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Online Car Buying F.A.Q.

Online car buying helps many save thousands on new or used cars. Can it help you too?

This FAQ answers the most common questions about online car buying. For further info, check our longer car buying guide.


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Capital One Auto Finance offers the lowest auto loan rates in the country, for people with all types of credit ratings.

Apply with Capital One whether you are buying a new or used car, or even if you are buying from an individual. Whatever your choice, you will save thousands.

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Online car buying

1. How does an online car buying service work?
You enter the make, model, and year vehicle you're looking for, and narrow the search down by price range and geographical location. After you've found something you like, you can either contact the seller or ask to be contacted. It's that easy. Try it.

2. What are the advantages of buying online?
Low price, no haggling, and plenty of cars to choose from.

3. What's the best way to use an online car buying service?
Set your area and price ranges large. (50 extra miles or a couple hundred dollars isn't too much for a dream car.) And act fast: some cars sell within hours, so let a seller know you're interested and get the ball rolling.

4. Where can I use my loan to buy a car?
Auto loans by Capital One and Eloan can be used to purchase a new or used car from any franchised dealership (those authorized by a particular manufacturer to sell their new cars). Capital One also offers person-to-person car loans that you can use to buy a used car from any titled owner.

5. What kind of car can I buy?
Almost any new car, and most used cars, with some vehicle age and mileage restrictions. No commercial vehicles.

6. Should I pick out a car before I apply for a car loan?
You can, but you don't have to. You may prefer to shop after you've been approved, because you'll have greater bargaining power, and the ability to buy quickly.

7. How should I negotiate vehicle price?
Consumer advocates recommend negotiating vehicle price separate from financing costs to be sure you're getting the best deal. With direct financing, you can shop for the best price without mixing in financing costs.

8. Can I include extra costs in my car loan?
If you're buying from a dealership, you can include any taxes and fees associated with the purchase in your principal amount. With a person-to-person loan, you'll need to cover those costs separately.

9. What if I need a higher loan amount?
Simply notify your lender via email or telephone, and you'll be re-approved for the higher amount. (This can affect the rate you were originally quoted.)

10. Are online auto loans good in all fifty states?
Yes, although Eloan does not offer auto loans in Alaska, Hawaii, and Illinois, while Capital One does not operate in New Hampshire or North Dakota. So it's either one or the other if you live in one of these five states.

11. How long do I have to buy a car?
Capital One allows you to lock-in your interest rate for 45 days. Eloan offers locks of 30 or 45 days, depending on the loan.