insurance sales and marketing tool is it also allows users to compare makes and models based on what is important to them specifically, whether that be safety ratings, gas mileage, color, or the total cost of ownership.
CarTell (iPhone) – This recently launched mobile app goes beyond Blue Book to help consumers find out how much dealers are paying for its used car inventory. Although this app costs $10, it will provide valuable car auction information and prices that will help you negotiate a much better price when at the dealership. The more than 60,000 records (so far) covers all makes, from every day passenger cars to SUVs and minivans.
@MyAutoLoan – The twitter home of MyAutoLoan.com a customer focused service designed to empower consumers with trustworthy and complete information surrounding the researching, financing, buying and driving experience
@StateFarm – A good company to follow on Twitter if you’re a policy holder looking for advice after getting into a fender bender or if you’re looking for information on the right auto insurance policy for you.
@CarMax – CarMax is the world’s largest pre-owned retailer. The company’s Twitter page offers quick advice, links to customer reviews and from time to time, a contest. Who doesn’t like a contest.
No more are the days of just test driving cars and trusting sales people to get you the best deal. As mentioned at the onset, there are many, many resources that are as close as a few mouse clicks or a tap of your mobile device. It’s all about doing your homework before you even set foot on the showroom floor. Fanscape has given you some of our favorites to check out, what are yours?