How a Car Vending Machine Works & What Steps to Take Before You Buy

August 18, 2020

If you thought vending machines were reserved solely for snacks and beverages, think again. In 2018, Carvana constructed the tallest automobile vending machine in the country, measuring 90 feet tall.

And, yes, you read that right. We’re talking a fully-automated vending machine for cars. It’s even coin-operated, although we don’t suggest breaking out your piggy banks. (It’s more for show than anything.)

How does a car vending machine work? Keep reading for a full breakdown of this incredible contraption. After all, you may just end up buying your next car this way!

Car Vending Machine Buyers

Headquartered in Tempe, Carvana opened their latest car vending machine along the Loop 202 and Scottsdale Road in Phoenix, Arizona. The building can hold up to 34 vehicles at a time, and it does, indeed, operate like a vending machine.

In other words, when a customer purchases a vehicle from Carvana, they can choose to pick up their new ride via the vending machine. Buyers who want this option are given a sand dollar-sized coin to place into the machine’s coin slot.

Then, they hear a rumbling sound effect like a pinball machine. Next, a car-sized lever retrieves the automobile from one of the nine floors. It’s brought into the viewing bay on the ground floor within minutes.

Best of all, the customer gets to watch the entire process unfold before their eyes. Now, how’s that for a twist on the classic car-buying experience?

Of course, if you’re not thrilled by this avant-garde approach to car purchasing, other options exist. Carvana also offers free delivery, especially if you don’t live near a vending machine.

Besides Phoenix, there are 11 other vending machines. They’re located in major American cities, including Nashville, Atlanta, Houston, Charlotte, North Carolina, and more.

Carvana’s Philosophy

What made Carvana go to so much trouble to build its first vehicle vending machine? They wanted to create a better consumer experience using forward-thinking design and technology.

Why the vending machine design? Because they longed to move away from old-fashioned car dealership models that many consumers associate with negative experiences. Carvana spent more than one year designing its first vending machine for cars.

Throughout the process, they remained committed to using customer insights to craft an amazing user experience.

How the Car Vending Machine Works

As a result, Carvana came up with the vending machine idea to facilitate the best customer pick-up experience possible.

How do car buyers make purchases? By visiting the company’s website and searching more than 10,000 cars from all over the US. The site walks car shoppers through every aspect of a purchase, from financing to trading or selling a vehicle you already own.

Once you buy a vehicle, you have a choice of delivery options, including the vending machine. Each vending machine holds already-claimed used cars awaiting pickup by their new owners.

Buy From a Car Vending Machine?

While the thought of purchasing a car online can feel intimidating, Carvana has gone out of its way to make the process hassle-free. It all begins with creating an account on their website,

Once you’ve done that, you can start comparing prices as well as review financing options. When you find the right vehicle to purchase, you can complete the transaction in cash, secure a loan through your bank, or get financing from Carvana.

No matter your final decision, you can finish the process and see all of your options on the internet. Should you decide to finance through Carvana? Their interactive financing sliders will assist you in finding the right payment plan for your circumstances.

You can also rely on Carvana for all other aspects of your car buying experience. The site lets you review and sign documents electronically. Completing this document signing process can take as little as ten minutes.

Then, set up your delivery preference and time. Submit your payment information, and you’re done. No need to speak with used car salespeople or feel pressured at a car lot.

What’s more, if you choose the vending machine option, you’re in for a fun treat.

Extra Precautions Provided by Carvana

Carvana takes much of the risk out of a website car purchase with unique policies. For example, every car is sold Carvana Certified. This certification involves a 150-point inspection that attests to the quality and safety of each vehicle.

They also provide consumers with a 100 day/4,189 mile “worry-free guarantee.” And customers receive a seven-day money-back guarantee.

The reason for these policies? Carvana understands buying a car is a significant undertaking, and they want to make the process as stress-free as possible. They also want to inject it with some fun and funky elements, hence the vending machine concept.

How Carvana Goes the Extra Mile

Because of the complimentary car inspection through Carvana, you can rest assured the car you purchase is on the up and up. You’ll also enjoy competitive pricing and low deductibles of $50 when your vehicle needs repairs.

Carvana even provides gap coverage for your vehicle. Supposee it gets stolen or totaled. They’ll cover the difference still owed on your car.

That said, you’ll need to research the cost of shipping your car to its final location. After all, there are only 12 vending machines available for sales in the country right now.

How to Find a Reputable Car Shipper

Whether you buy a new car or buy used cars online, you’ll likely need to have them shipped to your location. What’s one of the most affordable ways to do this? Working with a reputable auto transport company.

How do you find a fantastic car moving company? Start by making sure the company you plan on working with is registered and licensed.

