Buying a car: Using technology to your advantage

It seems like technology is something that surrounds us almost constantly, yet as soon as we get onto a forecourt technology goes out the window. How can you use your smartphone to get the best out of your dealer?

Buying a car is kind of inextricably linked to technology. There is, for one thing, quite a lot of technology involved in a car. The average modern car contains quite a bit more in the way of sophisticated gizmos than was involved in the entirety of the Apollo 11 moon mission. However, beyond that there is now a bewildering array of technological solutions to the thorny problem of buying a car. Android, iOS, Blackberry, and even Windows phone users (once thought to be an entirely mythical species) now have all sorts of resources available to them for shopping for a new moon-lander substitute. Here’s a quick breakdown of the top apps you’ll need.


Buying a car can, if you’re not careful, be the beginning of an exciting and/or excruciating journey through the fetid depths of the world’s criminal underbelly. Used car dealers in particular may have, lurking among their wares, some pretty sketchy vehicles. What you’ll want to do before committing to any kind of purchase is check up on the car presented to you. In steps MyCarCheck. This free app will allow you to enter a license plate and view details of make, model, colour, shoe size, and almost anything you could want to know. The real whiz though is that for a £2.99 one-off fee you can check if the car has been reported stolen, been in an accident or come from abroad. Essential for used car buyers, and available on iOS and Android.


You may be surprised to learn that the modern car contains up to tens of things. Gone are the days when you bought some wheels, an engine and a flag and just went bananas. However, the variety of optional extras, not to mention the confusion brought on by mere mention of the word “performance”, means that DrivenData’s iOS app is very useful. It works offline, it’s cheap, and it lets you know what options come with the car, as well as the basic facts.

If you’re looking to buy a used car, you could do a lot worse than this app. It’s free for iOS users (and not available for anybody else) and lets you define extremely, some might say excessively, narrow search terms to find exactly the car you’re looking for. Once you’ve found your dream machine you can use it to email or phone the seller directly.

Parker’s Car Price Checker

It is an unfortunate fact that exchanging money is an integral part of the process of buying a car. That being the case, it would be a good idea to invest the paltry sum of £2.99 in order to get your hands on this little beast. This app lets you check the market value for the vast majority of used cars, so you know which car dealers are offering the best deal.  The numbers are worked out by combining an arcane formula written by Nostradamus with casting bones. Mileage, condition and options may also be contributing factors.

Happy shopping!

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