You can buy just about anything online these days, including automobiles. From local dealerships to sellers who are across the country, it is possible to find the car that you want on the Internet. In order to make sure you get the very best deal for that vehicle, it pays to employ these four basic strategies for buying cars online.

Check the Car History

Whether you are considering a vehicle you noticed on the site of a dealer who is two towns over, or from an auction by a seller who lives in the next state, ask for the Vehicle Identification Number. Your reason for wanting the number is to conduct your own background check into the car. Obtaining the VIN allows you to verify data such as odometer readings, accident histories and even if the car has been through a natural disaster and salvaged. Researching the car history is a simple way to gain leverage in negotiations.

Cars On The Web: Tips For Buying Discounted Cars On The Internet

Ask for More Images

You can bet that the images used for the ad show the vehicle at its best. Does the car look just as good from other angles? The only way to know for sure is ask for more photos. For example, if the ad only includes photos of the exterior driver side, you want to see images of the interior and the passenger side. If the seller balks at supplying more images, that could mean trouble. Take that as a sign to move on to another deal.

Know Who You Are Dealing With

When you do come across a car on an auction site, a dealer website or even a listing in a classifieds site like Craigslist, take some time to find out a little more about the seller first. This means checking the feedback on the person auctioning off the car, or seeing what the local business bureau has in the way of complaints about the dealer. Always verify that the seller has the title in hand, ready to sign over if you make the purchase. Certified dealer websites can be a great option as they have a reputation at stake. Whether you’re looking for a Mazda 2 in Kansas City for a Toyota Camry in San Francisco, the sheer number of dealer websites out there guarantee you can find what you want.

No Checks or Cash

Never send cash or a check for the payment, and don’t wire the funds. Doing so leaves you with little to no recourse if the car is not as promised or is never delivered. Your best bet is to use a credit card or a secure service like PayPal. If something goes wrong, your liability is limited and you may even be able to recoup any money that you’ve already sent.

Buying a discounted car online is a great way to find what you want for a decent price. All it takes is patience and the effort to make sure you know the deal is a good one. Remember to shop smart and you will be happy with the outcome.