TrueCar Review 2024: Find a Car and Sell a Car

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Written by Karen Aho
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Co-written by Benjamin Din
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TrueCar is a digital car marketplace that offers used- and new-car listings from licensed dealers. It also allows consumers to sell or trade-in their car through True Cash Offer. TrueCar was founded in 2005 and works with a network of more than 13,000 TrueCar-certified dealers that are required to meet specific customer service standards. It also powers auto-buying programs for over 250 brands, including AARP, Sam’s Club, Navy Federal Credit Union and American Express.

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TrueCar app review

TrueCar offers a treasure trove of information for car shoppers, from extensive rankings and detailed vehicle reviews to helpful pricing analyses.

The app stands out with its “best of” lists that allow buyers to look for everything from the roomiest cars for tall people to the best supercharged and turbocharged cars. TrueCar also tells you whether a listing price is excellent, great, fair or high, and how much people pay on average for specific trims.

With this much information, users looking to take advantage of all of TrueCar’s offerings may find it easier to use the desktop website than the mobile app.

This app is best for: individuals looking for hyper-detailed information on different types of cars, as well as how they compare with one another.

More about buying through TrueCar

TrueCar+ recently launched, which allows shoppers to make their car purchases from home. TrueCar+ autos are available from supporting dealers, currently located in Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

TrueCar and other car-buying apps offer users an easy way to browse through thousands of new- and used-car listings from big online retailers like CarMax and Carvana, as well as from local dealers. Many of the top car-buying apps feature robust inventory, access to vehicle history information, and competitive pricing tools.

App features

Loan calculator

Yes, you can estimate your monthly payment for either a loan or a lease.

Vehicle reviews

Yes, TrueCar offers both expert and owner reviews.

Vehicle history reports

Yes, listings include a synopsis of vehicle history information; however, users need to pay for the full report.

Price alerts

Yes, you can receive alerts for price drops.

Cash offers available?

Yes, you can get a same-day offer from a local dealer, valid for three days.

Pros:

  • Extensive “best-of” lists to help users explore different vehicles.

  • Includes price ratings for listings.

  • Offers ratings and reviews from verified owners and experts.

Cons:

  • You must submit contact information to get dealer name and detailed pricing (you’ll see an estimated price before giving this information).

  • Depth of data makes navigation difficult.

  • No noticeable difference between using the app and the mobile browser.

Listing a car on TrueCar:

TrueCar doesn’t allow you to list your own car on the app. Instead, TrueCar will connect you with a local dealership.

Buying a car on TrueCar:

TrueCar does not charge any fees when you buy a car listed on its platform. Once you find a listing you’re interested in, you’ll need to submit contact information to the dealer to find out if the car is still available, to get detailed pricing, or to begin the purchase process online by prequalifying for financing.

Fuel type, heated seats, power trunk, remote engine start, blind spot system and towing capability.

Can I filter out cars with accidents or other damage? Yes.

Can I filter for cars with only one owner? Yes.

Can I filter out non-local listings? Yes, you can filter to show only listings within a specified distance.

Apple App Store rating: 4.7 stars; 46,000-plus user ratings.

Google Play rating: 4.3 stars; 12,000-plus user ratings.

TrueCar Cash Offer review

Pros:

  • Connects a seller with three local certified dealers.

  • Price negotiation may be possible, depending on the dealer.

  • Dealers affiliated with TrueCar will accept trade-ins.

  • Operates in every state except Alaska and Hawaii.

  • Will provide an offer on salvage titles.

Cons:

  • Does not pick up your vehicle at your home —exchange only made at dealers in the TrueCar network.

  • Does not buy cars older than 1995.

How does TrueCar's True Cash Offer work?

TrueCar is a digital marketplace that provides an instant cash offer for your vehicle online and connects you with dealers in your area who have agreed to buy the vehicle at that price. The sell your car program works with certified dealers in every state except Alaska and Hawaii.

The cash offer is good for 72 hours and may be negotiable, depending on the dealer. The dealers it connects you with are obligated to honor the True Cash Offer at minimum, as long as their on-site appraisal does not uncover damage that was not disclosed online.

Cash offers are restricted to passenger cars, trucks and SUV’s with a model year of 1995 or later. TrueCar will provide an offer to vehicles with a salvage title or flood or accident damage, as long as the damage is clearly disclosed.

TrueCar differs from some online auto buyers in that it does not offer a pickup service or have its own lots. It connects you with three dealers in your area. Dealers in its network do accept trade-ins. Most states credit the value of a trade-in against the sales tax on a new vehicle; remember that when considering TrueCar’s offer.

Selling a car to TrueCar

To sell your vehicle using TrueCar’s car selling service, you’ll need to enter your car's 17-digit VIN or license plate number online along with the mileage and your ZIP code. You’ll receive an estimated price range before answering basic questions about vehicle damage and overall condition.

After entering your name and contact information, TrueCar will return an instant True Cash Offer amount and an offer code, along with names and contact information of up to three dealers in your area interested in buying the car for the offer amount. TrueCar will also send an email with the information. Dealers will then reach out to schedule a time for you to come in so they can appraise the vehicle.

Dealers in the TrueCar network are obligated to buy the vehicle for at least the True Cash Offer amount, barring any undisclosed damage or erroneous vehicle information. They also will take the car as a trade-in. The offer is good for 72 hours. As a seller, you may be able to negotiate a higher sales price with the dealer. All this will typically be done at the dealer’s lot.

The vehicle should be clean, with all factory equipment present. You’ll need to provide a government-issued ID, proof of ownership such as registration or title, and any lien information. You’ll receive a receipt at drop off, then dealers typically remit payment via check within 72 hours.

TrueCar’s Sell Your Car service may be a good fit for those who:

  • Want to have the option of negotiating directly with a dealer.

  • Like to have a guaranteed minimum cash offer from up to three dealers.

  • Have a vehicle that is not too old, is popular in the local market and has a clean title.

  • Does TrueCar have restrictions on vehicles it will buy? TrueCar’s Sell Your Car program is open only to passenger cars, trucks, or SUVs with a model year of 1995 or later. Vehicles with salvage titles or damage from a flood or accident will get a True Cash Offer, but the vehicle’s condition will affect the amount of the offer.

  • What more is needed to complete a sale? Driver’s license photo and vehicle registration; title if it’s in your possession, loan information if applicable; the TrueCar offer code.

  • When am I paid? Dealers in the TrueCar network typically remit payment within 72 hours.

  • Will I be charged fees? No, as a seller you will not be charged a fee for using TrueCar’s Sell Your Car program.

  • Can the True Cash Offer change after I’ve brought it to the dealer? It can if the dealer finds undisclosed damage. In that case, the dealer will update the information to produce a new True Cash Offer.

Frequently asked questions

You may be able to negotiate for a higher sale or trade-in price depending on the dealer.

Yes. You’ll need to provide loan information to the dealer you work with. If you owe more than the amount of your offer, you will need to cover any shortage.

Yes. Its certified dealers generally can buy leased vehicles, but certain lease finance companies restrict who can pay off your lease. You’ll need to check your original lease contract to get the buyout price.

TrueCar provides True Cash Offers in every state except Alaska and Hawaii.

TrueCar will not pick up your vehicle or provide a drop-off site. The dealers it connects you with will reach out to schedule an in-person appraisal, typically at the dealership.

The dealer can walk you through the process of selling a vehicle that has a lost title, has someone else’s name on the title or belongs to someone who is deceased.

Find your next new or used car with ease

Compare prices, models, and more from over 1,000,000 cars nationwide. Shop and compare before visiting the dealer, and get a trade-in offer for your current car in minutes.

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