Information highway for cars

Most manufacturers have excellent Web sites. On these sites, you will be able to view the different makes and models, along with available options.

Jeffrey B. Dalin, DDS

Most manufacturers have excellent Web sites. On these sites, you will be able to view the different makes and models, along with available options.

According to J.D. Power and Associates, 54 percent of new vehicle buyers will access the Internet for research. Almost 5 percent will actually purchase a car online. These statistics are almost double those from one year ago. The Web is a great resource for almost anything, and is one of the best tools you can use to research cars.

Most auto manufacturers have excellent Web sites. You can view the different makes and models, along with available options. However, these sites do not offer the option of pricing out or purchase a car; auto manufacturers want you to visit one of their dealers.

Pick a new vehicle, and a Web site like Carpoint will give you specifications, safety features, crash-test results, and will compare it to a competitor's model. Sites like Kelly's Blue Book and Edmunds give dealer invoice prices that can aid you in the negotiation process. These sites also help you determine at what price you will list your old car.

Autobytel, Autoweb, Carpoint (with more than 5,000 affiliated dealers), Carsdirect, and Greenlight (with more than 2,500 affiliated dealers) will track down the car you want and refer you to a dealer who will sell it for the price you want.

Other sites of interest include Lending Tree, where you can finance your new car, and Insweb, which gives quotes from different auto insurance companies.

Don't rush out and buy a car without doing some research first. Get a price quote from one or more of the above Web sites. These quotes are free and without obligation. You can go to the dealership that gave you the quote and either agree on that price or negotiate further. You can also shop this quoted price around to other dealerships and see if anyone else is willing to beat it.

This process is still not a substitute for actually visiting a showroom and test-driving the car of your dreams. Unless you actually want to purchase your car online, using the Internet is merely a way to research a purchase ahead of your visit to the dealer; it also helps to establish a fair price for your purchase. Fasten your seat belt and enjoy your ride along the cyberspace superhighway!

  • Autobytel: www.autobytel.com
  • Autotrader:www.autotrader. com
  • Autoweb: www.autoweb.com
  • Car Order: www.carorder.com
  • Carpoint: carpoint.msn.com
  • Car Prices: www.carprices.com
  • Cars: www.cars.com
  • Cars Direct:www.carsdirect.com
  • Cartalk: www.cartalk.com
  • Edmunds: www.edmunds.com
  • Epinions:www.epinions.com/auto_Make
  • Greenlight.com: www.greenlight.com
  • InsWeb: www.insweb.com
  • Intellichoice:www.intellichoice.com
  • Invoice Dealers:www.invoicedealers.com
  • Kelly's Blue Book:www.kbb.com
  • Lending Tree:www.lendingtree.com

Jeffrey B. Dalin, DDS, FACD, FAGD, practices general dentistry in St. Louis. He also is the editor of St. Louis Dentistry Magazine and spokesperson and critical-issue-response-team chairperson for the Greater St. Louis Dental Society. His address on the Internet is www.dfdasmiles.com. Contact him by e-mail at jeff@dfdasmiles.com, by phone at (314) 567-5612, or fax at (314) 567-9047.

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