Buying or selling a used car can be a daunting prospect for most people, but Carvana does make it easier. Their business model is based on not owning physical car lots, instead, they operate a user-friendly and efficient online trading platform.
Carvana offers buyers and sellers excellent prices by keeping costs low. However, sellers may do better by selling privately, and buyers may pay a little more than when buying directly. Carvana’s process is fast, hassle-free, backed by a seven-day return policy and a 100 day or 4,000-mile limited warranty.
To determine how good your deal is depends on how much effort you are willing to invest in searching for the best deal. Carvana does not pretend to be the cheapest but rather the most convenient. Let’s look at some aspects of buying and selling with Carvana.
Buying Or Selling From Carvana – The Process
Online used car buying and selling platforms are a convenient way to save you the legwork of finding a good deal. Carvana and other used car companies offer easy-to-use websites or mobile applications to help you search for the best value, whether you are buying or selling.
Carvana will make you an offer online within minutes of providing them with your vehicle details. You will have to have the following information ready to provide:
- The current mileage of your car
- Vehicle make and model year of first registration
- The area where you live. A ZIP code will suffice at this stage
- Your vehicle color
- The main features of your vehicle
- Accident and service history
- Any mechanical issues
- Any exterior damage
- Whether you allow smoking in the car
- Any other general conditions
- Outstanding loan status
Based on this information, Carvana will make you an offer within minutes. If Carvana is interested in buying your car, they will make you a cash offer in writing valid for seven days and conditional upon a physical inspection by their appointed staff.
If you accept their offer, they will arrange for the inspection of your vehicle to take place and make a payment directly to you. Carvana was founded in 2012 and has been very good at shaking up the used car market with agility and fair prices.
If you are looking at buying a used car from Carvana, you will need to do your needs analysis to determine what your search criteria are going to be. Using their website or mobile application, you can enter the following search parameters:
- Your targeted price range
- What body-style you would prefer – Small SUV, Sedan, Pickup etcetera
- What Model Year you are looking for
- What is the maximum mileage car that you would consider
- Which type of features are required
- Gasoline, Diesel or Electric
- What gas mileage or cost per mile are you looking for
- Your preferred color choice
- Engine type – 4, 6, 8 cylinder
- Transmission – Automatic or Manual
- Front-wheel drive, All wheel drive, Rear wheel drive or 4×4
These inputs will allow them to give you a list of available cars that most closely fit your given criteria. You can see multiple photographs of the actual vehicles and have the ability to do a 360-degree rotation on the screen. You can zoom in and look at critical areas up close.
Unfortunately, you are not able to test-drive vehicles from Carvana before deciding to buy one. However, you do have the assurance that they have conducted a comprehensive 150-point inspection and will provide you with a seven-day return policy. If you can live with this, the deal can proceed.
You will have to indicate your interest in buying online and provide them with all the relevant details to make the deal happen. You will be required to provide your details, whether you intend to trade in a used vehicle and how you will be financing the deal.
Carvana will offer to deliver the vehicle to you or you can collect the car from their nearest Carvana Vehicle Vending Location. If you are required to travel to this location by air, Carvana will subsidize the cost of your ticket by $200. One of their representatives will pick you up at the airport and take you to the collection location.
Carvana can also offer you in-house financing as they partner with many credit institutions. Still, I would recommend that you arrange your finance and insurance with your bank to compare costs. Convenience comes at a price, and any additional services and value-added offers will be costly.
The ease with which you can do your online research makes it worthwhile using multiple online used car portals, and companies such as CarMax, Kelley Blue Book, and CarFax are also highly rated by consumers that have used them. With all these companies, customer service is of critical performance.
Customers with bad experiences have a far more detrimental effect on the brand value of used car companies like Carvana. Their processes are designed to be efficient and transparent. They will not risk their reputation and have a well-established mechanism to treat customers who are unhappy with their purchase.
Established in 2012, Carvana is a relative newcomer to the used car buying and selling market. Still, they differentiate themselves from others by offering the convenience of good deals without the need for too much legwork.
Consumer rating agencies Trustpilot.com and ConsumerAffairs.com have rated Carvana as a three-star performer based on over 5,000 respondents. Kelly Blue Book, CarFax, and CarMax are other online used car companies with ratings higher than Carvana.
Carvana has received many glowing reports from customers using their services and has developed a loyal supporter base. The key to customer satisfaction lies in how well you prepare yourself. Conduct a thorough needs analysis of your mobility needs and define how much you can afford to spend.
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John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer on Rustyautos.com. He’s been a mechanic for over twenty-five years and has worked for GM, Volvo, Volkswagen, Land Rover, and Jaguar dealerships.
John uses his know-how and experience to write fluff-free articles that help fellow gearheads with all aspects of vehicle ownership, including maintenance, repair, and troubleshooting.