Buy a Used Car Through Carvana in 10 Easy Steps!
If you’ve come across a Carvana listing during your car search or passed a Carvana vending machine on the highway, you might be wondering what the used car retailer is and how it works. Carvava presents itself as a new way to buy a car. But is it better than the old way? We did the research to help you decide.
First, the basics of what Carvana is: Carvana is an online car retailer that allows you to purchase a new car completely online without setting foot in a used car dealership. While buying a car online might seem unsettling, it has become an attractive purchase option and has gained popularity in the covid era. But given the amount of time you spend in the car dealership during the car buying process and all the paperwork that goes along with it, you might also be wondering how buying a car online is even possible.
We have the answers to all your questions to help you understand how the online car buying process works. Here’s what happens if you decide to skip the dealership and buy a car through Carvana:
It will also ask if you are trading in a car. If you do have a trade-in, you can enter your vehicle’s VIN or license plate and answer a few quick questions to get an instant offer. You can then better estimate how much you will put toward your down payment. (Check out our article about Selling a Car to Carvana that details the process).
Each listing on Carvana.com includes 360-degree photos and clearly states any imperfections such as dents or dings that the vehicle might have. Every listing also links to a free CARFAX history report that provides helpful information like accident history, maintenance records, odometer readings, and if it was used for personal or commercial purposes.
Carvana only sells vehicles that have only had one owner that have never been in a reported accident, so the CARFAX report should verify that information. Each Carvana vehicle is subject to a 150-point inspection, and the results are posted with each listing. Lastly, each vehicle is backed by a 100-day, 4,189-mile limited warranty.
If you were purchasing a vehicle through a traditional dealership, now would likely be the time that you’d test drive it to see if it matches your needs. When you buy a car with Carvana, you forego a traditional test drive. Instead, you test drive the vehicle when it’s delivered (we’ll get to that later). If this scares you from proceeding, know that each Carvana vehicle comes with a seven-day money-back guarantee. Think of this return policy as an extended test-drive in your day-to-day environment.
After you enter your personal details, it will ask you if you have a trade-in. If “yes,” then press the “get offer” button, if “no,” then select “I don’t have a trade-in.” If you created an account and already have an offer on your vehicle, then your offer will load. (We had to enter our vehicle information in again, which wasn’t a big deal because it only takes a couple of minutes.) Your offer will be good for one week. After you have your offer, you’ll apply your trade-in to your purchase and complete the process with the purchase of your vehicle.
The next step is to enter how you plan to purchase your vehicle with one of three financing options. You can select “finance through Carvana,” “pay with cash,” or “third-party financing” from an outside lender such as a bank or credit union. It’s also worth noting that the listed car price is final with no room for negotiation as Carvana provides no-haggle pricing. Financing through Carvana
If you opt to finance through Carvana, it will ask you to enter your date of birth and income. Then they will perform a soft credit check, which won’t harm your credit score, and provide you with a pre-qualified financing offer for your auto loan. The default is a 72-month loan, the maximum allowed, which you can shorten. This offer will be valid for 45 days.
Keep in mind that Carvana provides financing to even customers with bad credit who might otherwise have trouble securing financing from outside lenders. While there is no minimum credit score required, you must make at least $833 per month to qualify for financing. Also, you might be at least 18 years old and no co-signers or co-applicants are allowed.
Paying With Outside Financing
You should have your pre-qualification ready and your information handy. You will need to enter your loan details during this part of the purchase process.
Paying with Cash
If you’re paying with cash you will select that option and proceed to the next step.
While many Carvana vehicles offer free delivery, we found that despite being in a major market, some used SUVs in our search had a $590 delivery fee. You still have to pay this fee if you pick up your vehicle from the vending machine.
If you select “touchless delivery”, it will provide you with the soonest date you can pick up the vehicle. You will finalize the delivery date in the final step of the car buying process.
If you are visiting the vending machine for your vehicle, you will select your preferred pickup location. Then you will finalize a date at the end of the car buying process.
Upon delivery, you can take the vehicle on a test drive to make sure there are no surprises and that you like the vehicle. You should have the vehicle inspected by a mechanic during your seven-day trial period, which will begin when you approve the vehicle. Once you approve, Carvana will authorize your down payment withdrawal. On the sixth day, you will get a phone call asking if you are happy with your purchase or if you want to return it.
If you are picking up your Carvana car from the vending machine, the process is the same. Except, of course, at the time of your appointment you will be handed an oversized coin from a Carvana employee and you get to watch your vehicle descend from a tower. You will also get to take your vehicle for a spin before accepting your car purchase and filling out the requisite paperwork.
If you are trading in a vehicle, it will be appraised at the time of your delivery or pickup from the vending machine. The value you received online should not change provided the information was accurate. Your trade-in will then be picked up when your vehicle is delivered, or you will drop it off at the vending machine location. Carvana will hold your car during your seven-day trial period in case you decide to return your vehicle.
So what’s the best place to buy a used car? Keep in mind that there are also other online retailers to consider when looking for used cars for sale. We compared the two biggest players in the online car buying business here in our Carvana Vs. VROOM guide. You can also compare Carvana to the largest used car retailer CarMax in our CarMax Vs. Carvana guide. Carvana vehicle inventory appears on the iSeeCars.com car search engine, and you can filter to “online-only cars” to easily find the car you are looking for.
If you’re interested in a new car or a used car, be sure to check out iSeeCars’ award-winning car search engine. It uses advanced algorithms to help shoppers find the best car deals across all vehicle types and provides key insights and valuable resources, like the iSeeCars VIN check report. It also includes inventory from online car retailers like Carvana. Filter by make, model, price, and special features to find the best deal on your next vehicle.