The Best Car Search Websites

The Best Car Search Websites

I recently posted an article titled Your Ultimate Car Search Guide that was directed in teaching you the proper information you needed to know before you purchased a car. Today I will give you my inside secrets on how I find a car and what websites I use to search for a new car; the 5 best car search websites from ChicMoto. I will go into detail on why I use them and what makes these car search websites so useful. So sit back and start clicking!

The 5 Best Car Search Websites

car search websites

And Tips On How To Use Them From ChicMoto

Popular Car Search Websites

1. Autotrader

I have used Autotrader for years. I found my 2002 Audi TT for $20,000 with 13,000 miles from Autotrader. I mean what a deal! My car is in perfect condition and it came that way. It also came with a custom interior and manual shift locker. All thanks to my find on Autotrader. Autotrader is the perfect website for independent car sales; Meaning you deal with one-on-one dealers and not an entire dealership or manufacturer. When I found my Audi, I immediately was drawn to the price and mileage. Thinking it was too good to be true, I envisioned the car to be in horrible condition. When I went to the seller, a guy in his mid 30’s, he said his wife loved the car but they had another child on the way and had to get rid of it. The car was immaculate and I just got lucky! Therefore, after that first purchase, I have used Autotrader on many others and even informed friends on how to use this site.

Like I’ve said, Autotrader is a perfect tool if you are looking for cars from a direct seller. The site includes cars from manufacturers, but most of them are going to be sold privately. This means you get the experience of a one-on-one sale with the owner (potentially originally owner!). I think this is what differs Autotrader from other sites and I love independent selling. That’s the only way I sell cars! I never trade-in, I only sell direct.

The only downside to private selling is the lack of quick communication. Since car manufacturers have a staff of sales reps just waiting for your call, or waiting for you to come to their showroom, private sellers sell at their convenience. You usually have to set up an appointment to meet with them and view the car. But I think it’s worth it because you are able to ask questions directly to the person who last drove the car. Word of advice, only consider the cars that show pictures on the website. People who can’t take the time (or won’t take the time) to post pictures of what they are selling usually aren’t true sellers. Pictures speak a thousand words!


2. CarMax

CarMax is a very popular website for all kinds of car searches. Similar to Autotrader, you can search for all sorts of cars. Unlike Autotrader, these cars are from CarMax and have to be purchased on site. I know you have seen tons of CarMax manufacturers with thousands of cars in the lot and that is what you will be dealing with. Tons of sales reps and tons of choices. If car sales reps intimate you, then stick to Autotrader. Since you are purchasing the car at a CarMax dealership, you will want to know your facts before they start selling. That way you won’t be haggled by their games, and you can keep everyone on point. I have helpful information on how to confidently purchase a car that you might want to check out before approaching a dealership like this. But in the meantime, I know CarMax is very popular. It has a wide selection of vehicles plus you have the option to trade in your current car for a new one. And the website allows you to sell your car to them. So whether you are looking for a new car, or just looking to sell your old car, CarMax has the best of both options if you can handle the sales reps and inventory. Just jot down a list of what you want before you enter, otherwise, you could be there for days!


Classic Car Search Websites

3. Hemmings

If you are a classic car lover like me, then you will love this site! Built for classic car searches only, this site will take you back to the 1915 Ford Model T all the way thru to a 1969 Jaguar E-Type and beyond. The perfect site for all things classic, including engines, tires, and other items for sale. The great thing about this website is that it includes classic cars but also includes classic parts for sale like engines, radios, even old hanging stop lights. You can seriously get lost in this website. Like the show American Pickers, you can spend hours picking away at Hemmings. The only downside to this car search website, in my opening, is the photo viewing. But hey, if that is the only thing that bugs me, then this car search website is definitely search friendly.


Newer Car Search Websites

4. Autotempest

Autotempest is the perfect car search website if you are looking for direct sellers vs. manufacturers. It takes car searches from sites likes eBay,, or CarsDirect, and merges them into one easy-to-navigate system. It even brings in car searches off Craigslist. While I have never personally used this site before, five minutes into clicking around and I feel confident in what I am doing. Autotempest offers the viewer to look at buying a car, selling a car, or finding a car. It even gives you tips on car buying/selling, along with checklists, do’s/don’ts, and much more. Autotempest has the total blog feel. It gives you information you would normally get from a car blog but offers an additional buy/sell tab. I guess the only downside to this car search website is that you will find more manufacturer sales than independent sellers. But at least they are well managed!


5. Autolist

Last but not least is Autolist. The first time I used this website I was immediately blown away. I love the layout, I love the information it provides, and I love how easy it is to navigate the website. It also breaks up cars into different sections, like “family vehicles under $10,000” or “fast coupes under $15,000”. What a great idea! Plus the front page scrolls to different body type selections, with pictures, and top manufacturers. This site gives Autotrader a run for its money. It offers searchers to view cars from manufacturers and independent sellers; with independent sellers being more popular. Autolist is a newer company. They are a small company (for now) and have a fantastic website. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top next year; Autotrader or Autolist?


Car search websites are so useful. A couple years ago, before the internet and smartphones were created, people bought cars solely from word-of-mouth or driving by a manufacturer and noticing something they liked. In today’s society, we have the luxury of searching for everything, including cars. There is no need to start the search at a manufacturer when you can hop online, look at different options, narrow your search down, and then visit a dealership. It is amazing what technology can do for us. Be thankful for this great technology because it has changed the car buying process, and will continue to better it in the future.

Whether you have a car to be sold or are looking for that next lifetime car, do some research first on these top websites to help narrow your search. It is awesome what a great website can accomplish.

As always I would love to hear from you! Tell me about your car search experience. Have you used any of the car search websites above? If so, what did you like/did not like about them? Are you excited to try more? Give a couple of these websites a try the next time you are in the search mood and let me know how it goes. Hopefully, one of them will lead you to your next dream car!

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