You have permission to edit this article.
Car shopping options abound

Car shopping options abound

  • 0
Only $5 for 5 months

Less traditional car-buying options include buying from a rental car fleet, tapping into group auto buying programs through retailers such as Costco or Sam's Club and scouring online with brick-and-mortar car auctions.

If buying a car for your teenager is uncharted territory, take a page from the playbook employed this summer by two of my kids.

Each bought a new car in July and each used different tactics to find the best deal for their money. My daughter worked with a car broker who worked the auctions, while my son found what he wanted through Costco.

Sure, many parents avoid the car lots altogether in favor of negotiating with a neighbor down the street or with someone posting online.

But there are options you might not have thought about, including buying from a rental car fleet, tapping into group auto buying programs through retailers such as Costco or Sam's Club, and scouring online with brick-and-mortar car auctions.

Keeping the coronavirus in mind, take precautions to make sure you're safe in a vehicle that may have been touched by plenty of other shoppers.

Here are some pros and cons to other car-buying strategies:

Buying programs

Who is one of the top sellers of vehicles in the United States? Try Costco.

The company connects members with a network of participating dealerships that offer money-saving deals on new and used vehicles. About 3,000 dealerships are in Costco's program.

Sam's Club, AAA and others also offer auto buying services as a perk to members. They all work essentially the same way, with online tools to streamline the shopping process. The key advantage — these services take the haggling out of the equation.

With Costco, for example, members plug their preferred new or used vehicle into the directory, including make, model and model year, and local participating dealers come back with offers. Costco says members save an average of $1,000 on a typical transaction.

If buying used, those cars must have undergone a thorough inspection, with necessary repairs.

Downsides? Membership comes at a price, though not steep: $60 at Costco, and $45 at Sam's Club, for example. The dealers with the best deals may not be the most convenient, and keep in mind you will only see cars offered by participating dealers --in other words, not all the cars that fit your criteria.


With Hertz trying to sell thousands of cars at huge discounts, now might be a good time to kick the tires at rental car companies.

Pay attention to the number of miles on a vehicle. Experts say aim for a car with no more than 15,000 miles. Where those miles occur is key; rental cars are often driven on long trips over highways. It makes sense — driving on smoother highways generally means much less wear and tear than than stop-and-go city traffic.


While online auctions will sometimes turn up sweet deals, experts recommend shopping at brick-and-mortar auctions in your area. According to NerdWallet, vehicles usually sell for trade-in value which can be much cheaper than the sticker price at a dealership.

Some auctions are strictly for brokers who are affiliated with dealerships. Brokers, however, build their fee into the price, plus there could be shipping costs if the vehicle is coming from afar.

An alternative: Look for public auctions that don't require a dealer license. In some cases, you may have to pay a fee to bid.

Experts recommend observing the action several times to get a grasp of the rapid-fire process. If you're friends with an auto mechanic or a car buff, invite them along.

But beware, you may not get much time to inspect the vehicle you're interested in, and if you are successful, a deposit is required on the spot and full payment is generally due in 24 hours.


Questions, comments, column ideas? Send an email to

Questions, comments, column ideas? Send an email to

Be the first to know

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Actor Nita Talbot is 90. Actor Dustin Hoffman is 83. Actor Connie Stevens is 82. Country singer Phil Balsley of The Statler Brothers is 81. Actor Larry Wilcox ("CHiPS") is 73. Actor Keith Carradine ("Madam Secretary") is 71. Drummer Anton Fig ("Late Show With David Letterman") is 67. Actor Donny Most ("Happy Days") is 67. Keyboardist Dennis Drew of 10,000 Maniacs is 63. Actor-turned-investment banker Harry Crosby ("Friday the 13th") is 62. News anchor Deborah Norville is 62. Guitarist The Edge of U2 is 59. Drummer Rikki Rockett of Poison is 59. Rapper Kool Moe Dee is 58. Singer Scott Stapp of Creed is 47. Country singer Mark Wills is 47. Guitarist Tom Linton of Jimmy Eat World is 45. Singer J.C. Chasez of 'N Sync is 44. Singer Drew Lachey of 98 Degrees is 44. Actor Tawny Cypress ("Heroes") is 44. Singer Marsha Ambrosius (Floetry) is 43. Actor Lindsay Sloane ("Sabrina the Teenage Witch") is 43. Actor Countess Vaughn ("The Parkers," "Moesha") is 42. Actor Michael Urie ("Ugly Betty") is 40. Actor Meagan Good ("Think Like a Man") is 39. Guitarist Eric Howk of Portugal. The Man is 39. Actor Jackie Cruz ("Orange Is the New Black") is 36. Singer Shawn Mendes is 22. Actor Bebe Wood ("The Real O’Neals") is 19.

Actor Loni Anderson is 75. Actor Erica Slezak ("One Life to Live") is 74. Singer Rick Derringer is 73. Actor Holly Palance ("Under Fire," "The Omen") is 70. Singer Samantha Sang is 69. Guitarist Eddie Ojeda of Twisted Sister is 65. Actor Maureen McCormick ("The Brady Bunch") is 64. Guitarist Pat Smear of Foo Fighters is 61. Actor Tawny Kitaen is 59. Country fiddler Mark O’Connor is 59. Actor Mark Strong ("The Imitation Game") is 57. Director James Gunn ("Guardians of the Galaxy") is 54. Actor Jonathan Silverman ("The Single Guy") is 54. Country singer Terri Clark is 52. Actor Stephanie Szostak ("A Million Little Things") is 49. Cellist Eicca Toppinen of Apocalyptica is 45. Drummer Whit Sellers of Old Dominion is 42. Actor Jesse Williams ("Grey’s Anatomy") is 40. Actor Albert Tsai ("Dr. Ken") is 16. Actor Devin Trey Campbell ("Single Parents") is 12.

