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Carvana is an online-only marketplace of used vehicles that aims to make the car-buying process less stressful. The website allows shoppers to complete the entire buying process on a computer or phone.
Here’s how to use
Carvana, from applying for financing to finalizing a purchase and getting a car delivered.
Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky
Carvana’s online marketplace of preowned vehicles gives shoppers access to thousands of used cars across the country. Although buying a car on the site isn’t too dissimilar from how a used car lot functions, it’s far less stressful than dealing directly with a salesperson.
If you’ve never bought a car online before, the process may seem more complex than it actually is. To help, we’ve laid out a step-by-step walkthrough of how to use Carvana, from browsing and making a purchase, to applying for in-house financing and setting up delivery.
How to search for a car on
On the Carvana homepage, click the “Search Cars” tab at the top of the screen to bring up its online database. Before selecting any of the filters on the following page, set your location by clicking the “Location” tab and entering your zip code. This automatically reloads the populated results to show cars available in your area.
With your location set, you can now select your desired options from the list of filters, including the monthly payments you wish to make, the make and model of the car you want, body type, what year it is, how much mileage is on it, and included features. You’re also able to select more specific filters like fuel type, number of engine cylinders, vehicle color, and transmission type.
The displayed search results automatically repopulate after each new filter is selected, allowing you to quickly see if the current matches are what you’re looking for or if you need to refine your search even further.
Each page of search results includes a quick snapshot of the vehicles that match your filters and provides information such as make, model, and year, as well as its total price, estimated monthly payment, mileage, trim version, and delivery cost.
Clicking on any of the search results brings up that car’s dedicated vehicle page, which includes more information about the car, photos (if there are any), specific delivery options, all of the features that are included, and its CarFax report.
There’s also an estimated payment calculator to show what the different monthly payments might be with financing, paying in cash, putting money down, or trading in a vehicle.
How to purchase a car through
To begin the process of buying a vehicle, click the “Get Started” button at the top of a car’s information page. If you’ve yet to create a Carvana account, it will then prompt you to do so. You can either create one through the Carvana site itself or sign up using a Facebook account.
You’ll then be taken to a purchase page where Carvana requires you to enter basic personal data such as your name, address, and driver’s license, as well as information about a vehicle trade-in (if you have one), whether you’ll pay in cash or apply for financing, and if you want it delivered or to pick it up in-person at a vehicle vending machine.
The entire process is estimated to take from 20 to 30 minutes. After reviewing your order, you can finalize your payment option to complete the purchase. It’s important to note that the process could take longer if you’re applying for financing, be it
in-house via Carvana or through a Carvana-approved preferred bank or credit union of your own.
How to sell or trade-in a car with
Carvana also allows you to sell or trade in a vehicle through the website, regardless of whether you plan to use the money toward a new vehicle or pocket the funds. To do this, click on the “Sell/Trade” tab at the top of the homepage.
You’ll then be asked to provide either your vehicle’s license plate number and the state where it’s registered or its VIN number to get a quoted offer. Even if you don’t have either of those available to include, Carvana can still offer an estimated quote based on the vehicle’s year, make, model, and trim type.
After receiving a quote, you can choose whether you want to accept the trade-in or sale of the vehicle. Then, Carvana will arrange to pick the car up directly from you. Once an on-site review of the vehicle is complete, Carvana will write a check for the amount of the vehicle or allow you to use the money to buy any of its used cars.
How to apply for in-house financing with
To inquire about Carvana’s in-house financing, navigate to the “Financing” tab on the website’s homepage. You’ll notice three different options when hovering over the pull-down menu. Here’s what’s located on each page:
Why finance with This page provides general information about the in-house financing process and the requirements to get pre-qualified. There is also a series of FAQs that cover a range of financing questions. Carvana:
Get prequalified: This is where you can see what kind of loan you might qualify for based on your information. Carvana advertises that shoppers can get pre-qualified in two minutes and submitting the form won’t impact credit score.
The terms displayed by Carvana include the loan amount, the number of months in its term, and the cost of the monthly payments.
Auto loan calculator: This third page provides a useful estimation tool that allows you to get an idea of what to expect before applying for a loan. You can input the price of the vehicle you’re looking at, your credit score range, the length of the loan term, and your expected down payment. It then provides an estimate of how much you’ll need to pay each month.
You can also check how much you’re able to afford based on your desired monthly payments.
How to use
Carvana’s Car Finder
If you’re unsure what type of car you want to buy, Carvana also has a tool for narrowing down what’s available. The Car Finder takes you through a questionnaire to determine the most important features for you, how much you want to pay, the body styles you prefer, and how many seats the car should have.
It then shows you the vehicle that most closely matches what you’re looking for, as well as a percentage for how close the match is and suggestions of other similar vehicles. You can restart the questionnaire to adjust the answers.