Remember when buying a car meant spending hours going from dealership to dealership?

Researching price, consumer reports, and rebates required collecting a multitude of magazines, newspaper articles, and books… to say the least, buying a car could be quite a cumbersome process.

Now with the rise of the Internet, the experience of buying a car has drastically changed. Consumers are able to access information unlike ever before, making them far more educated and savvy. Today’s buyers never even have to step foot inside a dealership, if they so choose.

But even if you prefer to take a test drive and touch the leather steering wheel before you sign on the dotted line, there are so many reasons to buy a car online.

Cost Efficiency

The most important reason you’ll want to shop online is for price. Shopping online gives you the chance to compare price quotes from dealerships, scope out discounts, check against invoice prices, as well as find hidden rebates. With a little digging, you can even discover your dealership’s true cost for whichever car you’re looking to buy.  This knowledge will give you more power when it comes time to negotiate.

If you’re still on the fence about the exact vehicle you’d like to purchase, there’s a variety of tools right at your fingertips to help you to make an educated decision. You can browse for consumer reports, safety ratings, recalls, and crash tests, just to name a few. Most manufacturers’ sites even have a 360-degree view of their models. This way, you can compare body styles, paint, and other details. You can even find reviews and video tours. All of it done without ever leaving the comfort of your home.

Time is of the essence

There is even more you can do to save time (or even eliminate time altogether) at the dealership. Consider looking into your finance options, apply for a loan, or pull your credit report. You can also easily estimate your monthly payments by entering in the number of months you plan to pay and your down payment using a free online calculator.

Expanding the horizon

Ever consider purchasing your next car from out of state? Expanding your search nationwide could help you save on price and sales tax. This can be an especially useful option if you plan on buying used. There are many sites that allow you to buy directly from the seller, giving you the power to negotiate price. If you live in an area with harsh weather, buying out of state can help you find a car in better condition.

Once you know exactly which car you plan to buy, you’ll need to determine how to get it to your home. You might want to compare a few auto shipping companies that offer an online vehicle tracking system and free car shipping quotes.

Check customer reviews and be sure to ask if they offer door-to-door auto transport. Most importantly, keep your focus on safety over price. Be sure your investment reaches you in the same condition it left in!