Car hauling companies must register through the US Department of Transportation (US DOT). How do you know if they’ve done so? By asking them for their US DOT number.

Besides proving that the company is registered, you’ll also gain access to the company’s safety information and reports. What if the employees can’t provide you with this number? Then, assume it’s a red flag and keep looking for a more reputable company.

The auto hauling company that you select should also be able to provide you with a free, no-obligation quote. For example, check out this resource, which lets you calculate car shipping costs.

Check Customer Reviews and More

What’s one of the best things about the internet today? The ability to read customer reviews before selecting a company to work with or a product to purchase. The same holds true for online car dealers and auto transport haulers.

As you dive into internet research on Google Reviews and Yelp, pay attention to the company testimonials and online reviews that most closely mirror your wants and needs. That way, you can find a company with noteworthy experience in the area that you’ll need help.

Besides exploring customer reviews, go to the Better Business Bureau‘s (BBB’s) website to see how different companies hold up under BBB scrutiny. Make sure you have the business’s zip code handy to facilitate the search process.

You can also further validate potential companies by going to the Consumer Affairs website. Why? It houses information about various enterprises and whether or not you want to work with them.

Other Car Transportation Considerations

As you narrow down the most affordable and reputable car shipping companies, you’ll want to ask additional questions to find the best service for your needs. The number one question you’ll need to decide is whether to ship your car in an open or enclosed trailer.

Open Versus Enclosed Trailers

This decision will have a major impact on the final price that you pay. Open carriers are the more popular and affordable option. While open trailers don’t shelter vehicles from the elements, most car owners don’t mind the arrival of a dirty vehicle.

Especially if the car will be a daily driver. Yes, you’ll need to plan ahead to have your car washed after delivery, but you’ll save hundreds of dollars in the process.

As for enclosed carriers? They represent the better solution if you’re dealing with a prized vehicle that requires extra protection. Enclosed carriers come with soft or hard sides and shield cars while in transit.

If you’re dealing in luxury vehicles, sports cars, or classic cars? Then, you’ll want to explore the enclosed carrier option further.

Terminal-to-Terminal Versus Door-to-Door Shipping

Besides deciding between open and enclosed hauling, you’ll want to weigh whether to go with terminal-to-terminal or door-to-door shipping. Terminal-to-terminal shipping involves picking up and delivering your car to an auto transport terminal.

While going this route might be tempting because of the price, remember that terminal-to-terminal shipping often comes with hidden costs. These costs include storage at each terminal. You’ll also want to remember that terminals don’t have 24/7 security.

As a result, your car will be at greater theft risk if you go the terminal-to-terminal route.

As for door-to-door shipping? You’ll have the peace of mind of knowing your car stays on the same trailer the entire journey. There are no added storage costs.

What’s more, the driver will make arrangements with you to pick up and drop off your vehicle as close to your residence as possible. This will save gas and mileage over having to visit two terminals.

Questions to Ask Potential Auto Haulers

You’ll want to ask various questions of the transport companies that you’re considering. For example, find out if your car will be insured during transport and what that insurance will cover.

Prepare a list of questions that you would like to ask each hauling company while you have them on the phone. You’ll want to get specifics on what car shipping rates include. You should also inquire about the shipping timeframe and whether expedited services exist.

As you do your research, read customer testimonials, and decide on the company with which you wish to work, bear in mind that price alone should not dictate your final decision. You’ll also want to look for a company that puts customers first.

This shipper should provide adequate insurance for the automobiles they transport as well as go the extra mile when it comes to delivering on their promises.

The Future of Car Sales

Carvana is changing the way that consumers purchase vehicles. Their car vending machine concept is rapidly reaching icon status. What’s more, their focus on customer service has led to the introduction of many policies meant to ensure consumer satisfaction.

All cars get carefully inspected, and they come with comprehensive warranties to make sure you feel both safe and secure on the road. The result? Purchasing a car online has never been easier or more rewarding.

How do you think you’ll purchase your next vehicle?

Car Transport You Can Count On

Some consumers still shy away from online car purchases because they don’t understand how auto shipping works. What’s more, the concept of a car vending machine may sound too foreign to them. Fortunately, it’s easier and more affordable than you might realize to purchase a car online and ship it.

When it comes to finding a fantastic company to move a car, research remains your most vital resource. Vet each company carefully until you find one that boasts significant experience and a clear desire to deliver on their promises.

Nexus Auto Transport offers high-quality car hauling services. You can get the car of your dreams shipped to your doorstep safely and affordably. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Are you interested in exploring different types of cars to purchase? If so, check out our blog posts on the top ten affordable sports cars and the pros and cons of buying an electric vehicle in 2020.