The world of pre-owned car buying has shifted recently, as online auto retailers like Clutch have arrived to offer drivers the convenience of car buying online. 

But there is still some uncertainty to the online car-buying experience, leading some shoppers to stick with traditional brick-and-mortar dealerships.

Which is better, then? Shopping online or at a dealership? While Clutch is an online retailer, we understand that online car buying isn’t for everyone. Below we outline the key pros and cons of car buying online so you can decide if an online experience is right for you.

Pro: Car Buying Without Going to the Dealership

With the work-from-home future digging its heels in and more and more workers conducting their business online, people have grown accustomed to doing other things online, too. Things like ordering groceries, shopping for clothes, even purchasing major household appliances. It’s only natural, then, that car buying would go digital, too. 

And the convenience of online car buying is clear: buyers can comfortably shop from their living room, office, kitchen table, or even a coffee shop to buy the pre-owned car of their dreams. 

It’s not just about saving time, gas, or trips to multiple dealerships, either. Shopping online also allows you to make a relaxed and informed decision because you can perform all of your research in your own time.

Con: You Can’t Physically Inspect the Vehicle

One drawback to online car shopping, however, is that you can’t physically view the vehicle and see all of its defects in person. This can leave people feeling uneasy, wondering what hidden defects will rear up once they finally receive their new car.

To address that concern, Clutch has devised a number of solutions to help ease your mind. 

The first is our 210-inspection and reconditioning process, which identifies even the smallest defects and either repairs them or calls them out in our website’s vehicle display page.

Which leads us to our second point. Rather than downplay these defects, you’ll see them highlighted loudly in yellow circles across our 360º vehicle photography. And if you click on any of these “hotspots,” you’ll see a high-resolution, close-up image of the defect. This leaves you with no surprises when the vehicle arrives.

Plus, all of our vehicle pages display a complete inspection report and free Carfax vehicle history report detailing any reported accident history and all the previous owners, so you’ll know if the vehicle has had any significant damage. In many cases, that’s more transparency than you’ll get at a dealership.

And if a vehicle does arrive with any damages we may have missed, you can always reject the delivery or return it within our 10-day (or 750-km) test-own period and we’ll come pick it up. No questions asked.

Finally, all Clutch cars are covered by a free 90-day (or 6,000 km) warranty.

Pro: No Used Car Salespeople to Deal With

Let’s face it: having a used car salesperson following you around a dealership can feel stressful to some, making them feel pushed into buying a car that they don’t necessarily love. While most car salespeople legitimately have their customers’ best interests in mind, this is a natural response that some car shoppers have.

As Canada’s first-ever 100% online used car retailer, there are no salespeople to follow you around. We pride ourselves on our haggle-free, transparent, and seamless car buying experience.

However, if you wish to speak with someone, help is just a phone call away at 647-493-3760 if you need additional information on a vehicle or the car buying process. You can also chat with us online.

Con: You Can’t Test Drive the Vehicle Before Buying it

The test drive is a big part of the pre-owned car buying experience. You want to see how the vehicle drives to ensure there are no lingering issues and that it drives as you expect. At an online car dealership, you don’t have the opportunity to drive the vehicle before buying it.

At Clutch, we offer peace of mind with our  10-day (or 750-km) test-own period. Which means that if you don’t love how the vehicle drives within this period, you can return it and take advantage of our no-questions-asked money-back guarantee. 

How’s that for a test drive?

On top of all this, we include a 90-day (or 6,000 km) warranty on every vehicle. We also offer up to an eight-year extended warranty for longer-term peace of mind.

Pro: The Vehicle Is Delivered to Your Home or Workplace

Normally after buying a pre-owned vehicle, you have to sit around waiting for the dealership to perform an inspection and detail it. In some cases, you have to return hours later or the next day, adding to the inconvenience of car shopping in a physical showroom.

At Clutch, once you choose the perfect car for you, you simply select a delivery day and time. We’ll prepare your vehicle and deliver it where you are—whether it’s your home, your workplace, a friend’s house, or anyplace else. This adds an extra layer of convenience to the whole car-buying experience.

Con: I Won’t Get a Fair Trade-In Value for my Current Car

When you go to a used car dealership, they will whisk your trade-in vehicle away to do a full inspection and come back with a firm offer. This gives you the confidence that the offer is fair and in line with the market.

When car buying online, this kind of upfront inspection isn’t possible. Which is why many online retailers will make you a contingent offer and potentially lower it after an in-person inspection. Using Clutch’s online trade-in valuation tool, we give you a firm trade-in offer upfront so you know exactly how much you’ll get for it.

Plus, even if you don’t buy a car from us, you can always just sell your vehicle to us using that trade-in value.

Pro: A Huge Selection of Vehicles

Online used car retailers don’t have to worry about customers coming by the dealership, so there’s no need for a large showroom and customer area taking up valuable real estate. Instead, we can dedicate more space to adding additional vehicles to our inventory.

This gives Clutch a massive inventory of literally thousands of high-quality pre-owned vehicles from all the major automakers, including:

  • Honda
  • Toyota
  • Audi
  • BMW
  • Chevrolet
  • Chrysler
  • GMC
  • Hyundai
  • Kia
  • Lexus
  • Volkswagen
  • Ford
  • Nissan
  • And more

We also have all the vehicle types you could ever want, including coupes, sedans, convertibles, pickup trucks, SUVs, vans, and more.

Con: I Can’t Negotiate a Better Price

Some people consider themselves shrewd negotiators, bargainers, and hagglers—experts at getting dealerships to lower their prices. For this type of person, buying a car online may not sound all that appealing: there is no simply no salesperson to haggle with.

But consider this: at Clutch, no dealerships means no dealership expenses, which helps keep our overhead low and allows us to pass those savings on to you. So, rather than try to haggle down the dealership rate, you can rest assured you’re getting a competitive price in the first place.

Plus, Clutch can also finance the vehicle for you. Simply fill out our online pre-qualification form and find out what you’re approved for in less than 24 hours, eliminating yet another hassle from the car-buying experience.

Pro: Puts the Excitement Back into Buying Your Next Car

Buying a car should be an exciting process, but heading from dealership to dealership shopping for a car can end up wearing you down. With Clutch’s large pre-owned car inventory, financing, trade-in evaluator, and available extended warranties, you can complete the entire process stress-free in one shot at home.

This stress-free environment will keep the excitement of buying your next car intact throughout the entire process.

Find Your Pre-Owned Dream Car at Clutch

Ready to make a stress-free car-buying decision? Clutch, Canada’s largest online used car retailer, is ready to deliver with its expansive inventory of quality pre-owned vehicles. Whether you need a thrifty Toyota or a fun-to-drive Porsche, we have it all under one (online) roof.

Visit us today to see how choosing to buy online can completely change the car-buying process.