Actor Tina Cole ("My Three Sons") is 77. Actor-comedian Richard Belzer ("Law and Order: Special Victims Unit," "Homicide") is 76. Actor Billy Bob Thornton is 65. Actor Kym Karath ("The Sound of Music") is 62. Actor Lauren Tom ("Joy Luck Club," "Men in Trees") is 61. Producer Michael Gelman ("Live With Kelly and Ryan") is 59. Actor Crystal Chappell ("Guiding Light") is 55. Drummer Rob Cieka of Boo Radleys is 52. Actor Daniel Dae Kim ("Hawaii Five-O," "Lost") is 52. Actor Michael Deluise ("Gilmore Girls," "NYPD Blue") is 51. Rapper Yo-Yo ("Miss Rap Supreme") is 49. Singer-actor Marques Houston of Immature is 39. Actor-turned-princess Meghan Markle ("Suits") is 39. "American Idol" runner-up Crystal Bowersox is 35. Singer Tom Parker of The Wanted is 32. Actors Dylan and Cole Sprouse ("The Suite Life of Zack and Cody," "Grace Under Fire") are 28. "American Idol" runner-up Jessica Sanchez is 25.

NEW YORK — After repeatedly being denied service by high-end salons because her hair was perceived as “too difficult” to style, Kanessa Alexander took an unusual step. She opened a shop of her own in a predominantly white Boston neighborhood with four Black stylists serving all hair textures.

As colleges and universities announce their plans for the upcoming semester, many families are worried about footing the bill for a significantly different experience. Is it worth it to shell out tens of thousands of dollars — or to go into debt — for virtual learning that may not fit the style of the student? A few colleges are extending discounts for the arrangement, but many more are not — some are even charging more, even as millions find themselves in a far worse financial condition than they were when financial aid was granted.

Must be time to talk about dietary fiber. Last week I received this message: "Hello dear, can you send us some information about a low fiber diet? (My husband) is going in for a colonoscopy and was told to avoid fiber for 3 days before his test."

Children's music performer Ella Jenkins is 96. Actor-director Peter Bonerz is 82. Actor Louise Sorel ("Days of Our Lives") is 80. Actor Ray Buktenica ("Rhoda") is 77. Actor Dorian Harewood is 70. Actor Catherine Hicks ("Seventh Heaven") is 69. Singer Pat MacDonald of Timbuk 3 is 68. Actor Stepfanie Kramer ("Hunter") is 64. Actor Faith Prince is 63. Singer Randy DeBarge of DeBarge is 62. Actor Leland Orser ("ER") is 60. Actor Michelle Yeoh ("Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon") is 58. Country singers Peggy and Patsy Lynn of The Lynns are 56. Actor Jeremy Ratchford ("Cold Case") is 55. Actor Benito Martinez ("American Crime," "The Shield") is 52. Country singer Lisa Stewart is 52. Writer-director M. Night Shyamalan ("The Sixth Sense") is 50. Actor Merrin Dungey ("Summerland," "Alias") is 49. Singer Geri Halliwell Horner of Spice Girls is 48. Actor Jason O’Mara ("Life on Mars") is 48. Actor Vera Farmiga ("Up in the Air," "The Departed") is 47. Actor Soleil Moon Frye ("Sabrina The Teenage Witch," "Punky Brewster") is 44. Actor Melissa George ("Alias," "Grey’s Anatomy") is 44. Singer Travis McCoy of Gym Class Heroes is 39. Actor Leslie Odom Jr. ("Hamilton," TV: "Smash") is 39. Bassist Eric Roberts of Gym Class Heroes is 36.

  • Updated

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — After driving for Lyft for six years, Joni Bicknese decided to invest in a minivan at the beginning of 2020, reasoning that she could make more money if she could transport more riders. Then came what she calls Nashville’s quadruple-whammy: a tornado, coronavirus closures, protests that rocked downtown, then more closures.

Singer Tony Bennett is 94. Actor Martin Sheen is 80. Singer Beverly Lee of The Shirelles is 79. Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart is 79. Bassist B.B. Dickerson of War is 71. Movie director John Landis is 70. Actor JoMarie Payton ("Family Matters") is 70. Actor Jay North ("Dennis the Menace") is 69. Actor Philip Casnoff ("Strong Medicine") is 66. Actor John C. McGinley ("Scrubs") is 61. Bassist Lee Rocker (Stray Cats) is 59. Actor Lisa Ann Walter ("Bruce Almighty") is 59. Singer-guitarist James Hetfield of Metallica is 57. Singer Ed Roland of Collective Soul is 57. Actor Isaiah Washington ("Grey’s Anatomy," "Soul Food") is 57. Keyboardist Dean Sams of Lonestar is 54. Guitarist Stephen Carpenter of Deftones is 50. Musician Spinderella of Salt-N-Pepa is 49. Actor Brigid Brannagh ("Army Wives") is 48. Actor Michael Ealy ("Think Like a Man," "Barbershop") is 47. Violinist Jimmy De Martini of Zac Brown Band is 44. Actor Evangeline Lilly ("Lost") is 41. Actor Mamie Gummer ("The Good Wife") is 37. Singer Holly Arnstein of Dream is 35. Actor Georgina Haig ("Once Upon a Time") is 35. Bassist Brent Kutzle of OneRepublic is 35. Rapper D.R.A.M. is 32.

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


Breaking News

News Alert